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The John R. and Joan B. Gaines Fellowship in the Humanities is a one-of-a-kind undergraduate program designed to enrich the undergraduate experience in the humanities in a culture where science and technology are increasingly dominating. The fellowships are awarded in recognition of an outstanding academic performance, a demonstrated ability to conduct independent research, an interest in public issues, and a desire to enhance understanding of the human condition through the humanities.

Twelve fellowships are awarded for tenure in the junior and senior years (defined as the the last two years of an entire undergraduate program). The Gaines Fellowships carry a stipend of $2,000 in the junior year and $3,000 in the senior year.

All Gaines Fellows are required to take a specially designed, four-credit hour per semester seminar in the humanities during both semesters of the junior year. In addition, each Junior fellow must complete a Jury Project planning and optionally carrying out an improvement to the local community.

In the Senior year, each Fellow must complete a major independent study project (of six to fifteen credit hours). At the conclusion of this project, a thesis paper must be submitted and defended in front of a thesis committee of three University faculty members and the director of the Gaines Center. Senior fellows are eligible for the Clay Lancaster Scholarship (.doc 37k). In late spring, Senior Fellows travel to New York as part of the capstone Gray Art Experience (.doc 29k). Gaines Fellows must participate in all activities of the Gaines Center for the Humanities.


Any student at the University of Kentucky may apply for a Gaines Fellowship. Students in all disciplines and with any intended profession are given equal consideration. Gaines Fellows come from all disciplines, from Art History and English to Biology and Chemical Engineering.

Participation in the Honors Program is not a prerequisite for application! Any undergraduate demonstrating excellence in his or her undergraduate career is encouraged to apply. Applicants must have two years of planned undergraduate study remaining and must have an outstanding academic record (normally measured at a 3.5 GPA or better). Renewal in the senior year will be contingent upon satisfactory academic performance and demonstrated participation in all Gaines Center events.