Fellowships - FAQ
Answers to questions about eligibility, application requirements, the review process, and more.
The Newberry considers research projects that utilize the Newberry’s collection to advance scholarship in the humanities. Applications that propose productive use of the Newberry’s collections are more likely to receive fellowship awards.
For long-term fellowship applicants, the Newberry determines eligibility for individual fellowships by project. Long-term fellowships funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities require recipients be either US citizens or foreign nationals who have been in the US for three years before applying.
For short-term fellowship applicants, the Newberry determines eligibility for individual fellowships by project, institutional or organizational affiliation (for membership-specific and consortia fellowships), and, for the Frances C. Allen and Susan Kelly Power and Helen Hornbeck Tanner fellowships, North American Tribal heritage. All applicants will be considered for the Newberry Library Short-Term Fellowship, the Fellows’ Fellowship, and the John Aubrey Fellowship.
- If you've had a short-term fellowship in the past, you may apply for a long-term fellowship. The long-term fellowship may be for the same project or a different one.
- If you've received a short-term fellowships before, you cannot apply for another short-term fellowship to work on the same project.
- If you've received a long-term fellowship in the past, you must wait a period of five years before applying for another long-term fellowship.
- If you’ve received a long-term fellowship before, you cannot apply for a second fellowship (long-term or short-term) for the same project.
No. The Newberry does not offer scholarships or tuition assistance for undergraduate or graduate education.
The Newberry considers three primary criteria for fellowship applications:
- The significance of the proposed project
- The applicant’s ability to complete the proposed project
- The appropriateness of the proposed project to the Newberry’s collection
For short-term fellowships, criterion #3 takes on an added significance; the Newberry’s collections should be vital for the success of the proposed project.
During reading room hours, you can contact a Newberry librarian at (312) 255-3506. You can also submit a question using this online form.
We have a small staff that answer a large number of inquiries from researchers all over the world. Response times can vary and may take up to two weeks, depending on the number of requests in the queue.
No. The Newberry’s review panel considers the overall quality of applications when evaluating projects. The number of months of fellowship support requested does not factor into our evaluations.
Yes, but applicants can only accept one fellowship from the Newberry per fellowship year. Those receiving a long-term fellowship will automatically be removed from consideration for a short-term fellowship.
Yes. Separate applications must be submitted by their respective deadlines. Applicants can use the same abstract and CV, but the project description should reflect the research plan during the time requested.
Applicants may only submit one project per fellowship type (i.e., long-term or short-term) each year.
No. Application materials from previous years may not be reused. Updated materials are required, including new letters of recommendation.
Submitting Your Application Online
The Newberry uses SlideRoom to collect application materials and letters of recommendation. You'll sign up for a SlideRoom account in order to submit application materials and request letters. After creating a SlideRoom account, you can login to SlideRoom and view a list of the Newberry’s fellowship programs.
SlideRoom automatically saves your progress and will alert you if a required field has been left blank.
After an application has been submitted successfully, you'll see a confirmation screen with a confirmation number. An email confirmation with the same information will also be sent from SlideRoom. Please check your spam folder if the confirmation email doesn't arrive right away.
The Newberry will not accept revised materials after an application has been submitted. However, SlideRoom allows applicants to save an application in progress and modify answers at any time before you submit your application.
Letters of Recommendation
You can ask anyone familiar with your project to write a letter of recommendation. The most successful letters address the significance of the proposed project, the value of a Newberry residency for the applicant, and the qualifications of the applicant. Letters that speak to the applicant’s project in specific, current terms are more effective than general letters from a dossier.
No. SlideRoom will prompt applicants to submit contact information for recommenders. SlideRoom will then send recommenders an email containing a link where they can submit a letter.
SlideRoom will send applicants a confirmation email after a recommender submits a letter. Please check you spam folder if this email is not received. Applicants can also view the status of letters in SlideRoom and send reminders to recommenders.
In SlideRoom, click on the “edit” link next to the recommender you wish to edit. Recommender information can be updated or removed and new information added. Once a recommender has submitted a letter, they cannot be removed from your application.
Please log in to SlideRoom and confirm that the recommender’s contact information is entered correctly. If the recommender is still not receiving the SlideRoom email, ask them to check their spam folder, add email@example.com as a contact, and add SlideRoom as a trusted email domain.
No. Updated letters are required. Those applying for both a long-term and a short-term fellowship must have recommenders submit letters for each application.
Applications are reviewed by an interdisciplinary committee of scholars from a broad spectrum of fields and periods. We seek to establish committees that reflect the disciplinary, geographic, gender, and status diversity of the applicant pool. Due to the wide range of the Newberry’s collections, this committee might not include a scholar familiar with the applicant’s particular field of study. Therefore, successful applicants are those who articulate their project and its significance in terms that are clear to non-specialists.
The number of fellowships awarded depends on funding sources and varies slightly from year to year. The Newberry typically awards 10 long-term fellowships and roughly 45 short-term fellowships a year.
Long-term fellowship applicants will be notified in late February/early March. Short-term fellowship applicants will be notified in late April/early May.
For Accepted Fellows
Long-term fellows should begin their residencies on the Tuesday after Labor Day in September; long-term residencies of four or five months should start either on Labor Day or in January.
Short-term fellows may begin their residency during any month of the year, with orientation sessions on the first and third Tuesday of the month (exceptions are made for holidays that fall on a Tuesday). When planning your dates, please keep in mind that the Newberry is closed on Sundays and holidays. Fellows are also welcome to stay in residence beyond their fellowship dates at their own expense.
No. Fellowships must be taken during the academic year for which they are awarded. For short-term fellowships, this includes a 15-month window from June 1 to August 31 of the awarded academic year.
No. Long-term and short-term fellowships at the Newberry require continuous residency. In rare circumstances and cases of special need, we will consider a request to divide the months awarded, as long as they are taken during the same fellowship year.
Fellows are expected to be in residence at the Newberry for their entire fellowship period without any major interruptions. Fellows should be at the Newberry at least four days per week and participate in the scholarly life of the library. Exceptions are made for academic conferences and family obligations, but lengthy (beyond a day or two) or unexpected absences will need the approval of the Newberry.
Yes. Fellows are welcome to extend their Newberry residency; however, the amount of the fellowship stipend cannot be increased. Foreign scholars, however, must comply with US Department of State regulations regarding their visas.
No. Long-term fellowships are meant to provide a reprieve from teaching and to build community at the Newberry. Applicants unable to take time off from teaching are encouraged to apply for a short-term fellowship. Long-term fellows are expected to be in continuous residency during the academic year (September - May) and take part in regularly scheduled activities, including the Fellows’ Seminar, Colloquium, and Fellows’ Lunch.
Fellows are welcome to use other Chicago libraries and archives during their fellowship provided that they sustain residency of four days per week at the Newberry. The exception to this rule is the Newberry Consortium in American Indian Studies (NCAIS) Graduate Student Research Grants, which provide opportunities for study at multiple archives.
Yes. The Newberry is authorized by the US Department of State to issue DS-2019 forms that can be used by foreign scholars to secure a J-1 visa for the period of their fellowship. However, the Newberry cannot provide any additional funding for visa fees, which are the responsibility of the fellow.
Stipends are available to fellows upon arrival to the Newberry. Stipends can be processed through a fellow’s home institution.
Dates and Deadlines
- Long-term fellowship applications are due by 11:59 pm (CT) on November 1.
- There's a ten-day grace period for recommenders to submit their letter of recommendation. Letters will not be accepted after November 10.
- Applicants will be notified of their status in late February/early March.
- Short-term fellowship applications are due by 11:59 pm (CT) on December 15.
- There's a ten-day grace period for recommenders to submit their letter of recommendation. Letters will not be accepted after December 25.
- Applicants will be notified of their status in late April/early May.
Artists in Residence
Artist-in-Residence applications are due by 11:59 pm (CT) on December 15.
Applications for the Weiss-Brown Publication Subvention are due by 11:59 pm (CT) on December 15.
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