Graduate Fellows Program

The Graduate Fellows Program was founded in 2013 by graduate and professional students throughout the University of Pennsylvania, all of whom were united by an interest in bringing their respective disciplines into dialogue with the humanistic and Christian intellectual traditions.  The principal features of the program are as follows:

1) Monthly Reading Colloquia

In the spirit of the Catholic intellectual tradition, the monthly reading colloquia cultivate an ongoing conversation about the Christian tradition and modern scholarship at Penn. They present opportunities for graduate students to delve together into foundational, canonical texts, which in turn are harmonized with various disciplines of the modern academy in order to facilitate a fellow’s deeper engagement with them. Graduate Fellows will have opportunities to facilitate one colloquium per year and are invited to other colloquia and lectures.

2) Specialized Reading Groups

Graduate Fellows are invited to join specialized reading groups—or create their own—in addition to our monthly colloquia.  These reading groups meet in a smaller setting to examine specific academic traditions more systematically.  The first such group launched in January 2018 is Theory & Theology, reviewing Foucault, Barthes, Derrida and others together with paired theological texts.  Other possible topics include The Philosophy of Elizabeth Anscombe; the philosophy of finance; and Science and Religion, among others.

3) Research and Travel Grants

Each Graduate Fellow is eligible to apply for a limited number of travel and research grants available each year, and awardees will be determined by a Collegium faculty selection committee.

These grants will range from $250 to $1,000 for projects that advance the mission of the Collegium Institute in a productive and compelling way. There will be a limited number of these grants available each year.

In order to apply, please send a proposal of up to 750 words that addresses the criteria above, plus your CV to our coordinator, Jessica Sweeney at

4) Intellectual Community

The Graduate Fellows Program also fosters a vibrant intellectual community for Graduate students in the wider Philadelphia area. Along with the Colloquia, there are often opportunities for fellowship, including post-discussion Happy Hours where the conversation continues. The Program also provides opportunities for private dinners with visiting scholars and speakers.

Call for Applications

Collegium Institute is now accepting applications to become a Graduate Fellow. In order to apply please submit a short Statement of Interest (under 300 words), along with a short bio and a photo for inclusion on our website, if accepted.

 For more information about our program or to apply, please contact our Program & Communications Coordinator Jessica Sweeney at

2019-2020 Colloquia

This year in Grad Fellows, we will dive into the deep tradition of Catholic Social Thought. Beginning with the Leonine Tradition and moving out from there topically and textually.

Join us for a survey on this essential tradition, covering topics from solidarity and peace to religious freedom and environmental ethics.  We will kick off the year with a special Happy Hour for Grad Fellows on Friday, September 6th, 2019. 

The Grad Fellow Colloquia meets once a month on Thursdays at 7:30m PM in the 2nd Floor Conference Rm of Fox-Fels Hall.  


The Schedule for the year (click on title for that session’s reading):

Sept.    The Leonine Tradition and Catholic Social Theory, with Dr. John Buchmann


Oct.      Pacem in Terris and the New Political Order, with Prof. Sally Scholz 


Nov.     Dignitatis Humanae and the Question of Religious Freedom, with Dr. Margaret Hogan 


Jan.      Populorum Progressio and a New Christian Humanism, with Giles Dimock, OP, and Timothy Danaher, OP


Feb.     John Paul II and the Consistent Ethic of Life, with Prof. Gerald Beyer (Villanova University)


Mar.    Caritas in Veritate and the Spirit of Gift, with Terence Sweeney (Villanova University)


Apr.     Laudato Si’ and the Environment, with Dr. Isabel Perera, Dr. Daniel Cheely, Fr. Danaher


The dates for the Fall semester are: Sept 26th, Oct 17th, and Nov 14th.

The dates for the Spring semester: Feb 27th, Mar 26th, and Apr 23rd.


Contact our Program and Communications Coordinator Jessica Sweeney at with any questions and to RSVP.

2018-2019 Colloquia

This year in Grad Fellows, we will explore key themes in The Nouvelle Théologie, which received its name from Garrigou-Lagrange’s words of harsh censure. In the neo-Scholastic mind,  “new” meant “bad.” Nevertheless, the theology of Yves Congar, Henri de Lubac, Hans Urs von Balthasar and others transformed theology by returning to the sources of Scripture and the Church Fathers, and paved the way for the Second Vatican Council.

Join us for an introduction to this pivotal movement in the history of theology and the Church covering topics like the nature of the Church, the relationship between nature and grace and the roles of reason and revelation.

The Grad Fellow Colloquia meets once a month on Thursdays at 7:30m PM in the Fox-Fels Hall.  We will dive into the Nouvelle Theologie for the full year.

The dates for the Fall semester are: Sept 20th, Oct 18th, and Nov 29th.

The dates for the Spring semester are: Jan 31st, Feb 28th, Mar 28th, and Apr 25th.

Contact our Program and Communications Coordinator Jessica Sweeney at with any questions and to RSVP.

Click on an below to download the reading for each session:

Fall Sessions

Spring Sessions

2nd Reading:


(click for more info):