Welcome to the USIP and Minerva Peace Scholar Pre-Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship

USIP’s Jennings Randolph Program for International Peace and the Minerva Research Initiative awards non-residential Peace Scholar Dissertation Scholarships to students enrolled in U.S. universities who are writing or researching doctoral dissertations on topics related to international conflict management and peacebuilding (profiles of current and past Peace Scholars and their projects).

Please use this link to read more about the application process and access the registration/application portal.

Via a collaboration launched in 2017, the Minerva Research Initiative, supports various scholarships in this program. The Minerva-USIP Peace and Security Scholarships are divided into two categories: one supporting dissertation field work and one supporting dissertation writing.

USIP and Minerva-funded dissertation scholarships have the same application form, deadline, award amount, and the same selection process. On your application please indicate which scholarship you would like to be considered for: USIP J.R. Scholarship only, Minerva Scholarship only, or no preference. The only difference between these two options is the source of funding.

Eligible Candidates
Citizens of any country may apply. Applicants must be enrolled in recognized doctoral programs (for example, Ph.D., S.J.D., Ed.D., Th.D.) in accredited universities in the United States. Successful candidates must have completed all course work and examinations towards their doctoral degrees by the time their fellowships begin.

Selection Process
Applications are vetted through a rigorous, multi-stage review that includes consideration by independent experts and professional staff at USIP and at Minerva Research Initiative.

The final authority for decisions about Peace Scholar awards rests with the Institute’s Board of Directors.

Selection Criteria for both the USIP and Minerva Scholarships
Applications will be assessed using the five criteria below. Scoring is on a 1 to 5 scale: 1=Not Recommended, 2=Poor, 3=Satisfactory, 4=Good, 5=Outstanding.

  • Thesis Clarity: Is the research question or project description clearly articulated? Is the proposal soundly conceived with a central problem that has been identified and analyzed?
  • Topic Significance/Relevance: Does the dissertation address an important topic of relevance to the fields of conflict resolution and international peace and security, and what is the likelihood of the research to affect policy or practice?  How does it align to the USIPand/or Minervamission?
  • Originality: How original or cutting-edge is the dissertation topic, and/or does the dissertation fill a gap in USIP’s knowledge of the issue? Is the methodology clear, innovative and rigorous? Is a unique approach presented?
  • Project Design and Implementation: How clear, specific, logical, and achievable are the objectives? Can the proposal be completed according to the intended design and timetable?
  • Scientific & Technical Merit: Does the dissertation/project make clear the basic research contribution to social science (theoretical, methodological, and generalizable)?
  • Other Considerations:
    • What is the applicant’s record of achievement and/or leadership potential?
    • What is the applicant’s capacity to benefit from and make professional use of the fellowship experience in subsequent years?

Terms of Award
Peace Scholar Awards are currently set at $20,000 per academic year and are paid directly to the individual. Peace Scholar Awards may not be deferred. The Peace Scholar Dissertation Scholarship cannot be combined with any other major residential award or fellowship except with the written approval of the Institute. If written approval is granted, $30,000 is the maximum combined amount a Peace Scholar can receive during his/her tenure.

Scholarships can be used for any phase of work on dissertations. Peace Scholars carry out their fellowship work at their universities or other sites appropriate to their research. Peace Scholars are expected to devote full attention to their work and provide three dissertation update reports to the Institute. Peace Scholars will be invited to present their dissertations to experts at the Institute during the annual Peace Scholar conference in the Fall of 2019. Peace Scholars may also be asked to do the following:

  • Work with Institute staff to present their work on the USIP website,
  • Conduct an interview with a USIP staff member on their own writing,
  • Publish an op-ed based on their dissertation/research,
  • Participate in Institute workshops, conferences, and other activities.

Restrictions of Award
Please note that the Peace Scholarship program does not support pre-dissertation level graduate work. Doctoral students in non-US-based universities are not eligible. The scholarships cannot support research focused on U.S. domestic conflict and peacebuilding, however, research on U.S. government foreign policy is eligible for support. Peace Scholar awards may not be made for projects that constitute policy-making for a government agency or private organization, focus to any substantial degree on conflicts within U.S. domestic society, or adopt a partisan, advocacy, or activist stance.

Application Process
Registration for the 2019/2020 Peace Scholar competition is now open and will close on November 4, 2018 at 11 pm EDT.

All completed applications are due on Sunday, November 28, 2018 at 11 pm EDT. The application portal will close at that time and you will no longer be able to access your application. 

The application portal works best when using Google Chrome as your browser. If you are experiencing issues with the application portal, please email jrprogram@usip.org. If the answer requires more than an email, we will schedule a time to help you by phone. Please allow us up to 72 hours to respond to your inquiry.

Download a printable version of this information.