The SEAREG Pre-Dissertation Fellowship assists social science Ph.D. students engaged in exploratory research who must travel to Southeast Asia in order to obtain the advanced contextual knowledge needed for a high-quality dissertation proposal and a competitive application for external funding.

The Fellowship consists of an award of up to $5,000, made possible by a generous grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.

Graduate students in good academic standing who have completed their first or second year of a social science Ph.D. program (including the fields of public policy, history, and anthropology) in the U.S. or Canada, regardless of personal nationality or citizenship, are eligible to apply for this fellowship.

Preference will be given to students enrolled in the fields of political science, economics and sociology. PhD candidates are eligible to apply, though preference will be given to students who have not yet defended (or recently defended) a dissertation prospectus.

Successful applicants are expected to spend a minimum of 5 weeks in Southeast Asia; this time may be spent within one country or divided among multiple countries, depending on research needs.

Funds from this fellowship are not intended to support either introductory language courses or language courses offered outside of the region of Southeast Asia; successful applicants will have already made a commitment to the region by acquiring linguistic competency. Advanced language study that is directly tied to the research goal or instruction in an essential language that is not taught outside the region may be considered.

Application Requirements

All application materials should be uploaded as a single PDF file (transcripts and letters of recommendation may be sent separately).

  1. 200-250 word (1 page) summary of research idea
  2. 100-150 word (1/2 page) description of research site(s) and country context
  3. Evidence of language ability – submit one of the following:
    • Copy of university transcript*
    • Letter from language instructor verifying proficiency level
    • Native proficiency (copy of secondary school or undergraduate diploma)
  4. Estimated budget of expenses for the research project
  5. Anticipated timeline of the research project (include approximate dates of arrival and departure for each country as well as regions/districts/states within country)
  6. Name, position of local in-country contact
  7. Letter of endorsement from in-country contact** explaining how this individual can support the applicant’s research on site
  8. Letter of recommendation from faculty** at university where student is enrolled
  9. Copy of transcript (may be unofficial) verifying good academic standing*

*If the security settings on an electronic transcript will not allow you to add it to the application file, please send the digital copy to Jack Daly (
**Letters of endorsement may be submitted 1) online via the submission forms below; or 2) emailed to Jack Daly ( by their authors.