William Barton Graduate Scholarship

The American Heraldry Society offers the William Barton Graduate Scholarship in an amount up to $1,500 to support masters or doctoral students in the preparation and completion of a thesis, dissertation, or equivalent degree capstone project relevant to the use of heraldry--coats of arms, seals, badges, and related symbols--within the present territory of the United States of America and its territories and possessions. Not more than one scholarship is awarded each academic year; the amount awarded will be based on the costs expected to be incurred in research and writing of the thesis. Recipients are expected to acknowledge the American Heraldry Society in any public presentations and publications resulting from work supported by this scholarship.

The scholarship is given in honor of William Barton (1754-1817), a lawyer and public official from Philadelphia who was not only instrumental in the design of the great seal and coat of arms of the United States but played a pioneering role in developing and articulating a theory of the role of heraldry in the American republic.


Doctoral and masters students in any field at an accredited college or university are eligible for this award, provided that the project is relevant to the study of heraldry in the United States. Disciplines in which such a project might be undertaken include but are not limited to:

  • History
  • Literature
  • Law
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology
  • Political science/government
  • Archaeology
  • Art history
  • Architecture and design
  • Communication studies

Students may apply for the scholarship at any time once they have reached the stage of active preparation of the thesis prospectus. For masters students, this will typically be in or after the second semester of graduate study. Doctoral students will normally be in or have finished their last semester of coursework, generally at the end of the second year of study.

Applications will be accepted annually with a deadline of July 31. Applicants will be notified of the committee’s decision in writing not later than August 31. The prospective awardee will have until September 30 to respond in writing declaring his or her intention to accept the scholarship.  

Application Instructions

Students wishing to be considered for the William Barton Scholarship should apply via e-mail to the Society’s Director of Education, Philip Blanton, at education@americanheraldry.org.

The application should include:

1. A cover sheet stating:

  • Student name
  • Degree-granting institution
  • Program of study
  • Degree sought
  • Year of expected degree award
  • Email address
  • Amount requested ($1,500 maximum)
  • Research/project title or topic
  • Any other outside funding that has been requested or granted and the source(s)
  • Advisor name and contact information

2. A description of the research project, not exceeding 750 words.

  • The description should present the conception, definition and organization of the work and plan to carry it out. Include information about sources used, the research thesis, and the interpretive stance of the research. Ensure that the description makes clear both the relevance of the project to the field of heraldry as well as its significance within the discipline in which the degree is sought.
  • Summarize any progress to date, such as an outline, research already completed, or chapters already drafted.
  • Describe any previous studies and research experience related to the project.
  • The description of the project should be in plain language, free of jargon. Remember that the committee reviewing the application is unlikely to include specialists in the applicant’s particular academic discipline.

3. An itemized budget listing estimated expenses and the total amount of funding being requested, up to $1,500. Allowable costs are those specifically related to the preparation of the thesis, including:

  • Travel for well-defined research, creative and/or field work, using the least expensive mode of transportation and accommodation. Airfares must be for economy class travel. Meals, lodging, and incidental expenses should be listed separately.
  • Acquisition of research materials unavailable locally.
  • Supplies beyond what would be considered normal and customary.
  • Rental or purchase of special equipment related to the research.

Non-allowable costs include tuition fees and travel to symposia, conferences, etc., other than those directly related to the project. Expenditures incurred prior to submission of the application will be reimbursed only in exceptional circumstances.

The budget will also include a statement of previous or current support for the thesis from other sources.

4. A one-page curriculum vitae.

5. An unofficial academic transcript.

6. A letter of recommendation from the thesis advisor, including a statement that the topic chosen has been or is likely to be approved by the applicant’s department.