How to Apply for a Fellowship

Ready to start the process of applying for a long-term or short-term fellowship? Here's everything you need to know.

Amy Huang, 2021-22 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, studies an ad for Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show as part of her research on race and performance.


Long-term fellowships are open only to scholars who have been awarded a PhD or other equivalent terminal degree by the application deadline.

Short-term fellowships are open to faculty members and postdoctoral scholars; PhD candidates with “All But Dissertation” (ABD) status; and scholars with terminal degrees in areas that do not offer a PhD, such as an MFA, MLIS, MSW, or JD.

Applicants pursuing masters degrees in fields that grant PhDs are not eligible for Newberry fellowships. The exceptions are our Artist-in-Residence programs. These residencies welcome applications from individuals who don't have an advanced degree or who aren't working in academia.

  • The majority of Newberry fellowships are open to scholars of any nationality. Exceptions include long-term fellowships funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, which require recipients be either US citizens or foreign nationals who have been in the US for three years before applying.

  • The Newberry sponsors international scholars under the J-1 visa.

  • Only applicants of North American Indian heritage are eligible for the Frances C. Allen Fellowship and the Susan Kelly Power and Helen Hornbeck Tanner Fellowship.

If you live or work in the Chicago metropolitan area and meet the other eligibility criteria, you are eligible for a long-term fellowship at the Newberry.

If you live or work in the Chicago metropolitan area, you may be eligible for a short-term fellowship at the Newberry.

Several short-term fellowships may be awarded to scholars from the Chicago area who meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Graduate students at the all-but-dissertation, or ABD, stage (those who have completed all required coursework and successfully passed their qualifying exams and prospectus defense)
  • Adjunct, non-tenure track, or part-time faculty
  • Faculty whose teaching load is three courses or higher each semester/quarter throughout the academic year
  • Community college or teaching track faculty
  • Tenured or tenure-track faculty at Minority Serving Institutions
  • Independent scholars
  • Early career scholars, defined as scholars within five years of receiving their PhD

Chicago-area scholars who are not advised to apply and will not be considered for short-term fellowships include:

  • University or college tenure-track and tenured faculty members with access to departmental research funds
  • Retired or emeritus tenured faculty members

The Newberry defines the Chicago metropolitan area as the following counties:

  • In Illinois: Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Will
  • In Indiana: Lake, LaPorte, and Porter
  • In Wisconsin: Kenosha
  • Any scholar whose principal residence or place of employment is within these counties is a Chicago-area resident

Applicants outside the Chicago area are eligible to apply for all of our fellowships, including long-term fellowships, short-term fellowships, and artist-in-residence fellowships.

We partner with academic organizations to offer certain short-term fellowships. For these fellowships, applicants must be members of the sponsoring organization in order to apply. You're welcome to join these organizations and then start a fellowship application. These organizations include: the American Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies, the American Society for Environmental History, and the Midwest Modern Language Association.

  • 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, you cannot apply for a second fellowship (long-term or short-term) for 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.

Application Materials

A project abstract (300 words) describing the significance of your project.

A 1,500 word project description elaborating on the abstract and referencing specific published scholarship that your project will engage with (1,000 words). The description should also explain the relevance of certain Newberry collection materials to your project and include a plan of work (500 words).

A selective bibliography (one page) listing secondary sources related to your project.

A current curriculum vitae (no more than five pages). Please use the following terms to describe any forthcoming publications:

  • “in progress” - not yet completed or submitted
  • “submitted” - currently under review at a journal or press
  • “accepted” - contracted for publication; currently under revision
  • “in press” - in the hands of a copy editor, typesetter, or printer

Letters of Recommendation, in English, that speak to the scholarly contribution of the proposed project, the value of a Newberry residency to the applicant, and the qualifications of the applicant. Long-term fellowships require three letters of recommendation. Short-term fellowships require two letters of recommendation, with the following exceptions:

  • The École Nationale des Chartes Exchange Fellowship (four letters to the École)
  • The Lawrence Lipking Fellowship (one letter)
  • The Weiss-Brown Subvention Publication (no letters required)

At this time, we will not accept applications that include more than the required materials. Excessive materials include, but are not limited to:

  • Images (either embedded or in appendices)
  • Abstract or project description exceeding the word limit
  • Appendices or bibliography exceeding the word limit
  • CVs longer than the five-page limit
  • Personal cover letter
  • Audio-visual materials
  • More than three letters of reference

Applications for Artist-in-Residence fellowships may include images and/or audio-visual materials.

All application materials must be in English.

Dates and Deadlines

Long-Term Fellowships

  • 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 Fellowships

  • 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.

Newberry Consortium in American Indian and Indigenous Studies (NCAIS) Graduate Student Research Grants

  • NCAIS Graduate Student Research Grants are due by 11:59 (CT) on January 15.
    • There’s a ten-day grace period for recommenders to submit their letter of recommendation. Letters will not be accepted after January 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.

Publication Subvention

Applications for the Weiss-Brown Publication Subvention are due by 11:59 pm (CT) on December 15.

Next Steps

Fellowships - FAQ

Answers to questions about eligibility, application requirements, the review process, and more.

Read FAQ

Start Your Application

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D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies

Improving knowledge and representation of Native peoples and histories.

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