The Susan Ford Dorsey Fellowship for Field Research in Africa is awarded to outstanding Stanford doctoral students who are engaged in research on sub-Saharan Africa. The fellowship provides financial support for Ph.D. candidates to undertake field research in Africa in support of their dissertation projects. Applications are welcome from doctoral students across all disciplines in the School of Humanities and Sciences, though applicants should be attentive in their proposals to the broader implications of their research as it relates to contemporary issues and debates of importance to the African continent.

Both disciplinary and interdisciplinary research projects are welcome, and priority will be given to those projects with the greatest promise to improve our understanding of Africa. After completion of field research, Ford Dorsey fellows will become affiliates of the Center for African Studies, taking full part in the intellectual life of the Center. Fellowship funding is for three quarters of dedicated field research.

Application Deadline: Friday, April 15, 2016


All currently enrolled H&S Stanford Ph.D. candidates who have reached Terminal Graduate Registration (TGR) status are invited to apply for a Graduate Dissertation Research Fellowship. The dissertation field research must take place in sub-Saharan Africa. Applicants must have advanced to candidacy by the end of spring or summer quarter 2013 and have a research proposal approved by their dissertation committee. Fellows must be continuously enrolled for the duration of their fellowship.

One fellowship will be awarded for 2015-16.  Fellows will receive a stipend of $26,658. The fellowship covers TGR fees and 50% of insurance costs for the academic year. Fellows are expected to be enrolled in research units at Stanford while in the field. Fellows will be asked to submit a narrative report of their fieldwork (approximately 8-10 pages) at the end of their fellowship, and present their research at a public forum at the Center for African Studies.


  1. No other employment, assistantship, or fellowship may be held concurrently.  Exceptions to this restriction must be approved by the Center for African Studies.
  2. Fellows must be Center affiliates for one full academic year following completion of field research and present their research at a Center for African Studies public forum.
  3.  Fellows will submit a narrative report of their fieldwork at the end of their fellowship.

Instructions for Application

To apply for a fellowship the candidates should submit the following:

  • Application cover sheet.
  • Curriculum vitae of no more than two pages.
  •  A five-page statement (single-spaced, including all notes and references).  

The statement should address the following:  

a)   Summary of dissertation research, including its contribution to your field
b)   Description of objectives and concrete plans for fieldwork, including how data collection is essential for successful completion of the project
c)   How current work is related to contemporary issues and debates of concern to African Studies

  • Timetable for completion of research and degree.
  • A current transcript from Axess.
  • Two letters of recommendation from Stanford faculty evaluating the quality of the research project and its successful and timely completion. One must be from the principal dissertation advisor.

Applications can be emailed to:

africanstudies [at] stanford [dot] edu


or delivered to:

Center for African Studies
100 Encina Commons
615 Crothers Way
Stanford, CA 94305-6045


fellow highlight


Ken Opalo, the inaugral recipient of the 2012-13 Ford Dorsey Fellowship, is conducting research in Kenya and Zambia to help explain legislative strength variation in Africa. Read more...