Center for British Studies Grants

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The Center for British Studies supports graduate work on any topic that requires substantial research in the UK. Applicants need not have Britain as the primary focus of their research, although preference will given to projects concerned with Britain's imperial or transnational influence and impact.

  • The Graduate Travel (Pre-Dissertation) Grant is specifically intended to fund airfare expenses to Britain for UC Berkeley graduate students in their second or third year who have not yet advanced to candidacy. The winner will receive a round-trip ticket to the UK for the purpose of research, to be booked and paid for by the Center.
  • The Dissertation Research Grant in the amount of $2,000 will be awarded to graduate students who have defended their dissertation prospectus to finish research in the UK and aid them in completing their dissertation.


  • Applicants must be registered students at UC Berkeley
  • Applicants will be expected to demonstrate how their proposed research is part of the a broader course of study supervised by a member of the faculty
  • A faculty recommendation is required for these grant opportunities. Faculty must send letters of recommendation directly to with the words “Graduate Travel (Pre-Dissertation) Grant” or “Dissertation Research Grant” in the subject line.

Deadline: March 1

With questions, contact

R. Kirk Underhill Graduate Fellowships in Anglo-American Studies

The Anglo-American Studies Program supports three R. Kirk Underhill Graduate Fellowships of $10,000 each to Berkeley graduate students whose research focuses on Anglo-American affairs, including but not limited to issues involving international relations, politics, history, law, economics, art, language, literature, and culture. Priority will be given to students whose work is centrally concerned with US-UK relations, the Commonwealth of Nations and British colonial history. Students from a broad range of disciplines are urged to apply.

Read more about past R. Kirk Underhill Fellows and their research.


  • Applicants must be registered doctoral students at UC Berkeley
  • Applicants need to submit a Research Proposal (max. 3 pages), Resume (max. 2 pages), and Transcript as one PDF document
  • One faculty recommendation letter is required. Faculty must send letters of recommendation directly to with the words “Underhill Fellowship” in the subject line.

Deadline: March 1

With questions, contact

The Robert Kirk Underhill Trust

Robert Kirk Underhill

Robert Kirk Underhill, CBE (1906 - 1997) was an alumnus of UC Berkeley, graduating in 1928 with a B.S. in Economics. A successful retailer and importer, he founded “The Robert Kirk, Ltd” clothing store in San Francisco in 1939, specializing in imported British menswear. Mr Underhill then served as a Major in the U.S. Air Force during World War II. For a time after the Second World War he was the largest importer of British menswear to the United States. He was a member of the British American Chamber of Commerce, later the British American Business Council.

In addition to being a businessman, Mr Underhill was a generous philanthropist to many causes here and abroad. Reflecting his interest in British institutions and customs he sought to make Americans more aware of them. Among other things, he launched San Francisco's “London Week” in the 1970s and served as chairman and then chairman emeritus of the English Speaking Union in San Francisco, which he had re-established after a short hiatus in the 1970s. He also helped fund the annual “Shakespeare Competition” at Bay Area high schools.

For his service to British industry and to British charitable causes, he was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth II. He was also made a Knight of the Order of St. John, which, among other things supports eye hospitals in the Middle East and St John’s Ambulance elsewhere in the world. The only American member of the “Worshipful Company of Haberdashers” one of the twelve great livery companies (also called guilds), Mr Underhill supported the Haberdasher’s Aske’s Schools in the UK. He also donated to architectural preservation efforts in the UK and to the British Benevolent Society, founded in San Francisco in the Gold Rush era to assist British men and women in California who are in financial distress.

His philanthropic objectives in this country also reflected his dedication to education at the elementary, secondary and university level. At UC Berkeley he founded the “Incentive Awards” to provide full tuition for four years to high-achieving students with financial need who are of graduates of certain high schools in San Francisco and Richmond, California. Furthering his interest in Britain and the United States, Mr Underhill for many years provided funding for students from UC Berkeley, Stanford and other Northern California universities to attend Oxford or Cambridge for a year. He also provided funding for graduate students from Oxford or Cambridge to attend UC Berkeley for a year. It is little known but among his other gifts to the University, Mr Underhill provided funds to purchase additional bells for the Campanile that made it a complete carillon.

In 2003 the Robert Kirk Underhill Trust provided funding the Center for British Studies at UC Berkeley. The Center continues Mr Underhill's legacy by supporting scholarly research and educational initiatives focused on British culture, society and history. Later the trustees of the Anglo-California Foundation, previously established by Mr Underhill to allow him to make gifts anonymously, provided funds to establish the Anglo-American Studies Program of which the Underhill Lecture is a part.