Funding and Fellowships

All admitted students are given the same funding package: a Benjamin Franklin Fellowship, or, for those eligible, a Fontaine Fellowship, which funds 5 academic years, with 3 summers also funded.  

Within Comparative Literature, there are two Awards for which there is no application process; they are made to students at faculty discretion.  These are:

-- the Charles Bernheimer Prize, of $100-$300, for outstanding writing.

-- the Arthur M. Daemmrich and Alfred Guenther Memorial Prize, which has been since 2020 awarded yearly to Comparative Literature students as well as students in Germanics.

We also have $9000 that is awarded to students in the program for supplementary travel, conference and language learning needs.  Please discuss this with the Chair as soon as you know you need it, and be aware that we can reimburse courses only before you go, not after.

Beyond these program-specific opportunities, there are a number of other possibilities for supplementing your fellowship.

SASgov and GAPSA funding, for travel to conferences


For funding the sixth year:

We encourage students to try to finish the program in 5 years when that's a viable option, but we know that a sixth year is often needed in our discipline. Please discuss with your supervisor and the graduate chair ASAP once you know you will likely need a sixth year, to consider possible sources of funding.  

Internal sources of 6th year funding include the Dissertation Completion Fellowships (for those who will finish in the academic year following the one in which they apply).  Dissertation Research Fellowships (for those in early and intermediate stages of the dissertation. These awards are typically announced in January. Departmental nominations are due to the Grad Division in mid-February, with applicants' materials due to the Graduate Chair ten days prior to that.

If other funding sources are not available, we try whenever possible to fund a 6th year through the Comparative Literature Program itself, by giving students a Fellowship Credit from the bank.  Please discuss with the Graduate Chair to see if this is an option for you.

A number of topic-specific fellowships are offered by Penn departments, centers, and programs, such as:


Critical Speaking Seminar Teaching Fellowships, administered by Penn's Communication Within the Curriculum (CWiC) Program (applications due ~April 11)

The Penn Program on Democracy, Citizenship, and Constitutionalism Graduate Fellowships (application due dates t.b.a.).

Penn Program in Environmental Humanities

Penn HUD doctoral dissertation fellowship

The Penn Humanities Forum's Graduate Fellowships (applications due March 1) and Research Assistantship (applications due March 15)

Penn's McNeil Center for Early American Studies Dissertation Fellowships (applications due February 1)

Penn Price Lab mid-doctoral fellowships


•    Extramural fellowships, such as:

American Association of University Women (AAUW) Fellowships (applications due November 15)

Charlotte Newcome Fellowship

Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowships (applications due November 17)

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship (applications due ~November 9)

National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Fellowships (applications due October 3)