Thank you for your interest in the Peace Scholarship Dissertation Program! The United States Institute of Peace is dedicated to supporting advanced research from top academics in a variety of fields that contribute to a wider understanding of how to manage conflict and build sustainable peace effectively. Dissertation scholarships last for 10 months, starting in September each year. Scholarships are open to citizens of any country.

Peace Scholar Application Information
Former Peace Scholar, Yelena Biberman, at a seminar on “Understanding Pakistan” with Indian and Pakistani scholars and government officials in Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.

Please note that this doctoral dissertation award program now includes two slightly different programs. Both use the same application form, have the same deadline, the same award amount, and undergo the same review process. The first is the USIP Jennings Randolph [J.R.] Peace Scholarship award program, which is entirely funded by USIP. The second is the Minerva-USIP Peace and Security Scholarship program, which is funded through a collaboration with the Minerva Research Initiative, funded by the Basic Research Office, Assistant Secretary of Defense (Research & Engineering). On the application, there is a place where applicants can indicate whether they wish to be considered for the USIP J.R. Scholarship only, or both the USIP J.R. and Minerva-USIP scholarship programs. The choice will not affect your chance to win a scholarship. The criteria used to award scholarship are very similar for both awards. Within the Minerva-USIP Peace and Security scholarship program, half the awards will go to doctoral students doing field research, and half to those in the writing stage of their dissertation. For the USIP J.R. scholarships, the awards can be used for any stage of the dissertation process. For 2018-2019, we expect to award at least twelve scholarships, six as USIP J.R. Peace Scholarships and six as Minerva-USIP Peace and Security Scholarships.

Application Form

We have transitioned to a new platform, so if you applied in earlier years for a Peace Scholarship, please note that the format of the application has changed slightly, however, the majority of the sections and questions are the same as in the past. In order to preview the substantive questions prior to starting the application process, please use this link. To prepare your referees for a request from our system, you can send these instructions. Our Components of a Successful Proposal will give you insights about how to make your application as strong as possible.

The application for the 2018-2019 Jennings Randolph Peace Scholarship and Minerva-USIP Peace and Security Scholarship Program is now closed. Please note that the window to register to apply as an applicant ended effective as of Wednesday, November 29. Letters of reference are due on Friday, December 8, 2017.

Proposal Topics

Proposals from all disciplines and on a wide range of topics related to peacebuilding are welcome, but there are several criteria which, if met, that will strengthen proposals. First, please note that all proposals should be consistent with the Institute’s Mission and present a research agenda with clear relevance to policy issues. Historical topics are appropriate if they promise to shed light on contemporary issues. Area studies projects and single-case studies will be competitive if they focus on conflict and conflict resolution and/or apply to other regions and cases around the world, or both. To be competitive, applicants must make persuasive links between theoretical, practical and policy orientations, and demonstrate the links between their projects and the Mission and work of the United States Institute of Peace. In addition, for the USIP-Minerva awards, strong applications should also present a persuasive argument that their research makes a basic or fundamental research contribution to the field, and discuss how their basic research contributions relate to broad concerns of conflict management and peacebuilding that may include (but are not limited to) security and stability.

Peace Scholar awards may not be made for projects that constitute policymaking 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.

Profiles of current and past Peace Scholars and their projects are available.

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 fellowship begins.

Selection Process

Peace Scholar applications are vetted through a rigorous, multi-stage review that includes consideration by independent experts and professional staff at the Institute. The final authority for decisions about Peace Scholar awards rests with the Institute’s Board of Directors.

Selection Criteria

In addition to the considerations listed above, selection of fellowship candidates is based on the following criteria:

  • Project significance: Does the project address an important topic of relevance to the USIP mission and the field of international peacebuilding and conflict management and analysis?
  • Policy and/or practitioner relevance: Does the project demonstrate links to policy and practice in the fields of conflict management, conflict analysis and peacebuilding?
  • Project Design: Is the project soundly conceived? Does it identify a key problem to be analyzed and does it have a clear methodology?
  • Potential as a Peace Scholar: 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. They generally may not be combined with any other major residential award or fellowship except with the written approval of the Institute.

Peace Scholars carry out their fellowship work at their universities or other sites appropriate to their research. They are expected to devote full attention to their work and provide periodic reports to the Institute. Peace Scholars may be invited to give a presentation at the Institute, to work with Institute staff to present their work on the USIP website via an interview with a USIP staff member or their own writing, and/or to participate in Institute workshops, conferences and other activities.