Frequently Asked Questions

Q.  What kinds of interdisciplinary projects does IHUM support?

A.  A strong proposal will demonstrate why the project requires intellectual and disciplinary resources beyond those available within the parameters of the home discipline and additional time for training and research.  Because candidates accepted to the program receive a year of fellowship support, a strong proposal will also outline a program of study to be undertaken in the fourth year through which these additional resources will be accessed and activated (e.g., through course work, at Princeton or elsewhere; independent research; or other kinds of training, for example, in one of the arts or sciences).  We recognize that while some projects may benefit from training within the boundaries of another traditional discipline, others may require a tailored mix of new methodologies and research areas.  We encourage applicants to devise a fourth-year plan that will be maximally responsive to the problem at the heart of their dissertation, while recognizing that interdisciplinary training will extend over the dissertation-writing process.  We are also especially interested in projects that find a way of addressing questions of theory and practice.  We take seriously the contribution to understanding of doing what you write about—whether that it philosophy, or music, or biology—and welcome proposals that demonstrate an engagement with form as well as with content.

Q.  Imaginative and resourceful as it is, I am not sure if my dissertation is particularly interdisciplinary.  Should I apply?

A. IHUM works with an expansive notion of interdisciplinarity.  If you work between two or more disciplines or between an academic field and a creative practice (filmmaking, art, creative writing, music, theater, etc.), you should apply to the program.  The best way to get a sense of its scope is to enroll in a program seminar and/or to attend IHUM events or speak with current IHUM students.  We also hold an open house each December to provide information about the program, answer questions, and give interested students the opportunity to talk to our faculty and students.

Q.  What should I submit as a writing sample?

A.  The writing sample should ideally reflect your interdisciplinary interests, but most important is that you show us your best work. If you submit a course paper, for example, in which those interests are latent, your application essay should help us see how they will develop. We also accept more journalistic or creative pieces, as long as they give us a sense of you as a thinker and writer. We would rather not receive dissertation proposals as writing samples.  

Q.  Who can apply to the program?

A.  The program is open to students already pursuing the PhD in one of the eligible departments or programs, but all enrolled graduate students at the University are very welcome to take our seminars, attend our events, and initiate reading groups. We also encourage faculty members across the university to participate in our events. 

Q.  When do students take the IHUM fellowship year?

A.  The purpose of the fellowship year is to provide time for exploration, and exploration is best undertaken early in the dissertation process. The fellowship technically supports the fourth year of study, but students may want to begin their interdisciplinary researches as early as the summer following the third year. For students in Anthropology and Sociology, the fellowship year may fall in the third year, prior to and/or concurrent with fieldwork. One year of the student’s regular graduate fellowship is deferred until the sixth year, for six years total of full support.

Q.  Are students in IHUM still eligible for other fellowships at Princeton?

A. Students in IHUM remain eligible for the University’s Honorific Fellowships (Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellowship, Harold W. Dodds Fellowships, and Charlotte Elizabeth Proctor Fellowships), as well as the Hyde Fellowships.  But because an IHUM Fellowship requires a commitment to participate in workshops and events, it generally precludes holding fellowships awarded by other programs and centers at Princeton.

Q.  Does an IHUM fellowship provide support for tuition, travel, or other research expenses?

A. In addition to another year of fellowship support, IHUM also provides a small research and travel stipend in each of the three years students are enrolled in the degree program.

Q.  What other events or initiatives does IHUM support on campus?

A. We co-sponsor a range of conferences (organized by students and/or faculty), lectures, performances, exhibits, and other events across campus, particularly those that foster interdisciplinarity. We also offer a range of graduate courses co-taught by members of the IHUM Executive Committee and IHUM Faculty Affiliates.