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Presidential Dissertation Completion & Extension Awards

Background:

Since arriving last summer, President McInnis has been deeply committed to improving the lived experience and career prospects of Stony Brook’s doctoral students.  In order to ensure our programs can optimally focus on their doctoral students--to become, in short, more student centered--she has been making critical investments in the ways we support our students, both materially and intellectually. One area of urgent attention is the category of students who have found their ability to finish their degrees impeded by circumstances beyond their control.   
 
Approximately 40% of our doctoral programs have 50% or more of students who are past year 6 in their progress to completion. In raw numbers, that means well over 200 students. Compounding this are the delays in progress to degree as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic-by our most recent estimates affecting about 40% of our doctoral students.  President McInnis has asked us to address the costs to students in their delay in moving forward with their careers.  She has provided $1 million to be used for this purpose, which would help students and programs to finish their work and assure they are productively embarking on their careers.  

The Awards:

Presidential Dissertation Completion Fellowships

A dissertation completion fellowship would provide one or two semesters of stipend support for an advanced doctoral or MFA student who has experienced a delay in their degree progress due to circumstances or challenges beyond their control. To be eligible, students must establish that they do not have another source of stipend support for the requested semester(s). The fellowship would allow the student to complete their degree requirements without adding any additional service or teaching duties. Successful applications will demonstrate solid achievement and steady pre-pandemic progress to degree, compelling need for additional support, and a viable plan and potential for degree completion by the end of the funded period. 

PLEASE NOTE: Applications must comply with 3/12/21 version of call linked below.
See a preview of the form questions.
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Call for Applications

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Presidential Critical Research Funds

Critical Research Funds would provide funding for necessary thesis research expenses up to $5000 for advanced doctoral or MFA students who have experienced a delay in their degree progress due to circumstances or challenges beyond their control. To be eligible, students must establish that they do not have another source of funding for the requested expenses. Allowable expenses include travel, equipment or supplies necessary for a student to complete their dissertation or thesis work. Successful applications will demonstrate solid achievement and steady pre-pandemic progress to degree, compelling need and justification for requested funds, and a viable plan and potential for degree completion if awarded the funds. 

PLEASE NOTE: Applications must comply with 3/12/21 version of call linked below
See a preview of the form questions.
| Jump to FAQ

Call for Applications

SUBMIT NOW

Presidential Postdoctoral Extension Awards

A postdoctoral extension award would provide up to six months of funding and appointment as an SBU postdoctoral scholar for doctoral students who opt to graduate "early." The goal is to incentivize students who are “on time” to consider graduating on time or earlier and using the six-month postdoc extension to finish up their thesis projects, publish and secure a position in a depressed job market, all while maintaining their SBU affiliation and access to campus resources. Only students who are completing their work within the median time-to-degree for their discipline as determined by data for public AAU peer universities will be eligible for this award.  

Call for Applications: Watch for the call later this Spring 2021
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Frequently Asked Questions: 

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DISSERTATION COMPLETION FELLOWSHIPS FAQ


Does a student need to be delayed in their degree progress to be eligible for a Presidential Dissertation Completion Fellowship? 
Yes, applicants need to make a compelling argument in their statement of need that the student is delayed due to circumstances or challenges beyond their control and that the student has a justifiable need for funding in order to overcome those delays. 


Is a completion fellowship application more likely to be successful if it asks for only one semester of support instead of two? 
No. Applicants are encouraged to ask for the duration of funding that can best enable the student to graduate by the end of the funded period. The need for one vs. two semesters should be explicitly addressed and justified in the statement of need.


If a student needs support in both Summer 2021 and Fall 2021, can we request both?
No. Summer 2021 support will only be awarded for students who, with a summer completion fellowship, will be able to graduate by August 2021.


Will Summer 2021 Fellowship recipients also receive a Tuition and Fee Scholarship?
No. Summer fellows are expected to enroll for zero credits, and therefore should incur no tuition liability. 


Can a student apply for both a Presidential Dissertation Completion Award and Presidential Critical Funds? 
Yes, if a student is eligible for both awards, they may apply for both. But in the unlikely event that a student is selected for both awards, they may have to choose one award so we can ensure the broadest dispersion of support. Note that applicants must submit entirely separate application materials for each award, including separate letters of support from the thesis advisor. There is one application form through which you apply for both linked above.


Does a student need to be nominated by their graduate program to apply for this award?
No. Applications are welcomed directly from eligible students collaborating with their thesis advisors.


Can other file formats be submitted as dissertation/thesis progress, such as video or audio?
Yes, if appropriate to the student's discipline, video or audio files may be uploaded to demonstrate progress to date. Individual files must be 100MB or less.

On the funding history, how much detail is needed? If grant funded, does it need the whole grant amount and description?
The funding history should describe source of funding for each of the student's past graduate years so that the committee can understand the overall narrative of how the student has been supported and why funded is needed now (e.g., grant ran out, no TA support available, etc). If the student was the PI on a fellowship or small grant, include the source and amount in the relevant year. If the student was supported on a grant, just indicate it was a research grant, the source of the grant, and the amount of the  RA stipend that supported the student (e.g., NASA grant, full-year RA stipend, $34k). If it was TA support, indicate that and whether it was full time or partial support. External job details aren't necessary

Can a published journal article be submitted as a dissertation chapter?
If a published paper will literally feature as Chapter X in the dissertation document submitted to one's committee and this is supported in the chapter breakdown in the dissertation abstract/summary, then yes.

I am currently finishing up X requirement to advance to candidacy. Am I eligible?
Students must be advanced to candidacy at the time of application and be close to graduation. The workplan needs to justify that the student can graduate by the semester(s) requested for funding. 

CRITICAL RESEARCH FUNDS FAQ


Does a student need to be delayed in their degree progress to be eligible for a Presidential Critical Research Funds? 
Yes, applicants need to make a compelling argument in their statement of need that the student is delayed due to circumstances or challenges beyond their control and that the student has a justifiable need for funding in order to overcome those delays. 


Can I request funds for conference travel through this program? 
No. The purpose of these critical research funds is to help students finish their thesis work and graduate. Applicants seeking conference travel funds are encouraged to look at other sources for these purposes, such as the GSO and GSEU professional development funds.


Can a student apply for both a Presidential Dissertation Completion Award and Presidential Critical Funds? 
Yes, if a student is eligible for both awards, they may apply for both. But in the unlikely event that a student is selected for both awards, they may have to choose one award so we can ensure the broadest dispersion of support. Note that applicants must submit entirely separate application materials for each award, including separate letters of support from the thesis advisor. There is one application form through which you apply for both linked above. Given the  expected competitiveness of these awards, students are encouraged to look  also at other sources for research expense support, such as the GSO and GSEU.


Does a student need to be nominated by their graduate program to apply for this award?
No. Applications are welcomed directly from eligible students collaborating with their thesis advisors. 


Is XX research expense an eligible expense under this award? 
If you have specific questions about eligible expenses, send us an email at fellowships at stonybrook.edu. In this email, please be specific about how the expense is critical for the student’s degree completion.

On the funding history, how much detail is needed? If grant funded, does it need the whole grant amount and description?
The funding history should describe source of funding for each of the student's past graduate years so that the committee can understand the overall narrative of how the student has been supported and why funding is needed now (e.g., grant ran out, no TA support available, etc). If the student was the PI on a fellowship or small grant, include the source and amount in the relevant year. If the student was supported on a research grant, just indicate it was a research grant, the source of the grant, and the amount of the  RA stipend that supported the student (e.g., NSF grant, full-year RA stipend, $30k). If it was TA support, indicate that and whether it was full time or partial support. GTS is automatic, so doesn't need to be included.  External job details aren't necessary.

I am currently finishing up X requirement to advance to candidacy. Am I eligible?
Students must be advanced to candidacy at the time of application and be close to graduation. The workplan needs to justify the student's progress and how the requested funds will hasten graduation.

POSTDOCTORAL EXTENSION AWARDS FAQ


Has a call for applications been released yet for the Presidential Postdoctoral Extension Awards? 
Not yet. Watch for it by the end of Spring 2021.


Is the purpose of the Presidential Postdoctoral Extension Awards to support students who are delayed in their degree progress?
No. The extension awards are only for doctoral students who are completing their dissertation work within the median time-to-degree for their discipline, as determined by data for public AAU peer universities. The goal is to incentivize students who are “on time” to consider graduating on time or earlier and using the six-month postdoc extension to finish up their thesis projects, publish and obtain a job. The definition of "on time" and how to determine a student's eligibility will be part of the forthcoming call. 

 

Further Questions? 

Contact us at fellowships@stonybrook.edu.