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Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship

Each Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Fellowship awards $40,000 to graduate students in the humanities and social sciences to support completion of their doctoral degrees. 

Spring 2022 Nomination Process

Program Announcement: 
December 15, 2021
Internal unit-level review completion date:  March 1, 2022

Nomination deadline for college-level review:  April 4, 2022


Nomination Guidelines

The Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Fellowships will be awarded by a competitive process and there is a two-stage evaluation process. Nominations forwarded to the College for the second stage of review must be made by the department chair or program director offering the degree program.  

Download the 2022-2023 Bilinski Fellowship Program Guidelines [PDF] (printer-friendly version).

Students are invited to submit applications based on the following eligibility criteria.

  1. Be a full-time doctoral student in a graduate program in the humanities or social sciences, who has passed all qualifying examinations and course requirements at the University of the South Carolina, and advanced to candidacy or will advance in the upcoming academic year;
  2. Maintain good academic standing at all times;
  3. Have demonstrated exceptional ability and potential in his or her field of study;
  4. Be a student who needs financial support to complete his or her degree;
  5. Commit to devoting full-time effort toward dissertation completion for each semester (including summer period) in which Fellowship funds are provided;
  6. Not be employed either outside or within the University of South Carolina;
  7. Understands and agrees that the only fellowship he or she will hold during the July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023 Fiscal Year will be the Bilinski Fellowship itself;
  8. Abide by the University of South Carolina Academic Code of Conduct.

Note:  Fellowship Funds will not be awarded to a candidate whose dissertation has already been substantially completed.

To be awarded a Fellowship and to remain a Bilinski Fellow, a recipient must – in addition to the eligibility criteria set forth above – be a United States citizen or a Permanent Resident eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.

Nomination packets from departments of their selected nominees must be submitted to the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences by the deadline of 5:00 p.m. on Monday, April 4, 2022.

Each nomination packet should include the following components:

  1. The Fellowship Application Cover Sheet signed by the applicant and the applicant’s Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). By signing this form, the DGS certifies that the applicant has passed all qualifying examinations and course requirements and advanced to candidacy or will advance in the upcoming year;;
  2. The Financial Disclosure Form;
  3. A statement (maximum one-page) of the student’s professional goals;
  4. A proposal describing the dissertation that includes the following, double-spaced sections: a proposal narrative (2-3 pages) and a timetable for completion (maximum 1 page);
  5. A curriculum vitae containing information about the applicant’s previous education, teaching and research experience, professional publications, and awards or honors;
  6. A letter of recommendation from the student’s dissertation director addressing the significance of the dissertation topic and the applicant’s ability to complete the dissertation in the time period covered by the fellowship; and
  7. The signed Fellow’s Agreement Form on Use of Bilinski Fellowship Funds.
  8. In addition, all nominees selected by departments to move forward to the Office of the Dean must complete an online FAFSA application, filed no later than March 15 at
  • Chairs and graduate directors will solicit nominations from eligible candidates in their units. Each unit must establish an internal deadline for nominations to be submitted to the graduate director. It is recommended that this deadline be set early enough in the cycle to allow for the completion of the internal evaluation and selection process by Monday, March 1, 2022.
  • Nomination packets submitted to graduate directors will include components 1 – 7 from the list of required fellowship application materials (see above). In other words, nominees do not at this initial stage need to complete a FAFSA.
  • All of the completed nominations received by the internal deadline must be evaluated on the basis of merit by either the unit’s Graduate Committee or an ad hoc fellowship committee that is formed for the purpose of evaluating and ranking departmental nominees.
  • Internal evaluations of merit should take into consideration the factors that are considered by the College selection committee. (A sample of the College’s Merit and Financial Need Assessment Tool is in the document library).
  • Once a decision has been made on which candidates to recommend to the dean’s office, those candidates should be notified by the departmental DGS of the result and asked to complete an online FAFSA by the required date of March 15, 2022.
  • Units should submit nomination packets electronically to the College by April 4, 2022.   Packets should be submitted via email to as a single PDF for each nominee, labeled with the [degree program_student’s last name_student’s first name].
  • Units submitting multiple nominations should forward the complete set of individual nomination packets accompanied by a separate cover memo, signed by the chair, that lists the names of the nominees, ranks them according to merit, and offers a narrative justification of that ranking.
  • The Bilinski Selection Committee is composed of members of the dean’s senior staff, including associate deans who come from diverse academic backgrounds representing disciplines across the range of the College of Arts and Sciences.
  • The Selection Committee will meet shortly after the applications are received in the dean’s office and roughly three weeks after the FAFSA filing deadline. By this date, the results (EFC scores) of the online FAFSAs filed by departmental nominees will have been received by the UofSC Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid, and these results will have been made available to the dean’s office.
Timeline Process or Procedure 
December 2021
  • Dean’s office issues call for nominations.
January 2022
  • Units establish process for Stage 1 of the evaluation process.
  • Units solicit nominees internally.
  • Units work with nominees, dissertation directors, and directors of graduate studies to assemble nomination packets.
  • Units evaluate nominations according to established process.
March 1, 2022
  • Unit nomination process should be completed. Units select no more than 8 nominations to forward to the college level.
  • Units notify all nominees of internal decisions and instruct those whose packets will move forward to the College level to complete the FAFSA.
March 15, 2022
  • Students whose nominations will be forwarded for college-level review must have completed the FAFSA.
March - early April
  • In the case of multiple nominations, department chair or program director writes a separate letter ranking the nominees according to merit and offering a narrative justification of that ranking.
  • Units ensure that nomination packets are complete.
April 4, 2022
  • Units submit nomination packets electronically to the College. Packets should be submitted via email to with a single, consolidated PDF for each nominee, labeled with the [degree program_student’s last name_student’s first name].
  • In cases of multiple nominations, units submit a letter explaining ranking of nominations with the packets.
May 2, 2022
  • College notifies nominees and units of results.


Please contact Associate Dean Qiana Whitted ( or Assistant Dean Elise Ahyi ( with any questions.

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