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Alvin H. Johnson AMS 50 Dissertation Fellowships


The Society makes available up to three funded dissertation-year fellowships each year. Any student registered in good standing for a doctorate at a North American university who has completed all formal degree requirements except the dissertation at the time of full application is eligible to apply. The fellowships are not intended for support of the early stages of research: it is expected that a Fellow's dissertation will be completed within the fellowship year.

Any submission for a doctoral degree in which the emphasis is on musical scholarship will be eligible.

Competition and Application Procedures

The Society's president, with confirmation by the Board of Directors, maintains a fellowship committee of at least fifteen respected musicologists from whom three judges, through a system of rotation and replacement, are chosen by the chair of the committee in any one year. Although the membership of the Fellowship Committee will be made public (and is widely representative of fields of study), the individual judges for the competition in any one year are not identified. The three judges view the applications without indications of name or institution.

Applications must be submitted online via the AMS Web site. The online application form will be available on this page around mid-November.

You will be requested to upload the following materials:

  1. A 150-word project description.
  2. A current dissertation prospectus of twelve to fifteen pages (c. 3000-4000 words).  The prospectus should include a detailed rationale of the project (supported by, but not limited to, an assessment of relevant secondary literature), an overview of each chapter, and a clear statement of progress to date, all written in prose.
  3. A sample chapter (preferably not an introductory chapter reviewing the literature).

You should also arrange for a letter from the registrar or departmental Director of Graduate Studies attesting to ABD (all-but-dissertation) status, to be submitted using the form available here.

Please note: letters of recommendation, a curriculum vitae, and a bibliography are not required.

The current year's application round is now closed. The next application is due on or before 15 December 2020, 5:00 p.m. EST.

Important notes:

  1. Applicants must submit items 1-3, above, in an anonymous form, i.e., without name or evidence of institutional affiliation in any document (including text, headers, footers, footnotes and document properties).
  2. AMS members: please sign in to your account before starting the application. 
  3. Start your application process early. You may save an incomplete form and continue later.  Note: if you are a non-member or not signed in, your changes are saved via your browser cache only. Be sure to save your work appropriately.
  4. You MUST click the 'Submit' button at the end of the form (page 3) in order to submit your application. Applications not submitted by the deadline cannot be considered.
  5. Upon submission of your application form a confirmation page will appear. Please SAVE or PRINT your Submission Receipt and your Submission Number. If you do not see the confirmation page, please contact the AMS office to confirm receipt of your submission.
  6. A confirmation email will be sent to applicants on 18 December. If you submitted an application and do not receive a confirmation email, contact the AMS office.
  7. DO NOT plan to submit less than one day prior to deadline. Upload speeds slow with increased traffic and accidents happen!
  8. Pro tip: draft your responses in a document you can save locally on your computer and then simply copy and paste them into the form.


AHJ AMS 50 Fellowships are awarded solely on the basis of academic merit. Fellows receive a twelve-month stipend, currently set at $23,000. They may also elect to accept the award on a non-stipendiary basis (thus freeing scarce resources for others). The fellowships are intended for full-time study. An equivalent major award from another source may not be held concurrently or consecutively unless the AMS award is accepted without a stipend. Fellowships are for one year and are not deferable or renewable; Fellows are expected to focus on completing their dissertations and not to undertake teaching or similar obligations as instructors, teaching assistants, or in any similar capacity, whether paid or unpaid. There are no provisions for the payment of tuition: it is hoped that graduate schools will provide tuition fellowships or waivers.

Fellows are selected in the spring, announced in the summer, and given formal recognition at the Annual Meeting and Awards Presentation of the Society.

Application procedure

Application Deadline: 5:00 p.m. EST, Monday 15 December 2020.