Special Collections offers a variety of fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students. These experiences offer the opportunity to explore original lines of inquiry while researching rare and unique materials.

Undergraduate Fellowships

Sheridan Libraries Dean’s Undergraduate Research Awards (DURA)

Next deadline: March 9, 2020, by 11:59 p.m

The Sheridan Libraries Dean’s Undergraduate Research Awards (DURA) are available for students working on research projects that draw on primary source materials in the rare book, manuscript, and archival collections of the Sheridan Libraries at JHU. These collections span 5,000 years of rare and unique objects and texts, from ancient cuneiform tablets and Egyptian papyri fragments to illuminated medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, 20th century African American photography; U.S. suffrage movement records; and a growing LGBTQ collection.

DURA supports research conducted over the summer months only (May to August 2020) and are meant to be used as cost-of-living stipends for awardees for the duration of their research. In recent years, awards have consisted of $1,250 for a four-week research period and up to a maximum of $3,750 for a 12-week period of funding. Any additional research expenses during the research period must be drawn from the total amount of the student award, though some costs such as digitization may be possible without charge. Students typically live in Baltimore during this period and use the Libraries’ collections for intensive research. Research outcomes might take the form of a research essay, exhibition, digital project, film, or another production.


  • The fellowships are restricted to freshman, sophomore, and junior applicants; seniors graduating in 2020 are not eligible.
  • A minimum of 25 hours per week of work with the designated research materials is required during the summer months only.

Eligible Repositories

Application Instructions

Submit by email to the DURA Program contact, Joseph Plaster, at jplaster@jhu.edu

  1. A two- to three-page, single-spaced proposal that addresses each of the following:
    • the specific topic to be explored and question(s) you want to investigate
    • specific rare book, manuscript, oral history and/or archival materials in the Sheridan Libraries’ collections and (if relevant) at other archives that you propose to examine
    • qualifications for conducting the research (e.g., your undergraduate status, general academic interests, related classes, personal experience, work experience, related research)
    • your timeline for completion of the project scheduled in weekly intervals, including how often you and your mentor will meet about the project
    • expected outcome of the project (e.g., honors thesis, essay, exhibition, digital project, etc.)
    • an itemized award budget
  2. One letter of recommendation from your proposed faculty or curatorial DURA mentor, to include:
    • specific information about how long and in what capacity the faculty or curatorial mentor has known the student
    • the student’s academic strengths, qualifications, ability to conduct independent research
    • the general quality of the research proposal

The letter of recommendation may be sent directly via e-mail from your advisor directly to Joseph Plaster, at jplaster@jhu.edu.

Application deadline: March 9, 2020, by 11:59 p.m., all materials sent via e-mail to jplaster@jhu.edu. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed after that date.

DURAs are co-sponsored by the Alexander Grass Humanities Institute and the Charles Singleton Center for the Study of Premodern Europe.

Special Collections Freshman Fellows

Next Deadline: TBA

Freshman Fellows is an academic opportunity designed to introduce students to conducting research with rare books, manuscripts, and archival material. Freshmen can choose from different “time capsules” of themed collections from Special Collections resources or propose their own topic to explore! Fellows will work with Special Collections staff, who will serve as mentors and provide one-on-one research guidance. The program culminates in the creation of an end product of the students’ choosing that focuses on their research. Each fellow will receive a $1,000 research award.

Past Fellows have translated and researched 16th century Latin texts; explored  collections of advertisements, women’s magazines, and books to discover how the 19th century Dress Reform movement impacted first wave feminism; traced the development of student life on Homewood Campus from the 1920s to today; and examined how editors changed Shakespeare’s language through the centuries. They have shared their research through curated displays in the Special Collections Reading Room, poster sessions, and public talks. Feeling inspired? Consider applying to be a Freshman Fellow!  If you do have questions about the program, please contact  Heidi Herr.

Fellowships for Graduate and Undergraduate Students

Hugh Hawkins Research Fellowships for the Study of Hopkins History

Next Deadline: March 9, 2020 by 11:59pm

Hugh Hawkins Research Fellowships are awarded annually to undergraduate or graduate students from any school at Johns Hopkins who wish to conduct research into an aspect of the rich history of Johns Hopkins University. Fellowship recipients are notified in the spring and conduct their research over the summer.

Special consideration will be given to projects exploring the history of diversity at Johns Hopkins or that propose a final product rooted in the digital humanities. The Hugh Hawkins Fellowships will enhance the undergraduate and graduate research experience by providing opportunities for original research in historical collections and for sharing research with the public.

Each fellowship recipient will work closely with a faculty mentor and an archivist mentor during the fellowship. Fellowship recipients’ work will be preserved in the Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives, creating a rich, continually growing, and publicly available body of original scholarship that will serve as a valuable resource for generations to come.

View the complete description of the fellowship guidelines and application process

Singleton Center Summer Library Graduate Research Fellowships

Next Deadline: TBA

The Singleton Center for the Study of Premodern Europe provides summer research fellowships to currently enrolled PhD students in the humanities (Krieger School of Arts & Sciences, Institute for the History of Medicine, Peabody Institute DMA students) who are working on topics spanning the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Enlightenment periods in Europe and European colonies abroad.

For a complete description of the program, visit the the Singleton Center.