RBS-UVA Fellowship Program

Thanks to a generous grant made possible by The Jefferson Trust, an initiative of the UVA Alumni Association, Rare Book School invites students at the University of Virginia to apply for a fellowship designed to enhance UVA student research employing special collections, including written, printed, and born-digital materials.

The RBS-UVA Fellowship Program provides UVA undergraduate and graduate students with scholarships to attend RBS’s celebrated courses on the history of books and printing—classes that are not available through UVA course offerings. The program introduces fellows and their faculty sponsors to visiting peers and professionals in a dynamic environment that fosters hands-on collaborative research and interdisciplinary learning. The RBS-UVA Fellowship Program not only provides fellows with new tools and methods for engaging with primary source materials, it also publishes the scholarship of its participants (via the RBS website), thereby providing other students with aspirational models of scholarly work and intellectual achievement.

A brochure for the RBS-UVA Fellowship Program is available for download here.

Financial Support

Fellows attend a course at RBS for free (tuition is currently $1,395 or $1,495, depending on the course) and receive a $250 stipend. In addition, the program will award a $500 prize to the most distinguished project from each cohort.

RBS-UVA Fellowship Program Activities

Undergraduate and graduate students attend seminars at RBS that directly inform year-long projects (viz., a Distinguished Majors thesis, a scholarly article, a dissertation chapter, a conference paper, a public exhibit) that they are undertaking. Once accepted to the program, Fellows:

  • prepare readings for the RBS course to which they have been accepted
  • attend an RBS course offered during 2020 (most RBS courses are offered at UVA in June and July)

During their year in the program, fellows will continue to participate in the program, through:

  • visits to RBS and consultation with RBS faculty and staff during the conduct of their research
  • the submission of final projects (due by 20 April 2021) for the RBS website
  • the program’s annual forum and awards luncheon
  • the completion of a year-end evaluation of the program
Emma Whittington, recipient of the 2011–12 RBS-UVA Fellowship Project Award, at the 2012 Fellowship Luncheon. Read Emma's testimonial about the Fellowship. (Photo by Dan Addison)

Emma Whittington, recipient of the 2011–12 RBS-UVA Fellowship Project Award, at the 2012 Fellowship Luncheon. Read Emma’s testimonial about the Fellowship.
(Photo by Dan Addison)

Application Process

Applications are due no later than 16 March 2020. To apply to the program, students must:

  1. complete a standard RBS course application via our applications page (submission by 17 February is encouraged as courses fill quickly)
  2. submit the following materials to rbsuvafellowship@virginia.edu:
    • a short essay proposing how an RBS course offered in 2020 will substantially inform a project (viz. an article, an honor’s thesis, a dissertation chapter, a conference paper)
    • a confidential letter of recommendation from a UVA faculty member who has agreed to sponsor the project; please have recommenders email their letter to rbsuvafellowship@virginia.edu or send a hard copy to:

      Rare Book School
      Attn: RBS-UVA Fellowship Committee
      2023 Ivy Road
      Charlottesville, VA 22903

    • a c.v.
    • an application coversheet (PDF). Use Adobe Reader to fill out and sign this form. (The Mac Preview application will not fill out this form correctly.) Once you have the form saved to your desktop and open with Adobe Reader, click “Sign” to fill out the form. Click on “Place Signature” to sign the document, and then click “Done Signing” to finalize the document. Finally, click on the “Send Signed Document” button to submit the form to us.


Candidates apply to the program during the spring semester. To be eligible for the program, candidates must gain admission to an RBS course, and they must be enrolled at UVA through the spring of the following academic year (e.g., a third-year UVA undergraduate applying in spring 2020 would attend a course at RBS in the summer of 2020, complete a project during the semesters spanning fall 2020 and spring 2021, and submit a final project in April 2021). Students cannot apply to the program during the same academic year in which they are graduating.

Calendar for Applicants to the 2020–21 RBS-UVA Fellowship Program

6 February 2020: Information Reception (10 a.m.–1 p.m.; South Gallery, Harrison/Small Special Collections Library)
13 February 2020: Project Proposal Workshop (4–6 p.m.; South Gallery, Harrison/Small Special Collections Library)
16 March 2020: Application Deadline (5 p.m.)

Accepted applicants will attend a week-long RBS course in 2020, and will submit a final project to RBS for online publication by 20 April 2021.

The Fellows

The RBS-UVA Fellowship Program began in 2011. Select a year below to see the fellows from that year and view the winning projects: