International Dissertation Research Grants


The International Dissertation Research Grants program is designed to support AAR student members whose dissertation research requires them to travel outside of the country in which their school or university is located. Grants are intended to help candidates complete their doctoral degrees by offsetting costs of travel, lodging, and other dissertation research-related expenses. (Grant monies may not be used for tuition, stipends, computer hardware, or meals.)

View a list of past winners.

For this grant program, the AAR typically awards two grants of $5,000 USD each:

  • One International Dissertation Research Grant to a student working in any sub-discipline within religious studies
  • The Selva J. Raj Endowed International Dissertation Research Fellowship Grant

The Selva J. Raj Endowed International Dissertation Research Fellowship honors the life and work of Professor Selva J. Raj, a prolific scholar, a gifted teacher, and a magnificent human being who passed away unexpectedly in 2008. A graduate of the University of Chicago Divinity School and a longtime member of the American Academy of Religion, Selva held several prominent leadership positions in the Academy and at Albion College, where he was Chair of the Religious Studies Department as well as the recipient of an endowed professorship and several other honors, grants, and student awards. Selva’s excellent scholarly contributions, his tireless passion for promoting scholarly exchanges, and his extraordinary collegiality are warmly remembered in the Academy and beyond. His ground-breaking field research-based scholarship on ritual boundary-crossings in Indian popular Catholicism greatly advanced our understanding of Indian Christianity, Hindu-Christian Studies, religious syncretism in India, popular religiosity in India, as well as ritual studies, inter-religious dialogue, and religious pluralism. In awarding the Selva J. Raj Endowed International Dissertation Research Fellowship, priority will be given to graduate students working in one or more of these areas.

Eligible applications will be reviewed by members of the AAR’s Student Awards Jury.

The AAR will make grants only if there is a sufficiently diverse and rich pool of applicants.


To be eligible to apply to the grant program, applicants must have:

  • Current AAR Membership. 
  • Current status as a graduate student.
  • Completed all requirements for the doctoral degree except the dissertation.

Previous applicants may reapply for a grant; however, previous recipients of the International Dissertation Research Grants are not eligible. 

How to Apply

Applications and materials must be submitted through the AAR Grant Application Submission System.

Hard copies, emailed, late, or incomplete applications and/or materials cannot be accepted. Only the letter of support from the dissertation supervisor may be emailed.

Application Requirements

  • Completed Application Form
  • Proposal Documents - the following required proposal documents must be compiled into a single document in either PDF or Word format
  • a) Cover Page:
    • Applicant name
    • Applicant’s institutional affiliation 
    • Project title
    • Name of Dissertation Supervisor
  • b) Project Description: a description (no more than 3 pages) of the research project and how support for on-site research is critical for the completion of the dissertation 
  • c) Budget: a description of the research expenses and project timeline
  • Current CV 
  • Letter of Support: a letter of support from the applicant’s dissertation supervisor. Please note: Dissertation supervisors must send letters of support electronically to [email protected]. To be eligible for consideration, the letter of support must be received by the application deadline.

Winner Expectations

  • Notification of application status will typically be sent to the applicant via email by early spring.
  • For awarded projects, grant checks will be made payable to the individual student recipient. The AAR will issue recipients a Form 1099 in the amount of the grant for income tax use.
  • For awarded projects, expenses can be undertaken anytime within the calendar year of the award year. 
  • By January 31 of the following calendar year, grantees must submit a written report of their research, including a budget narrative.


For further information, please send an email to [email protected].




To Be Announced

Award Amount

$5,000 for each award