CDHI Graduate Fellows Program


The CDHI Graduate Fellows Program is designed to (1) identify outstanding Ph.D. students across all fields engaged in humanistic inquiry and teaching who are interested in developing digital humanities as a significant expression of their professional practice; (2) support their interest through a one-year individually tailored program of professional development, skills training, digital humanities courses, and project-based learning; and (3) involve them in a continuing community of fellow digital humanists—faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and other graduate students.

The program is a response to the increasing recognition of the value of digital humanities training in the hiring of new faculty positions in humanities disciplines and in broadening career horizons within and outside the academy for those who combine these capacities with the highest level of academic preparation in their subject disciplines. The fellowship program is a component of the Carolina Digital Humanities Initiative, and is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Graduate School of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Up to three one-year fellowships will be awarded. Students may apply as early as their first semester in residence and as late as the semester following approval of their dissertation proposal.

Fellowship Program Features

The CDHI Graduate Fellows program is organized around an interlocking set of learning experiences and opportunities for professional and intellectual growth, tailored to the needs and aspirations of each participating fellow. During the twelve months of their participation in the program, CDHI Graduate Fellows will receive $5000 in summer support and up to $5000 in support of their projects and professional development activities. They will also develop a collaborative relationship with a campus digital humanities entity.


The CDHI Programs Coordinator and Director will serve as mentors for CDHI Graduate Fellows, meeting with students soon after their selection to outline a set of goals and an individualized plan for their fellowship year. This includes advising on digital humanities course selection, skills/tools training, and summer enrichment opportunities. The CDHI Programs Coordinator will also provide basic project planning support to CDHI Graduate Fellows as they refine and scope their project ideas, outline major tasks and milestones, develop a timeline and budget, and undertake the project itself. The CDHI Programs Coordinator and Director will connect CDHI Graduate Fellows with other faculty and staff with specialized expertise as needed for their projects and with a campus digital humanities entity to support their work.

Coursework and Digital Humanities Certificate

CDHI Graduate Fellows are expected to enroll in digital humanities courses during their fellowship year. In consultation with the CDHI Programs Coordinator, fellows will select courses that support their professional development and/or academic goals. Fellows are also encouraged to enroll in AMST 795: Digital Humanities Field Experience as a vehicle for working on their own digital humanities project.

CDHI Graduate Fellows are encouraged to pursue the Graduate Certificate Program in Digital Humanities. The certificate requires the completion of a student-designed cluster of three digital humanities courses (9 hours) and an experiential or field-based project or experience (1-3 hours). More information about the Graduate Certificate Program in Digital Humanities is available here.

Summer Support

Fellows will use the summer months—supported by a summer stipend—in the way that best contributes to their overall fellowship goals: intensive work on their projects; skills development; an internship with a cultural heritage organization, government agency, archive, DH-related company, or academic digital humanities center; or a combination of the above. Note that students who pursue an internship may choose to enroll in AMST 795: Digital Humanities Field Experience for up to 3 credit hours.

For those beginning the fellowship program in the fall semester, the summer experience ordinarily will serve as a capstone. For those beginning the fellowship program in the spring semester, the summer experience will bridge the two academic semesters of their participation. Under special circumstances, a CDHI Graduate Fellow may be allowed to launch the fellowship program with a summer experience, followed by two semesters of participation. The individual schedule of participation will be decided in conjunction with the CDHI Programs Coordinator following selection.

Fellows Projects

As a key feature of their twelve-month fellowship experience, all CDHI Graduate Fellows will devise, plan, execute, and assess a digital humanities project. The project will serve as a showcase for the fellows’ resourcefulness, imagination, and ability to deploy digital technologies to advance their own scholarship and pedagogic practice and to engage with audiences within and beyond the academy. Projects may contribute directly to the fellow’s dissertation research and publication, serve as a vehicle for broadening the fellow’s career horizons beyond the academy, or explore new avenues for humanities teaching and learning. Fellows may enroll in AMST 795: Digital Humanities Field Experience (1-3 credits) as a vehicle for working on their projects.

Connections and Collaboration

The CDHI Director and Program Coordinator will work with the fellow to create a collaborative relationship with a campus digital humanities entity–e.g., the Digital Innovation Lab, a departmental digital lab, the Library Research Hub, the Office of Arts and Sciences Information Services. The Fellow will work with this campus entity during the twelve-month fellowship to learn skills and become familiar with the digital mission of the entity. The campus unit will, in turn, provide assistance with the Fellow’s digital project.

Application Process

A complete application contains the following:

  1. A personal statement (no more than 1000 words). In your personal statement, you should (a) discuss how the year-long CDHI Graduate Fellows experience and its opportunities would add value to your graduate training at UNC, and (b) discuss the role you see digital humanities playing in your eventual professional practice.

  2. A project proposal (no more than 1500 words). In your project proposal, you should provide a preliminary description of the digital humanities project you will pursue and complete during the twelve-month fellowship term. Applicants’ project ideas will be in various stages of development and we expect the projects to evolve over time. Though none are specifically required, possible sections include: (a) a narrative description of the project, including its goals, the form it will take, and the intended audience; (b) an environmental scan of similar or inspirational projects; (c) a description of the corpus or data required to complete the project and how you will obtain access to it, as applicable; (d) a description of the technical requirements of the project and the skills necessary to accomplish project goals, and (e) a preliminary budget of project-related costs.

  3. A current CV.

  4. A letter of support from your academic advisor or director of graduate studies. The letter should speak to what you have proposed in your personal statement and project proposal, and the relationship of the prospective CDHI Graduate Fellows experience to your overall graduate training at UNC. The letter should be submitted separately by your advisor.

Note: Please review the description of the CDHI Graduate Fellows Program and its components carefully. Students applying in this application cycle are expected to participate in the program beginning in fall 2016 or spring 2017.

We have changed the application process this semester, if you have submitted your materials in one PDF file, it will still be accepted. In preparing the application going forward from the Spring 2015 semester, our new policy will be as follows: applicants should submit each document as separate PDFs attached in a single email. The letter of support from an academic advisor or director of graduate studies should be submitted by the advisor or director separately. Please include your last name in all of your filenames.

Applications should be sent to Malina Chavez ( by 5pm on March 21st, 2016. Please include CDHI Graduate Fellows in the subject line. Finalist interviews will take place in early April.

Selection Process

Students enrolled in all Ph.D. programs in the College of Arts and Sciences and relevant professional schools apply directly for participation in the program during the application window. The fellowship application is built around a personal statement in which candidates explain how the fellowship experience would add value to their graduate education at UNC and the role digital humanities will play in their eventual professional practice, as well as a project proposal that provides a preliminary description of the digital humanities project that they will pursue as fellows and complete by the end of their twelve-month fellowship term. A letter of support from the student’s advisor and/or director of graduate studies should be submitted separately as part of the application process. Students may apply as early as their first semester in residence and as late as the semester following approval of their dissertation proposal.

The application and selection process is designed to allow students to participate in the CDHI Graduate Fellows program at the point in their graduate careers when it will have maximum impact. Fellows are generally expected to begin their participation the semester following their selection. In some cases, the commencement of participation may be delayed one semester.

A committee drawn from CDHI staff and members of the CDHI Faculty Steering Committee will review application materials and select finalists for interviews.

Important Dates

Monday, February 15, 2016
Application window opens

Monday, March 7, 2016 3:30 PM
Information Session

Monday, March 21, 2016 5 PM
Application deadline

Monday, April 18, 2016
Fellows selection announced

Meet the 2016/17 Graduate Fellows

Meet the 2015/16 Graduate Fellows

Meet the 2014/15 Graduate Fellows

Meet the 2013/14 Graduate Fellows