The Renate Voris Fellowship is awarded annually to a graduate student in the Arts and Humanities at the University of Virginia or elsewhere. Its purpose is to recognize and honor a doctoral candidate during the first or second year of her or his dissertation work. The research must include the intellectual and artistic products of women thinkers, writers, and artists--in philosophy, including Jewish Studies, literature, including the dramatic arts, cinema, art, architecture, or music. Eligible candidates may be of any gender, pursuing a Ph.D. in these disciplines within the Arts and Humanities.

The Fellowship Award shall be based on merit and not on financial need and shall not replace, but be in addition to, the financial support the qualifying student receives during the first or second year of dissertation work from the graduate school and department of the respective university.

The minimum award shall be no less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) and no more than fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000). Each stipend awarded shall be used for travel, archival research, and other needs of a doctoral candidate. A minimum of one doctoral student and a maximum of two doctoral students shall be selected as recipients of fellowship awards each year. The selection shall be made by the Advisory Committee to the Foundation. The exact amount of each of the Fellowships shall be determined by Robert Huff, President of the Foundation.

History of the Fellowship

The Fellowship was founded in 2012 by Renate Voris, Professor of German and Comparative Studies at the University of Virginia. Through it, she wanted to (1) support an outstanding researcher and writer, a student and (future) colleague, in an age when the Arts and Humanities appear to be under threat of extinction in American universities;
(2) “correct,” in a small way, the continued and widespread denigration of women’s intellectual and artistic achievements by not including them in curricula, especially--or so it seemed to her--in the field of Germanistik in America. It does not, however, imply that she wished to encourage a “feminist” approach to literature, philosophy, or the theatrical arts. On the contrary, she preferred that the candidate would not talk about gender, but talk instead about the problem central to the dissertation and simply include the work of one or more women in the deliberations (without reference to her anatomy) as if it were “normal.”

Application Process and Materials

Applicants must submit materials online, click to submit the application materials.

Applications should consist of the following: a letter of application explaining why the dissertation is deserving of this particular Fellowship Award (no more than 800 words or 2 pages); a dissertation prospectus (no more than 1300 words or 3 pages); a writing sample (no more than 4,800 words or 12 pages); a CV; a brief Status Statement by the respective department chair or director of graduate studies attesting to the continued financial assistance of the candidate during his or her first or second year of doctoral work.

Applications are due annually by March 15th. The decision will be announced by April 30th of each year.
Procedure of supervision of the Fellowship: at the end of the Fellowship year, the recipient shall be required to submit to the Advisory Committee a summary report of the research and writing completed, in accordance with the criteria for which the Fellowship was awarded.

Questions about the Fellowship should be addressed to Professor Chad Wellmon (, Chair of the Advisory Committee to the Foundation.