BRASA announces the 2015 Brazilian Initiation Scholarship Competition (BIS)

The Brazilian Initiation Scholarship (BIS) is a key component of BRASA’s agenda to expand Brazilian Studies in the United States. BRASA invites applications from graduate and undergraduate students for a one-time $1,500 travel scholarship to do exploratory research in Brazil. This scholarship targets aspiring Brazilianists with relatively little or no experience in Brazil. It seeks to contribute to the student’s initial trip (for a period from six weeks to three months), to heighten the student’s interest in Brazil, and deepen his/her commitment to Brazilian studies in the United States. Students are encouraged to combine this scholarship with other grants or awards.

Eligibility: Proposals for the BIS will be reviewed according to the following criteria

Highest priority will be given to applicants who are outstanding college seniors, recent college graduates applying to graduate programs in Brazilian studies or in Latin American studies with the intent of focusing on Brazil, or new graduate students already focusing on Brazil. Students from all disciplines in the humanities and social sciences are eligible. In exceptional cases, applications from the natural sciences will be given consideration (for example, someone in environmental sciences who is writing a dissertation on the Amazon or pollution in São Paulo and who plans to continue research on Brazil).

Preference will be given to those applicants who have little or no in-country experience in Brazil. A student requesting funding to undertake an exploratory research trip should present evidence at the time of the application that he/she has achieved at least an intermediate level of competence in the Portuguese language sufficient to carry out the proposed research. Successful applicants may combine BIS with other grants, scholarships, or awards, as long as he/she specifies clearly how the funds are going to be spent (for example, the BRASA scholarship might be used to cover travel costs, while a grant from another source could be used for living expenses, etc.). Applicants are required to be BRASA members at the time of submission.

Application Process: A complete application will include the following documents

  • The application cover sheet (download form)
  • Proof of BRASA membership
  • A two-page prospectus, including your research agenda (double spaced, 12-point font)
  • A two-page bibliography on the subject of study (list of references)
  • A budget specifying how the $1500 will be spent
  • A two-page résumé or CV
  • Electronic copies of undergraduate and graduate transcripts
  • Evidence of Portuguese proficiency on intermediate level - (This can be demonstrated by a transcript or a letter from a university instructor of Portuguese)
  • A letter of intent to study Brazil in graduate school, in the case of undergraduates or recent college graduates
  • Two letters of recommendation from professors

All documents must be submitted to in the subject line of the email, please include the applicant full name and the sentence "BIS 2014 application" (e.g. Mary Smith - BIS 2015 application).

Professors can email the letters of recommendation directly to BRASA at In the subject line of the email, please include the applicant full name and the sentence "BIS 2015 Application" (e.g. Mary Smith - BIS 2014 Application).

Partial applications or applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

Evaluation Criteria and Selection Process

In order to be considered for the scholarship, the two-page prospectus should:(1) Clearly and coherently outline the project’s engagement with Brazil; (2) Demonstrate as precisely as possible the feasibility of the proposed exploratory research project and how it will contribute to the student’s academic development; (3) Briefly discuss the role the work undertaken in Brazil will play in shaping the applicant’s future course of academic study (for instance, it could be the seed project for a larger grant application, provide the basis of a paper prepared for presentation at a BRASA conference, or serve as the foundation for future research on Brazil).


Upon completion of the research experience in Brazil, recipients are required to file a two-page, double-spaced report with the BRASA Executive Director summarizing their activities and identifying relevant academic outcomes. In addition, a statement accounting for the expenditure of funds must be sent to the BRASA Executive Director. Following completion of studies in Brazil, BRASA strongly encourages recipients to participate in a subsequent BRASA congress in order to report on their activities.

Deadline for application: November 15, 2014

Awards will be announced by February 1st, 2015. To submit a proposal and for all other correspondence regarding this award, contact, the BRASA Research assistants at

Thank you for an Excellent BRASA XII Congress!

BRASA XII was a wonderful success! Thanks to King's College for hosting and to all the participants who made it such an engaging conference. Here are a few numbers about the conference:

  • 811 registered participants
  • 194 sessions
  • 9 time slots for presentations
  • 23 different rooms for presentations

Thanks again to all the attendees and a special thank you to the volunteers at King's from showing the way to all of these different rooms!

We hope to see everyone at BRASA XIII at Brown University in 2016!


BRASA dues cover two calendar years, January - December. To check your membership category and join BRASA please visit the BRASA Enrollment Portal at