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Forsyth Visiting Graduate Student Fellowship

Application period is now open for the 2024-2025 Forsyth Visiting Graduate Student Fellowship program! Please note the new due date of December 15th, 2023.


The Forsyth Visiting Graduate Student Fellowship received a $2.5 million endowment from Ilene Forsyth in 2021. This fellowship provides up to three Master's and PhD students, located at any university in the world, financial support to join our Tappan community for an academic year of study, writing, and interaction. Our cohort members will each receive a stipend equivalent to the current GSI rate for the academic year (roughly September 1 to April 30).



This program seeks to enhance the global reputation and influence of the Department of the History of Art at the University of Michigan and further enrich the department’s academic community. Specifically, the program offers:

  • Master's and PhD students, enrolled at other universities, including those outside the United States, opportunities to study in the History of Art Department, to avail themselves of faculty expertise and scholarly resources at the University of Michigan, and to engage with other students and scholars on campus.
  • Our department the opportunity to identify and proactively recruit Master's students, especially those of diverse backgrounds and fields of expertise, to join the department’s academic community.
  • History of Art faculty and graduate students the opportunity to build and sustain close professional relationships with graduate students, colleagues, and departments around the country and the world, in both the short and long term.



Program Overview

The Department of the History of Art invites graduate students specializing in all subfields and periods of art history enrolled in M.A./M.Phil./PhD degree-granting programs in art history or closely related fields at U.S. or international universities to spend one full academic year at Michigan as visiting graduate students.


Application Process

Part 1: All materials should be saved and submitted as a single PDF to the History of Art Graduate Coordinator ( with the subject "Forsyth Visiting Graduate Student Application" 

  • Cover letter explaining the reasons why they wish to spend a year in Ann Arbor, what they hope to accomplish while in residence, the name(s) of History of Art faculty with whom they wish to work, types of courses that they might benefit from taking at the University of Michigan (both within and outside of History of Art), and other opportunities at UM from which they hope to gain experience. 
  • University of Michigan application form
  • Transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended
  • Up-to-date CV

Part 2: These materials must be sent directly to by the faculty member: 

  • A letter of recommendation from a faculty advisor at their home institution.
  • A letter from the program chair/director at their home institution consenting to a year of extramural study at UM. This letter will certify that the prospective student is in good academic standing and has permission to travel to Ann Arbor for one academic year if offered a Forsyth Visiting Graduate Student Fellowship.
  • A letter or email of support from a UM History of Art faculty member, stating their willingness to serve as the visiting graduate student’s mentor while they are based in Ann Arbor, along with the reasons for support and how the faculty member envisions the visiting student's work contributing to the department. 



Prospective students who wish to begin their residency in Ann Arbor in September must submit a complete application (both Part 1 and Part 2) by December 15. They will be informed of the department's decision in writing by February 15 and will be requested to notify the department of their plans by March 1.



The Forsyth Visiting Graduate Student will receive financial support in the amount of the current GSI funding for an academic year (approximately September 1 to April 30, currently $25,980) as well as reimbursement for travel expenses from their point of departure to Ann Arbor of up to $1,250 for domestic travel or $2,500 for international travel.

The fellowship is not designed to cover health insurance. Instead, the expectation is that students will remain under their home institution’s insurance coverage; however, international students are required to have health insurance, more details are provided below, under “Services.” Visiting students will be given an Mcard, borrowing privileges from the University Library, a computing account, and a carrel in the Fine Arts Library. For international students, History of Art will contact the International Center to obtain a DS-2019 request for a J-1 exchange visitor visa. It's also a possibility that up to $5,000 can be made available to support research and conference travel, with advisor approval, during the period of the fellowship.


Expectations of Forsyth Visiting Graduate Students

Students are expected to spend most of their time in residence in Ann Arbor, to participate in departmental life and events, and to avail themselves of scholarly opportunities and resources on campus. We encourage all Visiting Graduate Students to participate in the History of Art 615 seminar during the year. They may also be invited to present a talk on their research or participate in various events, such as workshops or conferences. Additionally, students are expected to remain in good academic standing and will be solely responsible for meeting their home institution’s degree requirements. Beyond what is offered by the department, students are expected to bear all other costs of their travel and stay in Ann Arbor.


University Policies

In general, the department, supervising faculty member(s), and visiting graduate students must adhere to policies set forth by the university’s Office of Academic Human Resources (click here and here for more information). In accordance with the university’s policies, visiting graduate students will be allowed to spend one academic year in Ann Arbor. During this period, and with the consent of the concerned course instructor(s), they will be allowed to informally attend classes and seminars at the University of Michigan. Per university policy, no grades, academic credits, or transcripts will be issued.


  • University ID Card: Visiting Graduate Students are issued an official University of Michigan identification card (Mcard). This photo identification card is required of all members of the University community, and must be presented for access to services listed below. Visitors may pick up their Mcard at one of several ID Issuing Stations on campus.
  • Library: Visiting Graduate Students are granted full access to the University Library, including borrowing services. Fees are charged for copying and printing services. For more information, see University Library Services.
  • Computing Account: The University’s Information Technology Central Services (ITCS) maintains computing accounts, including e-mail and other access to the University’s online resources. A uniqname and password must be assigned for access. The uniqname is assigned when a Visiting Graduate Student is credentialed. Visitors should talk to a staff member in their sponsoring unit about arrangements for computing services. In some cases, access to these services will be handled within the department; otherwise, individuals will be directed to the ITCS Accounts Office.
  • Laboratory and Other Research Facilities: Access to laboratory or other research facilities requires the advance permission of the sponsoring department, program or other University unit.
  • Office Space: Use of an office or access to any support services is wholly at the discretion of the sponsoring University unit. In general, office space on campus is extremely limited.
  • Classes: With permission of the instructor, visiting graduate students may informally attend classes or seminars. No grades, credits, or transcripts will be issued.
  • Housing: Visitors are responsible for their own housing arrangements during their stay. The sponsoring unit may provide information or other assistance. University Housing maintains a listing of rental housing available in the Ann Arbor area.
  • Recreation Facilities: For access to exercise and recreation facilities, visitors may purchase passes to the Central or North Campus Recreation Buildings. For more information, see Recreational Sports.
  • Parking and Transportation: Campus and city buses are free with the University ID card. On-campus parking is limited, but visiting graduate students may purchase a parking permit depending on availability and at the discretion of the University’s Logistics, Transportation, and Parking Services.
  • Health Services: All visitors are expected to have health insurance. International students/scholars are automatically provided with health insurance that is charged to your student account at the current monthly rate. Domestic students would need to either purchase health insurance on their own or work with their home university to acquire health insurance. University Health Service (UHS) provides a comprehensive outpatient facility that provides a full range of medical services. Note: The conditions of this status are subject to change without notice, and may be canceled at the discretion of the University, consistent with University policy and practice.