Pages Menu
Categories Menu

The Aina Birnitis Dissertation-Completion Fellowship in the Humanities for Latvia

The Aina Birnitis Scholarship supports a year of research and writing to help advanced graduate students in the humanities in the last year of Ph.D. dissertation writing.  The fellowship provides a $20,000 stipend for one year plus $1,000 for university fees.  The program encourages timely completion of the Ph.D.  Applicants should be prepared to complete their dissertation within the period of their fellowship tenure and no later than fifteen months following the initial disbursement of funds unless an extension has been granted by the AABS.  The fellowship is supported by a bequest of Aina Birnitis, a librarian by profession living in Carlton, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

The application deadline for the 2019-2020 fellowship is 17 December 2018. Award notifications will be made by March 2019.


  • The fellowship is open to Ph.D. candidates in the humanities preferably at a university in Latvia, the U.S., Canada, Australia, Great Britain, Germany or Sweden.
  • Applicants must be citizens and permanent residents of Latvia
  • Applicants must have completed all requirements for the Ph.D. except the dissertation by the application deadline.
  • Unsuccessful applicants may reapply to this program only once.

Eligible Projects:

Proposed projects must be in the humanities and related to Latvia or the Latvians.  While preference is given to the study of the Latvian language and history, projects in other areas of the humanities: anthropology, archaeology, ethnography, fine and performing arts, folklore, gender studies, history, linguistics, literature, philosophy, and religion, will be considered.  Projects in social sciences such as economics, sociology, or political science, as well as in law or international relations are eligible only if they are clearly humanistic (cultural or historical) in content and focus.  The dissertation may be written in either Latvian or English.

Selection Criteria:

  • The intrinsic interest and substantive merit of the proposed project to the field of study in which it is proposed
  • The clarity of the intellectual agenda and an understanding of the appropriate methodology
  • The promise of the applicant as revealed in the supporting documentation
  • The likelihood of the applicant finishing the dissertation
  • The likelihood of the applicant maintaining residence in Latvia

Guidelines for Application:

1. Complete the application form here.

Send the following documents as PDF files to Vice President of Professional Development, Dr. Ineta Dabašinskienė, via email at

2.  Scanned copies of relevant pages of the passport of the Republic of Latvia indicating citizenship and permanent residence – or equivalent documentation

3. Curriculum Vitae

4. Officially certified copies of university transcripts

5. Proposal (no more than five pages) in English summarizing the proposed thesis of the research

6. Bibliography (no more than two pages)

7. One-page timeline for the expected completion of dissertation writing and defense

8. Completed chapter of the dissertation (neither introduction, nor conclusion)

9. A reference letter from the dissertation adviser that includes a statement on the viability of the proposed timeline for completion

10. A second reference letter from another faculty member

Terms of the agreement:

The fellowship will consist of four payments of $4,000 each made every three months, predicated on the recipient showing satisfactory progress in the writing of the dissertation.  The fifth payment of $4,000 will be made upon the successful defense of the dissertation as certified by the university.

It was the intention of Aina Birnitis that recipients of the fellowships were to maintain their residence in Latvia following the completion of their study.  It is expected that the recipient will either reside in Latvia upon completion of the dissertation or return to Latvia within two years following the finishing of the dissertation.