General Information

AISLS dissertation planning grants are designed to enable graduate students intending to do dissertation research in Sri Lanka to make a pre-dissertation visit to Sri Lanka to investigate the feasibility of their topic, to sharpen their research design, or to make other practical arrangements for future research. A list of previous recipients of these awards is available. Although language instruction is not the primary focus of these awards, successful applicants may simultaneously hold an AISLS language instruction grant. Awards made to United States citizens are funded by a grant from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the US State Department.  The other awards are made from AISLS discretionary funds.

Eligibility Guidelines

Applicants must be graduate students enrolled at a US university. There are no citizenship requirements, but some funds designated for this program can only be used for awards for US citizens.

Applicants should have completed most of their graduate coursework by the time they take up their grant. The grant is especially intended for students who are in the process of completing their dissertation proposals and preparing applications for funds to support their dissertation research, but other purposes may be proposed.

Awards are normally for a period between six and eight weeks.


  • A per diem of $525/week, for a period up to eight weeks.
  • Reimbursement for roundtrip airfare between the United States and Colombo, for an amount up to $2,000. All travel must be consistent with the Fly America Act.
  • Reimbursement for any visa fees paid to the Sri Lankan government.

Competition Criteria

Projects in all fields in the social sciences and humanities are eligible. Proposals will be judged on their quality and on the potential of the dissertation research to strengthen scholarship on Sri Lanka.

Application Contents

The completed application should contain the following items:

  1. A one-page cover sheet giving name, mailing address (February/March 2016), telephone (February/March 2016), email address, citizenship, major field of study, institutional affiliation, foreign languages (including proficiency), length of stay in Sri Lanka, tentative dates of project, project title, and a brief project description.
  2. A curriculum vitae, not to exceed two pages, which should include the name and email address of the applicant’s dissertation supervisor.
  3. A copy of the applicant’s graduate transcript. An unofficial copy is acceptable.
  4. A project narrative, not to exceed two single-spaced pages. This is the most important part of the application. It should cover the following topics:
    • a summary of the proposed dissertation project, or, if the purpose of the planning grant is to define a dissertation project, a summary of the more general questions the applicant hopes to address in his or her dissertation
    • a description of what the applicant intends to do during the grant period
    • the applicant’s competence to carry out his or her proposed project, including language training
  5. A one-page project bibliography, including a selected list of publications by other scholars or primary sources that have been or will be used in the project
  6. A confidential letter of recommendation from the applicant’s dissertation supervisor. This letter should cover the applicant’s academic record and be specific about the applicant’s progress to date within the graduate program concerned. This letter should be sent directly to John Rogers, preferably by email.

Application Format

  • Pages should have one-inch margins on all sides.
  • Type size should be 10 points or larger.
  • Pages should be printed on one side only.
  • Every page should be numbered and include the name of the applicant in the upper right-hand corner.
  • Three copies of the application (including the original) should be submitted, each collated in the order given above (cover sheet, cv, graduate transcript, project description, bibliography) and fastened with a staple.  An email copy should also be submitted, if possible in a single Word or PDF file.

Deadlines, Selection, and Notification

Applications must be postmarked by December 1, 2015, and the email copy should also be sent by that date. The confidential letter of recommendation should be sent by the deadline, or as soon as possible thereafter.  Do not send the application materials by carriers that require a signature. Awards will be announced by early March, 2016.

Applications should be sent to:

John Rogers, AISLS, 155 Pine St., Belmont, MA 02478
rogersjohnd [at] aol.com

Click here to generate a printable (pdf) copy of these instructions.