Graduate Research Fellowship Application

Application Information for Academic Year 2024-25

The Wayne Morse Graduate Research Fellows program was established in 2015 to support graduate student research on the Wayne Morse Center’s current theme of inquiry or the priorities of the center’s Program for Democratic Governance as well as research on Wayne Morse as part of the Wayne Morse Monograph series. The Graduate Research Fellows program replaces the Wayne Morse Center’s Dissertation Fellows program.

The $4,000 award will be given to three University of Oregon graduate students each year. Applications are due on Friday, January 12, 2024 at 5pm. The awards are for the 2024-25 academic year.

Research Priorities for 2024-25
The Wayne Morse Center theme for 2024-25 will be “Defending Democracy.

We will explore the crisis of democracy by reckoning with problems and considering solutions. Problems include the attacks on government institutions and the dysfunction of political parties and media. We will ask how to sustain the habits and values of democratic culture: equality as well as freedom, civil dialogue, rule of law, civic engagement, inclusion, and the possibility of shared reality and justice. At a time when rage and polarization threaten to overwhelm the public square, how can we strengthen the shared commitments and build the trust that will sustain our democracy into the future?  

The focus of this theme will be on democracy in the United States but we embrace opportunities to examine comparative and cross-cultural perspectives. Areas of particular interest include:

  • Voting and elections (the role of money and media, reforms to the Electoral College, gerrymandering, and voter suppression)
  • Partisan polarization (the role of religion; racial grievances; rural/urban divisions)
  • Anti-democracy movements and political violence
  • Education for democracy (What should every child and adult know about democracy and how should that knowledge be taught?)

The Center aims to examine these and other questions through visiting scholars and activists, public events, and support for student and faculty research.

Program for Democratic GovernanceThis program focuses on significant political and policy issues in the United States at the national, state, and local levels, as well as global affairs.  Research projects that examine important questions and challenges for American democracy and international relations are strongly encouraged. Possible topic areas include, but are not limited to, income inequality, immigration, religion, terrorism, civil liberties, campaign-finance reform, equal pay, reform of criminal justice, climate change, nuclear proliferation, and human rights.

The Wayne Morse Monograph Series—This series focuses on some aspect of the career of Senator Wayne Morse and the issues that concerned him. Topics could, for example, include his work on education, civil rights, foreign policy, or labor. Projects may also take up public issues that have emerged since Wayne Morse’s death in 1974 but that are in the Wayne Morse tradition.

The Wayne Morse Graduate Research Fellows program is open to all UO graduate students, in any discipline or profession. The award is intended to help with expenses for students writing masters theses or dissertations at the UO and to commission research on Wayne Morse. Applicants must be students during the fellowship year.

Duties and Conditions

  1. Wayne Morse Graduate Research Fellows will conduct research related to the Wayne Morse Center theme, public policy, or Wayne Morse himself, and be interdisciplinary in nature.
  2. Wayne Morse Graduate Research Fellows will participate in the intellectual life of the Wayne Morse Center in appropriate and feasible ways. For example, fellows might participate in a Wayne Morse Center event or assist with hosting a visiting scholar.

Application Process
This year applications will be submitted through an online form. Applications must be written in language accessible to readers from several disciplines and must include the following:

  1. Application information, including abstract.
  2. A narrative description, not to exceed 600 words. Explain how the supported research fits into your thesis or dissertation research and/or how it could be part of the Wayne Morse Monograph series.
  3. Bibliography or citation list, as appropriate (one-page limit)
  4. Curriculum Vita (two-page limit)
  5. Letter of recommendation from your faculty advisor. Please have your advisor send that letter directly to Ellen Herman at

Submit an Application


Applications are due on Friday, January 12, 2024 at 5 pm. Awards will be announced by mid-February 2024.

Selection Committee
The selection committee will be interdisciplinary and drawn from the following Wayne Morse Center positions and committees: the Faculty Codirector and Senior Scholar, Advisory Board, and the steering committee for the theme of inquiry.

Please direct questions to Ellen Herman, Wayne Morse Center Faculty Codirector,