Awards for Graduate Students

PAS offers the following funding to support graduate studies at Northwestern:

Please include this cover sheet with each award application submission. Award applications should be e-mailed to, or turned in at the Program of African Studies, 620 Library Place, Evanston IL 60208.

Hans E. Panofsky Pre-Dissertation Awards

Established to honor the curator emeritus of the Herskovits Library, Hans E. Panofsky, these awards support Northwestern graduate students planning to do pre-dissertation fieldwork or archival research in Africa. These awards are normally granted for work during the summer, but exceptions can be made. Deadline is February 28, 2014. View application materials and instructions.

Morris Goodman Awards

It is important for PAS graduate students to study an African language in preparation for applying for national dissertation research grants and for field research. These awards, in honor of Linguistics Professor Emeritus Morris Goodman, provide approximately $2,000 for students in their second year of study or beyond to study an African language not taught at Northwestern University.

Many students find a qualified African tutor in the Chicago area, but others have taken these grants to Africa for individual study or on one of the Fulbright-Hays Language Group Projects Abroad (GPAs), or to the Summer Cooperative African Language Institute (SCALI) on one of the Title VI NRC campuses, or even to Europe (e.g. study of African Portuguese in an institution in Lisbon for fieldwork in Cape Verde). In the Chicago area, the grant normally supports 20 weeks of language study, three hours a week ($25/hour).

Application instructions: Applicants must submit a letter that states their research plans, justifies the need for language training, and describes how the training will be completed. If tutoring is proposed, the application must include information about the tutor, including a curriculum vitae and documentation of visa status for remuneration purposes. Awards are granted on a rolling basis. For other types of language study, students must provide information about the strengths of the program, the syllabus, evaluations, etc. Send inquiries and applications to the Program of African Studies at or 847-491-7323.

Guyer-Virmani Award

This award honors Jane Guyer and Akbar Virmani, former PAS Director and Associate Director, for their dedicated support of graduate students' intellectual development at PAS. It is awarded on a one-time basis to PAS graduate students in their third year or above, especially to students who have completed pre-dissertation research and who have already received a Panofsky Award. It allows them to travel to archives and participate in conferences. Funding is normally in the range of $200-$400. Awards are granted on a rolling basis. View application instructions.

Carter and Annan Fellowships for African PhD Students

Every other year the Program of African Studies awards a Gwendolen M. Carter and Kofi Annan Fellowship to one outstanding African students admitted to Northwestern's Graduate School for disciplinary studies of Africa leading to the PhD. Each fellowship provides three years of support, including full tuition for three years of graduate study and a monthly stipend, and a teaching or research assistantship within your department for two additional years. View application instructions.

Working Groups Award

The Program of African Studies invites applications for funds to sponsor an interdisciplinary working group to address research issues in African Studies. Working groups promote building communities of scholars who to come together on a regular basis to reflect and work together on important problems of common interest. Deadline: Monday, May 1 by 5pm.

Individual groups take different approaches and pursue different goals, such as lecture series inviting leading scholars; discussion of empirical and theoretical works of scholarship; pursing a collaborative, interdisciplinary research projects; producing working paper series; commentary and analysis of group members' work in progress. Working Groups must involve at least one faculty member. PAS will fund up to $5,000 of the working group budget. Upon completion, PAS will require a final report.

Application instructions: Please provide a two page description of the purpose of the group, the plans for the period of work, and a budget. If the budget is higher than $5,000, please indicate where additional funds are being sought. Please include coversheet with application. Please email applications to Kate Klein, PAS Assistant Director at kate-klein or call 847-491-7325 with any questions.

John Hunwick Research Fund

President Henry Bienen and Provost Larry Dumas established this award in 2007 to honor the work of Professor Emeritus John Hunwick (History and Religion Departments). This endowment supports research by Northwestern University faculty and graduate students on Islam in Africa. John Hunwick's research and scholarship made significant contributions toward the scholarly understanding on Muslim societies in West Africa, particularly in the area of  West African Islamic scholarship and the translation of primary texts and documents. His documentary history, Timbuktu and the Songhay Empire: Al-Saidi's Ta'rikh al-Sudan Down to 1613 and Other Contemporary Documents, won the 2001 African Studies Association Text Prize.

Awards of varying amounts are given annually to Northwestern University graduate students and faculty to pursue their research on a topic related to Islam in Africa.  Awards may be used for the following purposes:

  • To fund travel to an archive, library, or to conduct field research.
  • For graduate students: to fund expenses associated with presenting a paper related to Islam and Africa at a conference. Faculty members are not eligible for conference support from this fund since they have access to departmental funds for such purposes.
  • While the priority will be given to funding the first two areas, funds may also be made available to a faculty member or graduate student to organize the visit of a scholar of Islam and Africa to Northwestern to give a lecture, visit a class, or interact with students.

Application instructions: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Applications must include a 2-3 page (single-spaced) proposal detailing your research, conference participation, or proposal for a visiting speaker. A detailed budget must also be submitted along with a CV. Please send applications to

PAS Travel Awards

These awards are available to all PAS graduate students. They contribute $250 towards the expenses of participating in an African-related conference, usually to present a paper. A student may apply for this award each year.  Applications are accepted and awarded on a rolling basis. Award decisions are made by the PAS Executive Committee.  The application must be submitted prior to participation in the conference, though the award may be received after depending on the university pay cycle. Please include a complete budget and other sources of funding. If request is for conference travel, include information on any panel participation and abstracts of papers to be presented. Attach additional sheets if necessary.