American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship

Deadline: September 30, 2020


  • Maximum award: $60,000
  • Tenure: six to twelve consecutive months devoted to full-time research and/or writing, to be initiated between July 1, 2021 and July 1, 2022, and to be completed no later than December 31, 2022
  • This year, the fellowship is open to untenured scholars who have earned a PhD in the humanities or humanistic social sciences on or after October 1, 2012.
  • Completed applications must be submitted through the ACLS online fellowship and grant administration system ( no later than 9 pm Eastern Daylight Time, September 30, 2020.
  • Notifications will be sent via email by in March 2021.
  • For information on how to request reviewer feedback, see FAQ.

The information provided here is a summary of the ACLS Fellowship program, and details eligibilityapplication requirements, and evaluation criteria. Please read carefully through the material and accompanying FAQ.


ACLS invites research proposals from scholars in all disciplines of the humanities and related social sciences. Given the disproportionate effect the current economic downturn has on emerging, independent, and untenured scholars, in the 2020-21 competition year the awards are designated solely for untenured scholars who have earned the PhD within the past eight years. ACLS welcomes applications from scholars without faculty appointments and scholars off the tenure track.

In 2020-21, the program will award up to 50 fellowships. ACLS invites applications from scholars pursuing research on topics grounded in any time period, world region, or humanistic methodology. ACLS aims to select fellows who are broadly representative of the variety of humanistic scholarship across all fields of study. We also believe that diversity enhances scholarship and seek to recognize academic excellence from all sectors of higher education and beyond. In ACLS’s peer review, funding packages, and engagement with fellows, we aspire to enact our values of equity and inclusion.

The ultimate goal of the project should be a major piece of scholarly work by the applicant, which can take the form of a monograph, articles, digital publication(s), critical edition, or other scholarly resources. The ACLS Fellowship program does not fund works of fiction (e.g., novels or films), textbooks, straightforward translation, or pedagogical projects.

ACLS Fellowships are intended to help scholars devote six to twelve continuous months to full-time research and writing. The awards are portable and are tenable at any appropriate site for research. An ACLS Fellowship may be held concurrently with other fellowships and grants and sabbatical pay. For fellows with full-time academic appointments, the total amount of support, including the ACLS Fellowship, may not exceed the candidate’s academic year salary. Fellows without full-time academic contracts may teach up to one course during the fellowship term. Tenure of the fellowship may begin no earlier than July 1, 2021 and no later than July 1, 2022. The fellowship term must conclude no later than December 31, 2022.

The fellowship stipend is set at $60,000 for a 12-month fellowship. Awards of shorter duration will be prorated at $5,000 per month, with the minimum award set at $30,000. Independent scholars, adjunct faculty, and faculty with teaching-intensive appointments will receive an award supplement of $3,000 for research support, access to manuscript development workshops, or learned society conference attendance.


Applicants must:

  1. be a US citizen, permanent resident, or DACA recipient.
  2. have a PhD officially conferred between October 1, 2012 and September 30, 2020.
  3. not hold a tenured faculty position.

ACLS will confirm the tenure status of provisional awardees before finalizing the fellowship award.

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