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GISC Graduate Student Fellowship

The Global Islamic Studies Center (GISC) welcomes proposals from U-M graduate students for research, language learning, and conference engagements. Funds may be used to pursue individual research projects domestically and internationally, or to attend/present research for a conference, workshop, or course that explores topics in Islam and Muslim communities (this includes language learning courses).  Awards of up to $2000 are granted, depending on the number and character of successful proposals. Awards are disbursed on a rolling basis with a final submission date of April 29, 2022. Students who are awarded Graduate Funding are required to complete a short 1,000-word fellowship report after their travel/research. 

The application deadline is rolling with a final submission date on Friday, April 29, 2022.

All fellowship application materials must be received by the GISC office before or on Friday, April 29, 2022. Submit your complete application materials to

All students currently enrolled at the University of Michigan (U-M) in a graduate/professional degree program (master's or doctoral level) are eligible to apply. 

The GISC Graduate Fellowship Funding may be used for the following:

  • Language training - to offset costs of program fees for language learning.
  • Research support - to offset costs for an original project supporting Senior, Master’s, or Doctoral thesis completion.
  • Travel expenses - associated with conducting original research, language training, attending conferences or workshops. Please see important travel policy guidelines at the end of this page.

Awards are typically announced 1-2 weeks after application submission, by email, on a rolling basis. The final submission date is on Friday, April 29, 2022, all applicants must submit their application before the deadline in order to be considered for 2022 Graduate funding. 

*Due two weeks after project completion*

Students who are awarded Graduate Funding are required to complete a short 1,000-word fellowship report summarizing their activities to be shared in the GISC News & Events Newsletter. Reports are due two weeks after research/travel completion. Please review the report requirements here before submission.  

All application materials should be submitted to Reports should be submitted two weeks after research/travel completion to

The following application materials are required of all applicants. Please read the instructions carefully.

  • GISC Graduate Student Fellowship Funding Application
  • Statement of Purpose: No more than 1,000 words describing what you plan to do with the GISC Graduate Student Fellowship Funding.
  • Budget Statement: Please attach a budget statement with exact costs (e.g., tuition statements), or reasonable estimates of costs citing 2-3 references (e.g., airline tickets, rental estimates, etc.). Please also include anticipated costs and all sources of support (pending and confirmed)
    • You may request tuition and mandatory fees, health insurance, living costs, direct research expenses (such as books, photocopy, small equipment, library and museum fees, and subject fees) as well as travel expenses related to your language study (such as airfare, ground transportation, and lodging).
    • Computers, including laptops, are not allowed.
    • If you are requesting living costs, please provide an estimate of rent, utilities, and food.
    • If you are requesting direct research expenses or travel expenses, please give a detailed breakdown.
    • Please note that if your fellowship project involves travel outside of North America, you are required to purchase international travel health insurance. Please include the cost of this insurance in your budget.
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV): Your up-to-date CV.
  • Current U-M Official Transcript: You may include a signed note granting permission to the GISC staff to access electronically your current U-M transcript and to place a copy in your fellowship application file. If you choose NOT to do so, you must submit a current official U-M electronic transcript. To be considered official, transcripts must be prepared by the office of the registrar.

We expect applicants will also explore other sources of support, where appropriate. Successful applicants will be asked to submit a project description for the GISC website and annual report; a final report is expected as a condition of future support.

Successful proposals have demonstrated long-term scholarly impact, shown educational value for graduate or undergraduate support, contributed to the broader mission of GISC, and leveraged other sources of support. Funds may be requested for pilot projects or to supplement existing projects. GISC reviews funding requests on a rolling basis. Please submit all materials to

2020-21 Graduate Summer Fellowship Awardees

See how the 2021 fellows used their fellowship fund in greater detail here

Arighna Gupta, PhD candidate at the Department of History, for research on ​​Islam at Imperial Frontiers: People’s Sovereignty in South Asia in London at the British Library. 

Chantal Croteau, PhD candidate in Sociocultural Anthropology, for digital research on the subtle dynamics of intercommunal relations in southern Thailand through a focus on local practices of history-telling and the verbal, sensorial, and embodied ways that histories are shared, remembered, and elided. 

Chao Ren, PhD candidate in History, for research examining the colonial legal configurations of multinational corporations in the colonial resource frontier in Southeast and South Asia around the turn of the twentieth century.

Kamal Gasimov, PhD candidate at the Department of Middle East Studies, for virtual research in Egypt and Turkey on the relationship between mystical ethics and Islamic law. 

Matthew Hiller, PhD candidate at the School of Social Work and Anthropology, for summer classes on Islamic history and theology at Al-Hujjah Islamic Seminary & the Muslim Unity Center in preparation for future ethnographic research on the intersections between devotional healing and psychiatry in Southeast India. 

Omar Masood, dual degree student, pursuing a Master's in Public Policy and Master’s in International and Regional Studies (MIRS) Islamic studies specialization, for language learning at Sijal Institute, in Amman, Jordan, which will enhance his research on education as a humanitarian intervention to help Syrian refugees resettled in Jordan. 

Razi Jafri, MFA candidate at the Stamps School of Art + Design, for research and interviews for his documentary ‘Isle of Refuge’  which explores the lives of a small group of Yemeni refugees who arrived in South Korea in 2018 after fleeing a violent civil war. 

Salman A. Hussain, PhD candidate Anthropology and History Departments. For research investigating the social lives of Pakistani migrants to the Arab Gulf in Sahiwal, a small city in Punjab, Pakistan. 

Saquib Ali Usman, PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology, for research on how blindness and sight become signs of social difference in Dali Gimba, Mauritania, as well as the Qur’anic Water Divination in the Mauritanian Sahel. 

Shahla Farghadani, PhD candidate in the Department of Middle East Studies, for research on the history and literary historiography of the Persianate world, examining the late seventeenth-century Persian manuscripts in London, France, and Italy.

Yehia Mekawi, PhD candidate in Political Science, specializing in Comparative Politics, for French language learning at the Middlebury Summer Language Program, that will assist his research on how state-led efforts impose centralized institutions onto Muslim communities in European states and the consequences of institutionalization, anti-Muslim discrimination, and political representation for Muslim minority populations. 

Zayd Elkahlah, MA in International and Regional Studies (MIRS) with an Islamic studies specialization, for Russian language learning that will assist research on Modern Salafism’s connection to Pan-Arabness and examining the experiences of Russian-speaking Muslims who joined Salafist groups. 


2019-20 Graduate Student Research and Conference Travel Grants

Samet Budak, PhD Middle East Studies, for research in manuscript collections in Turkey, aiming to support his research on the Islamic world’s connections with Byzantium and Renaissance Italy in the 15th century.

Moniek Van Rheenen, PhD, Anthropology, for research on alternative birthing practices among Indonesian Muslim Women and Qur'anic interpretations of natural childbirth.

2018-19 Graduate Student Research and Conference Travel Grants

Sahin Acikgoz, PhD Comparative Literature, for research on the history of authoritarianism and resistance to civil democracy in Turkey.

Andy Buschmann, PhD Political Science, for research on Myanmar, specifically to conduct the Myanmar Political participation survey.

Chantal Croteau, PhD Sociocultural Anthropology, for research on Thailand, specifically to conduct fieldwork in Phang Nga.

Albert Hawks, PhD Sociology, for research on Islamic minorities in East Asia, particularly focusing on Shanghai, China.

Salman Hussain, PhD Anthropology and History, for research on Punjab, Pakistan, specifically on the gendered impact of migrations to the Arabian Gulf.

Brittany Puller, PhD Student Asian Languages and Cultures, for archival research in India.

2017-18 Graduate Student Research and Conference Travel Grants

Maja Babic, PhD Architecture, for research on citizens of Skopje to inquire about Yugoslav identity, Ottoman heritage, and Albanian Muslims.

Ashley Dimming, PhD History of Art, to present at the College Art Association Annual Conference on 19th Century Ottoman Fabric and Architecture.

2016-17 Graduate Student Research and Conference Travel Grants

Layan Charara, JD Law, to study inclusive social development in Arab and Muslim societies, specifically disabled and marginalized peoples in Beirut, Lebanon.

Matthew Schissler, PhD Anthropology, to present on anti-Muslim violence at the Biennial Burma Studies Conference. 

2015-16 Graduate Student Research and Conference Travel Grants

Sahin Acikgoz, PhD Comparative Literature, for research on the use of Islamic discourse in the self-representations of gendered and sexualized subalterns in Turkey.

Roxana Maria Aras, PhD Anthropology & History, to research olfactive religious rituals of Sunni Muslims and Rum Orthodox, particularly focusing on the usage of bukhūr, in Beirut, Lebanon.

Maja Babic, PhD Architecture, to research the relationship between architecture and politics in the former Yugoslav successor states in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Belgrade, Serbia.

Niloufar Emami, PhD Architecture, to research geometric patterns in Islamic architecture at Hakim Mosque in Isfahan, Iran.

Angubeen Gul Khan, MPH Health Behavior & Health Education, to support a pilot study assessing the reproductive health needs of Muslim immigrant and Muslim-American survivors of intimate partner violence at the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services in Dearborn, Michigan.

Matthew Schissler, PhD Anthropology, to conduct archival research on the history of anti-Muslim violence in Burma in London, England.

2014-15 Graduate Student Research and Conference Travel Grants

Jonathan Brack, PhD History, to participate in a panel about the Mongols’ conversion to Islam at the Iranian Studies Conference.

Ashley Dimmig, PhD History of Art, to attend the College Art Association Conference.

Paige Milligan, PhD Near Eastern Studies, to study classical Arabic and Morisco texts in Amman, Jordan.

Chanon (Kenji) Praepipatmongkol, PhD History of Art, to attend the South-South Axes of Global Art Conference.

Elizabeth Young, PhD Sociology, to travel to Tunisia to research the relationship between Islam and national identity following the revolution.

2013-14 Graduate Student Research and Conference Travel Grants

Dustin Gamza, PhD Political Science, to present the paper "Repressing the Nation: Religious Repression, Islam, and Political Identity in Central Asia" at the annual conference of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies.

Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, all travel must follow current guidelines, which are detailed in the International Institute Travel Policy.

Any student who receives funding from a U-M unit for their travel abroad must follow the directives of the U-M International Travel Policy and the specified guidelines regarding U-M Travel Warning and Restriction locations. Please visit Global Michigan to check the current travel designation for the destination country. Approval MUST be received from The International Oversight Committee (ITOC) prior to departure to a destination on the U-M Travel Warning or medium risk list. Travel to a restricted or high risk destination is prohibited for undergraduate students. Steps for completing requirements are outlined in the Flowchart for Travel and Safety Plans.