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IRWG/Rackham Community of Scholars

The Community of Scholars (COS) is a two-month summer fellowship program. It is intended to support graduate students enrolled in any Rackham graduate program on the U-M Ann Arbor campus who are engaged in scholarly research or other creative projects focusing on women, gender or sexuality.

COS is the only feminist dissertation writing workshop at the University of Michigan. All COS awardees participate in a weekly seminar during May and June. A faculty member in the Women’s & Gender Studies Department facilitates peer review and cross-disciplinary exchange. The facilitator also provides mentorship, individualized feedback, and coaching on the fellow’s writing from a feminist perspective. COS participants should be open to interdisciplinary peer critique and support for their project, as well as be willing to read and critique the work of others outside their own field(s). 

The Community of Scholars strives to grow an intellectual community, and the interdisciplinary feminist exchange of ideas. COS is designed as an opportunity for students who are at the stage where they are drafting the written portion of their graduate final projects and need support and feedback.

In addition to the graduate seminar, COS also provides a shared physical space for awardees to write. A long-term valuable benefit of the seminar is that participants form a peer-review community. Participants often stay in touch with each other after the seminar and continue to review and support each other’s work.

Awardees will also present their work at a public symposium during the Fall semester following their award.


Graduate student participants who are supported by spring/summer funding as part of the 12-month Rackham funding guarantee receive an additional $500 honorary stipend for participating in the COS. Spring/summer support takes many forms, including internal UM fellowships, assistantships (GSI, GSSA, GSRA), and temporary appointments, as well as external sources such as grants and fellowships. Regardless of the source of funding, graduate students who are otherwise funded at the established stipend level will receive a maximum stipend of $500: Rackham funding cannot be used beyond this amount to provide a stipend above the established funding level for the term while taking into account all funding sources. Graduate students who do not receive spring/summer support as part of the 12-month funding guarantee (for example, students who are no longer in their period of full funding, as specified in their offer of admission) may receive a stipend of up to $5,000.


IRWG is committed to creating environments in which a community of scholars come together for cross-disciplinary exchange. To that end, all awardees are required to participate in the weekly seminar during May and June. Awardees will be required to confirm their availability for the weekly seminar meetings prior to acceptance of the fellowship. Awardees will also be required to present their work at a public symposium during the Fall semester, even if they are not in residence at the time. Some funding is available to support travel to Ann Arbor for the fall symposium for students not in residence.


  • Students enrolled in any Rackham graduate program on the U-M Ann Arbor campus may apply.
  • PhD students should have advanced to candidacy by the beginning of the fellowship (May).
  • Students who have received this award in the past are not eligible.
  • Students applying for a Community of Scholars fellowship may also apply for the Boyd/Williams Dissertation Grant for Research on Women and Work.

Criteria for Awards:

  • Centrality of focus on women, gender, or sexuality
  • Anticipated contribution of the project to scholarship or creative work on women, gender, or sexuality
  • Inclusion of appropriate attention to issues of race/ethnicity, sexuality, class, nationality, ability, or other differences
  • Quality of the scholarship or creative activity
  • Clarity of the project description
  • Use of an interdisciplinary approach to scholarship or creative activity
  • Good standing in the applicant’s academic program
  • Contribution of the project to the applicant’s professional development
  • Balance and breadth of disciplines represented by recipients

Application Procedure: Complete the Online Application through InfoReady (link opens in a new window) and submit it along with additional documents:

  • Project Title
  • Abstract (100 word summary)
  • Statement of how your project fits into your graduate career and professional development (250 words)
  • Project Description (800 words)
    • The description should include the goals, methods, and significance of your project in terms that are understandable by scholars from many disciplines.
    • This will be reviewed by an interdisciplinary committee.
  • List two (2) academic references that we may contact if we need additional information (name, title, email address).
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Transcript(s) of graduate work from the University of Michigan*

Additional Information:

*U-M transcripts may be official or unofficial, and should be uploaded directly to the online application in InfoReady 

Human Subjects Review: Compliance with all appropriate regulations governing conduct of research will be required. Research proposals involving the use of human subjects will be subject to project review and approval by the appropriate IRB. It is the responsibility of the applicant to obtain IRB approval.

Application Deadline: Friday, Mar 22, 2024 by 11:59 pm ET 

Notifications for graduate funding awards will be sent in mid-April.

Apply now

Questions? Email irwg@umich.edu

Read more about COS alumni experiences.