Frequently Asked Questions for Doctoral Fellowship Applicants
Below are the most frequently asked questions we receive from applicants to the Law and Social Science Dissertation Fellowship & Mentoring Program (“LSS”) and the American Bar Foundation Doctoral Fellowship (“ABF”). If you have further questions, please contact Amanda Ehrhardt at gro.nfba@tdrahrhea.
Fellowship Application Year: 2013-2014
Common Questions about the ABF:
What are the ABF’s expectations of doctoral fellows?
Can I live elsewhere while completing the LSS fellowship?
How do the mentorship aspects of the programs work?
Do fellows have an opportunity to work with the research faculty at the ABF?
What scholarly resources are available at the ABF?
Common Questions about Fellowship Applications:
How many fellows will be chosen for the academic year?
What is the difference between the fellowships offered?
Who is eligible to apply?
How competitive are the fellowships?
Who reviews the applications?
If I want to apply for both fellowships, do I have to submit two separate applications or separate letters of recommendation?
Are transcripts required?
Are health insurance benefits available to fellows?
Can I edit/update my application materials after they are uploaded?
How should my referees submit their letters of recommendation?
Is there a length requirement for the writing sample or dissertation abstract/proposal?
If writing a cover letter, to whom should I address it?
Will you confirm when an application is received? Will I be notified if my application is incomplete?
When is the application deadline? Will my application be accepted if it is received late?
When will you make decisions and how will I be notified?
How do I apply?
Who do I contact with questions that were not answered here?
WHAT ARE THE ABF’S EXPECTATIONS OF DOCTORAL FELLOWS?
The ABF expects that you will fully participate in the academic life of the ABF so that you may develop close collegial ties with other scholars in residence. In particular, you are expected to work at the ABF (unless conducting research) most days of the week during the fellowship. All Doctoral Fellows are required to attend ABF Research Seminars on Wednesdays whenever possible.
LSS Doctoral Fellows:
In the first year of the fellowship, LSS Doctoral Fellows are required to participate in the Graduate Student Workshop, which meets approximately once a month, and to attend the Law and Society Association’s (LSA) Annual Meeting in both years of the fellowship.
ABF Doctoral Fellows:
ABF Doctoral Fellows are strongly encouraged to participate in the Graduate Student Workshop, which meets approximately once a month.
CAN I LIVE ELSEWHERE WHILE COMPLETING THE LSS FELLOWSHIP?
No, fellows must live in or near Chicago and work in residence at the ABF. Scholars that will conduct research in another location are not eligible for the fellowship.
HOW DO THE MENTORSHIP ASPECTS OF THE PROGRAMS WORK?
All Doctoral Fellows are matched with an ABF faculty member whose work aligns with the fellow’s research interests. In addition, LSS Fellows are matched with an outside LSA mentor. You can request scholars to mentor you, and we will do our best to match you with your choice. If your choice is not available, we will help you locate another scholar whose work matches your own research interests.
DO FELLOWS HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO WORK WITH THE RESEARCH FACULTY AT THE AMERICAN BAR FOUNDATION?
The ABF is a collaborative, academic environment where Doctoral Fellows are encouraged to work closely with faculty members, visiting scholars, and other Doctoral Fellows. The Wednesday seminars, Graduate Student Workshop, and the mentoring aspects of the fellowships are designed to facilitate the development of close collegial ties within the ABF community.
WHAT SCHOLARLY RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE ABF?
All Doctoral Fellows will have access to the entire Northwestern University library system, including the Northwestern Law Library – the Pritzker Legal Research Center – located adjacent to the ABF offices.
HOW MANY FELLOWS WILL BE CHOSEN FOR THE ACADEMIC YEAR?
Two LSS fellows and one ABF fellow will be chosen to work in residence at the ABF in the following academic year.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE FELLOWSHIPS OFFERED?
The Law and Social Science Dissertation Fellowship and Mentoring Program (LSS) is offered in collaboration with the Law and Society Association (LSA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Consequently, it has different application requirements than the American Bar Foundation Doctoral Fellowship Program, which is offered solely by the ABF. Please refer to the individual requirements and guidelines for each fellowship on the ABF website.
Some key similarities are:
Both fellowship programs are open to graduate students pursuing a PhD programs in law and social science, offer the same $30,000 stipend, and are awarded for a 12-month term.
Some key differences are:
Only LSS participants are eligible for a second year of support. The LSS fellowship is open only to US Citizens and Permanent Residents, while the ABF fellowship is open to everyone. Lastly, the ABF fellowship is open to those who have already completed their dissertation, while LSS applicants must be working toward completing their dissertation.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO APPLY?
Applicants who have completed all doctoral requirements except for the dissertation by September 1, 2013 are eligible to apply for the ABF Doctoral/Post-Doctoral Fellowship Program.
Applicants who are third, fourth, or fifth year Ph.D. candidates in a social science department or an interdisciplinary program, who specialize in the field of law and social science, and whose research interests include law and inequality are eligible to apply for the Law and Social Science Dissertation Fellowship Progam. The ABF does not consider time spent in Masters or Bachelors programs in its eligiblity requirements. The includes time spent fulfilling Masters requirements in the first two years of a Ph.D. program. Humanities students pursuing empirically-based social science dissertations are welcome to apply. Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply.
HOW COMPETITIVE ARE THE FELLOWSHIPS?
Last year, there were approximately 25 applications to the LSS Fellowship and 65 applications for the ABF Fellowship. All applicants were from a wide variety of social scientific disciplines, with a few applications from the humanities. Since the application requirements for the LSS Fellowship are slightly stricter, the pool of applicants tends to be smaller. However, for both the ABF and LSS fellowships, a committee of highly accomplished scholars uses a peer-review process to evaluate applications based on the merits of the applicant’s research, their scholarly accomplishments, and their letters of recommendation.
WHO REVIEWS THE APPLICATIONS?
Each year, a selection committee of 4-6 scholars in the Law and Society Association and the American Bar Foundation review applications. The committee uses a peer-review process to review applications and make suggestions. The committee meets regularly to discuss applications and bases its decisions on the merits of the applicant’s research, scholarly accomplishments, and letters of recommendation. By early to mid March, the committee will come to a consensus and elect two scholars to offer the fellowship.
An ABF faculty member will first read the applications in his or her discipline. The ABF director and the fellowship faculty advisor will then review the applications along with other faculty members. This group will meet to discuss applications and will base its decisions on the merits of the applicant’s research, scholarly accomplishments, and letters of recommendation. By early to mid March, the committee will come to a consensus and elect a scholar to offer the fellowship.
IF I WANT TO APPLY FOR BOTH FELLOWSHIPS, DO I HAVE TO SUBMIT TWO SEPARATE APPLICATIONS OR SEPARATE LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION?
No. Please indicate on the online registration form, as well as your cover letter, that you intend to apply for both fellowships, and be sure to include the required materials for both fellowships in your application. You may also use the same letters of recommendation for both fellowships.
ARE TRANSCRIPTS REQUIRED?
No. Transcripts are not required to apply for the LSS or ABF fellowship.
ARE HEALTH INSURANCE BENEFITS AVAILABLE TO FELLOWS?
The ABF does not provide health insurance. All Doctoral Fellows should make arrangements to continue to receive health insurance through their home institutions or universities.
CAN I EDIT/UPDATE MY APPLICATION MATERIALS AFTER THEY ARE UPLOADED?
No. You may not edit your materials after having submitted them. We ask this because uploading a new version of your attachment will not replace the old version. Uploading your attachments twice may cause confusion in your file about which version you intended to be reviewed.
HOW SHOULD MY REFEREES SUBMIT THEIR LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION?
Letters of recommendation should remain certified and confidential. Please instruct your referees to send letters directly to the ABF. They may mail letters to the ABF to the attention of Amanda Ehrhardt at the following address, or email them to gro.nfba@tdrahrhea.
Attn: Amanda Ehrhardt
Administrative Associate for Academic Affairs & Research Administration
American Bar Foundation
750 N. Lake Shore Drive, 4th Floor
Chicago, IL 60611
IS THERE A LENGTH REQUIREMENT FOR THE WRITING SAMPLE OR DISSERTATION ABSTRACT/PROPOSAL?
There is no word limit at this time. As a guideline, please aim for article or chapter length.
IF WRITING A COVER LETTER, TO WHOM SHOULD I ADDRESS IT?
Please address your cover letters to Robert L. Nelson, Director and MacCrate Research Chair of the American Bar Foundation.
WILL YOU CONFIRM WHEN AN APPLICATION IS RECEIVED? WILL I BE NOTIFIED IF MY APPLICATION IS INCOMPLETE?
After registering, you will receive an email confirming your registration. You will receive a second email after your application has been submitted. Upon the close of the application period, you will receive an email notifying you about any missing materials. We ask that you submit any missing materials to us immediately after having received notification. If we have not received any missing materials within the time period set out in the email notification, the committee may not be able to consider your application.
If you are not sure that your application has been properly submitted, or you did not receive confirmation, please check with Amanda Ehrhardt at gro.nfba@tdrahrhea.
WHEN IS THE APPLICATION DEADLINE? WILL MY APPLICATION BE ACCEPTED IF IT IS RECEIVED LATE?
The application deadline for the LSS Fellowship is December 1, 2012. The deadline for the ABF Fellowship is December 15, 2012.
Because of the collaborative nature of the application review process, late applications for either fellowship strictly cannot be considered.
WHEN WILL YOU MAKE DECISIONS AND HOW WILL I BE NOTIFIED?
You will be notified by email. We will make decisions on both fellowships in early to mid March.
HOW DO I APPLY?
For the 2013-2014 LSS and ABF fellowship programs, please apply online using the link provided here and on the ABF website. Click here to apply.
WHO DO I CONTACT WITH QUESTIONS THAT WERE NOT ANSWERED HERE?
Please direct all additional questions to Amanda Ehrhardt, gro.nfba@tdrahrhea, or 312-988-6517. Because of the high volume of inquiries, we ask that you pose non-urgent questions by email. All phone calls and emails will be returned within 2 business days.
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