How it Works

The 5+1 program allows students to spend their final graduate school years focused on their crowning educational achievement—the dissertation. Once it is complete, they can devote a postdoctoral year to professional development that will enhance their competitiveness for jobs both inside and outside the academy.

Hesburgh Library Andrew Klein English Grad Student Crop

Under the new program, any current or future graduate student in the College who completes the requirements of his or her Ph.D. program within five years is guaranteed a one-year postdoctoral fellowship, with a salary, full benefits and access to professional development funds. 

  • The 5+1 Fellowship is a 9-month appointment that runs August–May (except for students completing at midyear).
  • To qualify, a student must complete all requirements for the degree by August 1 before what would otherwise be the 11th semester of graduate study. (This means the dissertation defense should be scheduled by the end of July, and the student must satisfy all submission requirements, including submitting the final version of the dissertation to the Graduate School, by August 1.) 
  • A student who has missed a semester because of a leave of absence must complete all degree requirements before the Graduate School's deadline for January graduation (in 2016: defense by November 28, submission by December 5). The student will then qualify for a two-semester postdoctoral fellowship the following spring and fall semesters. The 5+1 fellowship does not extend over the summer.
  • A student who completes the degree requirements after the start of the sixth year may qualify for a postdoc for the remainder of the sixth academic year. Partial postdocs will be awarded at the discretion of the College. 
  • Fifth-year students should remain in close contact with their directors of graduate study in the semester before defending the dissertation. If they expect to qualify for the 5+1 postdoc, they should arrange teaching assignments and apply for professional internships well before the start of the fellowship.
  • The 5+1 Fellowship appointment must include instruction in some capacity for at least one semester during their appointment. The teaching load can be no more than 2 courses per year and must be at the University of Notre Dame or at a pre-approved affiliate University or local program.
  • Potential fellows will sign a Letter of Intent outlining the requirements for application to and participation in the 5+1 program.
  • Fellows seeking professional internships should apply by March of the year before the fellowship starts. Internships are competitive and a placement is not guaranteed. Students may apply for existing openings or propose their own placements.