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MLA Doctoral Fellowship

The MLA Doctoral Fellowship fosters and encourages superior students to conduct doctoral work in an area of health sciences librarianship or information sciences and to provide support to individuals who have been admitted to candidacy. The award supports research or travel applicable to the candidate's study within a twelve-month period. The award and may not be used for tuition.

The fellowship is granted biannually in even-numbered years since 1994. First awarded in 1986, the fellowship was initially sponsored by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), later by Thomson Reuters Intellectual Property & Science and briefly by Clarivate Analytics, a division of Onex Corporation and Baring Private Equity Asia.

Want to improve your chances of receiving this fellowship? Take advantage of the Research Mentoring Program which offers research assistance and advice to all members of MLA. Additionally, review the MLA Research Imperative.  


  • The applicant must be a member of MLA.
  • The applicant must be a graduate of an American Library Association–accredited school of library science or have equivalent graduate credentials in related information science disciplines (i.e., computer science, biomedical informatics).
  • The candidate must be a candidate in a doctoral program with an emphasis on biomedical and health-related information science. Preference will be given to applicants who have at least 75% of their course work completed and dissertation prospectus either approved or in the approval process.
  • The candidate must be a citizen of or have permanent residence status in the United States or Canada.
  • A past recipient of the MLA doctoral fellowship is ineligible.


  • The online application must be completed and all supporting documents uploaded no later than December 1.
  • Two letters of reference are required. One reference must be from the applicant's advisor for the doctoral program in which they are enrolled, and the other must be from a person recognized for special competence or expertise in the proposal field.
  • The candidate is required to submit an informative summary and detailed budget for the doctoral project along with the application.
  • Once the doctoral fellowship is awarded, no changes may be made in budget or plans without prior approval from MLA.
  • The MLA doctoral fellowship will pay $2,000 in one payment toward:
    • project expenses
    • related travel expenses
    • augmenting another larger, separately funded project relevant to health sciences librarianship and which is part of the requirements of a doctoral degree
  • The MLA doctoral fellowship may not be used to pay:
    • tuition fees
    • tuition-related expenses
    • living expenses
  • All publications and oral presentations by the grantee relevant to the project should acknowledge MLA support.
  • The period of disbursement will not exceed two years past the date of the MLA annual meeting at which the award is given.
  • Depending on the qualifications of the candidates, the jury may recommend that the fellowship not be awarded in a given year.
  • MLA will acknowledge applications upon receipt via email.
  • Late and incomplete applications will not be considered.

Submission Checklist

  • Completed application, including the signed statement of terms and conditions.
  • Transcripts of graduate work submitted directly from the institution to MLA or proof of enrollment in the graduate program and a list of courses completed.
  • Name and contact information of doctoral advisor.
  • Updated MLA profile. 
  • Two letters of reference, submitted by the reference directly to MLA (, one from the applicant's advisor. References must include the following information:
    • Applicant's name, position/status, institution, and project summary.
    • Reference name, position, institution, and location.
    • How long and in what capacity the reference has known the applicant?
    • Would reference like their comments held in confidence?
    • An assessment of:
      • the professional merits of the applicant’s proposal, especially its significance and feasibility;
      • the depth of the applicant’s knowledge in the professional area of the proposal;
      • the applicant’s research competence; and
      • the applicant’s personal traits, including the ability to work with colleagues.

Additional Instructions for Proposed Project Documentation

  • In the space provided for the project abstract, furnish a summary of the proposed project and its intended results.
  • Amplify and document in the Statement of the Proposed Research, the purpose, methodology, expected results, and plans for disseminating results. The description should provide the jury with information concerning your depth of knowledge in the field of the proposal and existing published literature. It also should illustrate how the proposed project would advance the current knowledge or practice and how it would contribute conceptually and practically to your professional competence and the well-being of the health sciences library community.
  • Be as specific as possible in the proposed budget. Funds are not available for tuition, course-related expenditures, or equipment. Funds may be used to augment another separately funded project.
  • If travel is part of the project, the proposed itinerary for each trip should specify the institutions to be visited and estimated costs. Travel should be properly justified and reflect careful planning and should include only those institutions that are of real significance to the proposed project.
  • If the project involves a short-term internship in a particular institution or institutions, the willingness of the proposed mentors to cooperate must be verified in writing and included with the application.

Ready to Submit an Application?

  • The fellowship application process is closed.
  • Applications will open next in September 2021.

Fellowship Recipients

  • 2020: Christina Lee Wyles, AHIP
  • 2018: Megan Threats
  • 2016: Emily Vardell
  • 2014: Devon Greyson
  • 2012: Mary E. Piorun, AHIP
  • 2010: Shelagh Genuis
  • 2008: Lorie Kloda
  • 2006: Timothy Hogan
  • 2004: none awarded
  • 2002: none awarded
  • 2000: Christine Marton
  • 1998: Sharon Dezel Jenkins
  • 1996: Gale Hannigan
  • 1994: Mary Moore
  • 1993: Valerie Florance
  • 1992: Gary Byrd, Zoe Stavri
  • 1991: none awarded
  • 1990: Cheryl Dee
  • 1989: none awarded
  • 1988: Beth Paskoff
  • 1987: Joanne Gard Marshall
  • 1986: Ann Weller

Have a question? Contact MLA