Melissa Mumbach

Funding opportunities for graduate students include distinguished fellowships, field research grants, and awards for the best dissertation.

Distinguished Graduate Fellows Program

The University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas and the Program in Latin American Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences offers a Distinguished Graduate Fellows Program once a year. This initiative provides qualified Ph.D. candidates with a primary focus on Latin America, the Caribbean, or the diasporas of these regions with a tuition waiver and a full graduate stipend (USD 20,000) in exchange for their involvement in the institute's and program's initiatives.

The Distinguished Graduate Fellows meet regularly with the institute's and program's staff to determine their specific responsibilities. Their time commitment is not to exceed 40 hours a month. Students are also assigned a mentor to supervise their independent work when they are not engaged in assigned duties. Application deadlines are published during open calls.


Awards are offered to incoming Ph.D. students or students already enrolled in Ph.D. programs in any department in the College of Arts and Sciences. Students who have already been Distinguished Fellows may reapply, but at least two academic years must have passed between their appointments.

Students must be fluent in Spanish, Portuguese or Haitian Creole and demonstrate a substantial research interest in Latin America, the Caribbean and/or their diasporas.


Please have your advisor separately submit a letter to with the reference line “UMIA Distinguished Fellows Program Recommendation.” 


Field Research Grants for Graduate Students

The University of Miami Institute for the Americas invites graduate students to apply for Field Research Grants to fund student work in all areas of Latin America and the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, as well as the United States when the work pertains to people of Latin American and Caribbean origin.

As early career grants, the Field Research Grants are aimed at helping graduate students at the University of Miami to develop cutting-edge research projects and gain firsthand knowledge of Latin America and the Caribbean. These experiences increase significantly the ability of graduate students to secure external funding for their subsequent research, and are fundamental for the type of engaged scholarly work encouraged by the institute.The goals of these grants are:

  • To offer students an opportunity to acquire a comprehensive knowledge of language, terrain, and culture.
  • To familiarize themselves with information and sources relevant to their studies.
  • To conduct pilot work and preliminary investigations.
  • To develop contacts with scholars and institutions in their fields of study. 



Graduate students from all University of Miami schools, colleges, and departments are welcome to apply. Non-U.S. citizens are also eligible. Citizens of Latin American and Caribbean countries enrolled at the University of Miami can receive awards to conduct research in their home countries provided they have no previous field research experience in that country.

Awards will be made to graduate students pursuing degrees at the master’s, doctoral, and other levels. The goal is to support varied types of introductory and pre-dissertation field research. Doctoral students are welcome to apply, but these grants are not intended for students close to finishing their degrees.

Awards will not exceed USD 2,000 per student. Research trips must be completed and reimbursement processed by a given date. Applications of those students who have not previously received a Tinker or Field Research Grant will be prioritized.

Application Submission

Students must submit a full application using the link below, and request a letter of recommendation from the academic advisor sent directly by the advisor. 

For guidelines on writing proposals for research funding, we suggest Adam Pzreworski and Frank Salomon, On The Art of Writing Proposals (Social Science Research Council, 1995 rev., 1988).  your application will be judged by a committee of faculty from several different disciplines. Pzreworski and Salomon speak to how to write proposals for academically diverse review committees.

We are now accepting applications until March 9th, 2018.



Selection Process

The institute will convene an interdisciplinary committee of faculty with expertise in Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino/a/x Studies from across the University of Miami. The committee will recommend recipients of the award and any adjustments or changes to the proposed budget. Applicants will be notified of the committee's decision in mid-April.

Before departure, awardees will be required to attend an orientation meeting to review the program requirements, University of Miami policies and program rules for spending research funds, and guidelines for reimbursement.

Reporting Requirements

A narrative and financial report of the research trip must be submitted to the institute prior to student reimbursement and within two weeks of concluding the research trip. The narrative report of three pages will include a description of the activities undertaken, research results, and an explanation of the next stages of the research project. A one-page financial report will present a complete account of expended funds.

Upon their return, awardees will additionally be expected to:

  • Submit an abstract for participation in the Annual South Florida Latin American and Caribbean Studies Graduate Student Conference.
  • Present their research results to students and faculty members at a session organized by the institute during the academic year following their fieldwork.
  • Submit abstracts of papers or other materials developed as a result of the award, as well as website links if they are eventually published online. These materials may be featured on the institute's website.
Guidelines for Disbursement

Awarded students must submit travel plans to the university’s Red24 prior to leaving the country or may not be reimbursed for travel. Grant recipients will be reimbursed through UM's standard Electronic Business Expense Reimbursement Form (eBERF) upon their return from the field. Students will be responsible for completing all the necessary paperwork. The insitute's staff will assist them in filing the eBERF if necessary. Original receipts will be required.


Barrett Prize for Best Dissertation

The University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas offers the Barrett Prize, which is awarded to the doctoral student who has produced the best dissertation at the University of Miami in the past year on a topic related to any aspect of Latin America and the Caribbean. The Barrett Prize carries an award amount of USD 1,500. Deadlines for submissions are announced during open calls.



The dissertation must:

  • Have been defended by present or former UM Ph.D. student.
  • Demonstrate substantial and innovative research on Latin America and the Caribbean in any field or discipline across the university.
  • Have been successfully defended between a given date.

The selection committee reserves the right not to award a prize in a given year.

If you have any questions about this program, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Sallie Hughes (


Programming for Doctoral Students

Every Wednesday evening, the institute opens its space for a writing and support group for doctoral students. Likewise, the institute will continue to offer summer field research grants, the Barrett Dissertation Prize and distinguished fellowships. More information about these opportunities is forthcoming.