Grants, Fellowships & CFPs

Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows Competition

Application Deadline: Wednesday, March 13th, 2019

Sponsored by: American Council of Learned Societies

Award Amount: $68,000 per year, health insurance coverage, relocation allowance, and up to $3,000 in professional development funds over the course of the fellowship

Eligibility: Recent PhDs

Tenure: Two years; start date on August 1 or September 3, 2019, depending on position

Award Announced By: Notification of application status will begin by email starting late May 2019


ACLS invites applications for the ninth competition of the Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program. This year, the program will place up to 21 recent PhDs from the humanities and humanistic social sciences in two-year term staff positions at partnering organizations in government and the nonprofit sector. Fellows will participate in the substantive work of these organizations and receive professional mentoring. Fellows receive a stipend of $68,000 per year and have access to individual health insurance, a relocation allowance, and up to $3,000 to be used toward professional development activities over the course of the fellowship term.

This initiative, made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, aims to expand the role of doctoral education in the United States by demonstrating that the capacities developed in the advanced study of the humanities have wide application, both within and beyond the academy. The Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program allows PhDs to gain career-building experience in fields such as public policy, development, conservation, arts and culture, and media.

ACLS seeks applications from recent PhDs who aspire to careers in administration, management, and public service by choice rather than circumstance. Competitive applicants will be able to demonstrate sincere interest in the field of work of their selected fellowship and will have a record of success in both academic and extra-academic endeavors.

Applicants must:

  1. have a PhD in the humanities or humanistic social sciences conferred between September 1, 2015 and June 21, 2019
  2. defend and file/deposit their completed dissertations no later than April 5, 2019, and be prepared to verify this with official university documentation during the review and selection process
  3. possess US citizenship or permanent resident status

Prospective applicants should read through all the fellowship positions listed below and choose the one position that best fits their career goals. (Applicants may apply to only one position.)

Applications must include:

  • Completed application form
  • One to two-page cover letter tailored to a specific position and addressed to the host organization
  • One to two-page résumé
  • Two reference letters

Please note that finalists may be asked to provide institutional documentation of PhD conferral (or, if the degree has not yet been conferred, an institutional statement from the registrar attesting that the dissertation defense and deposit have been completed and confirming the degree conferral date).

Only complete applications, submitted through the ACLS Online Fellowship Application system by the deadline, will be considered.

Selection Criteria

All eligible applications will undergo ACLS’s peer-review process. Applicants who advance to the final round of review may participate in interviews with ACLS staff and staff from the host organization. Reviewers will look for:

  1. Applicant’s academic and extra-academic accomplishments
  2. Demonstrated relationship between past experience and the required qualifications of the position, as well as overall fit for the position
  3. Demonstrated commitment to pursuing a career within the relevant field

Notification of application status will occur by email in late-May 2019.

Participating Agencies and Positions

For full descriptions of the positions, including detailed information on the hosting organization and requisite qualifications, visit the Mellon/ACLS Competition page. Full descriptions include detailed information on the hosting organization, the position, and requisite qualifications. Read the description carefully for any application instructions specific to the given position.

Questions about the fellowship program should be directed in writing to (no calls please), though we will not field questions about the particulars of specific positions or the organizations.

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