Fellowship FAQs

What kinds of projects are eligible for fellowship support?

Huntington fellowships support high-quality research that advances scholarship in the humanities and makes use of The Huntington’s extensive archival and rare book collections. Its diverse materials center on 14 intersecting collection strengths:

  • American history
  • architecture, landscape design, and planning
  • British history
  • California
  • early printed books
  • Hispanic history and culture
  • history of science, technology, and medicine
  • literature in English
  • maps and atlases
  • medieval manuscripts
  • the Pacific Rim
  • photography
  • prints, posters, and ephemera
  • Western American history

The Art Collections feature European and American art spanning more than 500 years, with diverse strengths ranging from Renaissance Italian bronzes to British grand manner portrait paintings to early American folk art to 20th-century drawings, prints, and photography.

The Huntington does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, gender identity, religion, national or ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation, or age, and is dedicated to fair treatment, diversity, and inclusion. See awarded fellowships.

Is it possible to apply jointly for a fellowship?

Yes! Eligible candidates may apply in collaboration with a colleague for either a joint short-term fellowship or a joint long-term fellowship. Both applicants will be required to complete all the preliminary components of the application (eligibility form, cover sheet, CV) under their own name, making reference where appropriate to the collaborative nature of the project and to the identity of the joint applicant. Each applicant should, however, upload an identical project description to that of their collaborator, and may (if they wish) use the same referees to provide letters of recommendation.

Prospective applicants should note that the peer review committee will evaluate the joint project rather than either of the individual applicants. If the joint application is successful, each grantee will receive a full fellowship stipend. It is relatively unusual for joint applications to be successful, largely because peer review committees take into account questions of equity and often feel that two full fellowship stipends is a disproportionate allocation of resources in support of one project.

Please note that because travel grants and exchange fellowships are awarded for one month only, joint applications will not be considered for these awards.

Do I need a Ph.D. to apply?

It depends on which type of fellowship you are applying for. Applicants for long-term (yearlong) fellowships must have completed all requirements for a Ph.D. at the time of application. That is to say, only those who hold a Ph.D. or who have successfully defended a dissertation by the application deadline are eligible. You do not need to have formally graduated to apply.

Short-term fellowships (of five months or less) are open to doctoral candidates and master’s students in programs requiring a thesis; faculty members; postdoctoral scholars; and independent researchers working on a scholarly project served by our collections.

Travel grants/exchange fellowships (for study abroad) are open to doctoral candidates who have advanced to candidacy (ABD) at the time of the application deadline; to faculty members; and other postdoctoral scholars.

Please note that one short-term award is specifically designed for nontraditional scholars who either trained or currently work outside of academia, many of whom will not have a Ph.D. See available fellowships.

Am I eligible for a fellowship if I have not yet advanced to candidacy by the deadline?

Yes! Short-term fellowships (of five months or less) are open to doctoral candidates and master’s students in programs requiring a thesis, faculty members, postdoctoral scholars, and independent researchers working on a scholarly project served by our collections.

Candidates for long-term fellowships must have completed all requirements for a Ph.D. at the time of application. Candidates for travel grants/exchange fellowships must have advanced to candidacy (ABD) at the time of application.

Do I need to be a U.S. citizen to apply for a fellowship?

No. The majority of Huntington fellowships—short- and long-term—are open to scholars of any nationality. Exceptions include the three long-term fellowships funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, which require recipients be either U.S. citizens or foreign nationals who have been in the United States for three years preceding application. In recent years, about one-third of all fellowships have been awarded to applicants who are not U.S. citizens. Applicants for travel grants and exchange fellowships must be based at institutions in North America, but do not need to be U.S. citizens.

Will I need a visa for a fellowship if I am not a U.S. citizen?

Yes, international scholars awarded a short- or long-term fellowship will need to apply for a J-1 visa. The Huntington maintains an exchange visitor program through the United States Department of State and will assist fellows with providing the appropriate paperwork. The Huntington will also reimburse all administrative expenses associated with the process of securing a visa. If you have a valid visa (such as an F1), you will not have to apply for a J-1 visa. Simply bring in your visa the day of your registration appointment.

Can I apply for both a short-term and a long-term fellowship at the same time?

No. The research findings that might be achieved during a short-term fellowship (one to five months) and a long-term fellowship (a minimum of nine months) are very different, and a candidate who applies for both awards has not properly considered his or her research and/or writing priorities. Candidates are therefore required to choose either a short-term or a long-term award and to convey in their proposal a clear sense of what it is that they hope to achieve within the time available.

EXCEPTION: You may apply for both a travel grant/exchange fellowship for study abroad and for either a short-term or a long-term fellowship at The Huntington. You must, however, apply and submit two separate proposals, one for each award; these awards are for different purposes and are reviewed by separate committees. Your referees will be expected to write a separate letter of recommendation in support of each application.

Am I eligible to apply for a Huntington fellowship if I am awarded a research grant or fellowship from another institution?

As long as you are able to commit to the period of your Huntington fellowship (short-term and travel grants only), there is no conflict with accepting another (external) fellowship within the same academic year.

If I begin an application for a long-term fellowship, how can I change it to a short-term fellowship, or vice versa?

Unfortunately, there is no way to change application types in our system; you must begin a new application.

If I held a short-term fellowship last year, may I apply again this year for a fellowship?

Yes. If you are proposing research for a new project or for a different part of the project on which you were working last year, you may apply for a second short-term fellowship or for a long-term fellowship. If you are applying for a fellowship to continue the same project, your application should demonstrate the progress you made during your first fellowship and specify the agenda for the next stage of the research.

May I apply for a long-term fellowship after having just held one?

No. The Huntington will not award two long-term fellowships for work on the same project. You are eligible to compete for another long-term award as soon as you think a new project is sufficiently formulated to be competitive.

If I receive a short-term fellowship, may I divide it; for example, coming for one month in the fall and another month in the spring?

Yes, as long as the split is within the fellowship year and are at least a month (20 business days) in residence each time. Fellowship years are defined as starting July 1 of the year awarded through June 30 of the following year. Fellowships may not be split to periods shorter than one month.

What does in-residence mean?

Fellows are expected to spend twenty working days in the library per month. A “working day” is defined as any day the library is open for use. General hours are Monday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Tuesday–Wednesday, 9 a.m.–7 p.m., and Thursday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. If there are fewer than 20 working days available in any month given the calendar or holiday schedule, you should plan to work as many days as are available. Fellows do NOT need to begin fellowships on the first of a calendar month.

What happens if I fall short of 20 days in residence?

If you know before beginning your fellowship that you will not be able to meet the 20-day requirement, please notify the Fellowship Programs Coordinator, Krystle Satrum, ksatrum@huntington.org to explain the circumstances. You should be prepared to accept a prorated award.

We understand that circumstances may arise during the fellowship period that interfere with your ability to work in the library, such as illness or a family situation. Please notify the Fellowships Program Coordinator if you miss more than three days in the month. You are welcome to stay beyond the term of your fellowship, of course, to make up for missed time at your own expense. We reserve the right to prorate your award if you are absent five or more days in any given month.

May I defer my fellowship from one academic year to the next?

No. Under no circumstances will deferral be permitted for a long-term fellowship. Short-term fellowships may, in extraordinary circumstances, be deferred upon petition to the Director of Research.

I am not eligible for any fellowships. Are there other opportunities for me to conduct research at The Huntington?

Yes. See Using the Library for more information.

Do you provide housing for fellows?

The Huntington does not offer on-site housing or assume responsibility for securing housing for fellows. We will, however, offer assistance by providing lists of furnished rooms, apartments, and houses that are available for rent. See housing.

What is required to apply for a fellowship?

A project description, CV, and letters of recommendation. As of 2021, we follow ACLS guidelines to collect data about our applicant pool. See fellowships for requirements.

Whom should I ask to supply my letters of recommendation?

You may ask any scholar who can attest to the significance of the proposed work and to your ability to realize the project. Letters should speak specifically to the project that you are proposing, rather than to your overall work and track record.

We do not accept letters from your job dossier or from Interfolio Scholar Services. Letters of recommendation must be tailored to your individual application and speak to the relevance of The Huntington’s collections and why they are crucial to your project. The same applies to a travel grant application, in which you will indicate which materials in foreign archives you wish to consult and the relationship between the research to be conducted abroad and research that either has been or will be conducted on the basis of The Huntington’s collections.

How should my recommenders submit their letters?

Your recommenders will be contacted by email with instructions on how to upload their letters using the online fellowship application site. You will be notified by email when each letter has been submitted on your behalf.

May I submit my application before all application materials are submitted?

Once you have completed all your sections of the application: cover letter, project proposal, CV, and sending requests to recommenders, yes, your application may be submitted. All sections, except letters of recommendation, must be completed in order to submit. However, an application is NOT considered complete until the letters of recommendation are submitted. Please ensure your recommenders submit their letters in a timely manner.

What happens if my recommenders do not submit their letters by the deadline?

While you will be able to submit your application before letters of recommendation are received, the application is not considered complete without them. Please ask that your recommenders upload letters of recommendation prior to the application deadline.

You will be notified by email when each letter has been submitted on your behalf. It is important that you tell your recommenders to submit as soon as possible.

May I apply by regular mail? May my recommenders mail their letters?

No. All applications and letters of recommendation must be submitted using the online fellowship application site. Applications and letters sent by mail or email will not be considered.

What if I have problems with the fellowship application site?

Please contact Krystle Satrum (ksatrum@huntington.org) for assistance.

How many fellowships does The Huntington award?

Typically, the peer review committees will award 13 long-term fellowships, 140 short-term fellowships, and 12 travel grants and exchange fellowships.

What are my chances of being awarded a fellowship?

Historically, applicants in the long-term fellowship competition have had an 11% chance of being awarded a fellowship, while applicants for short-term fellowships had a 40% chance of success. Of those who applied for travel grants and exchange fellowships, 28% were successful.

Do my odds of success for a short-term fellowship increase if I ask for a shorter period of residency?

No. You should ask for the number of months you think you will need. The Huntington’s curatorial staff will review all of the applications and offer their advice on the number of months needed based on the material specified in the proposal. These notes will be available to the peer review committees during their meetings and may affect their decision regarding the number of months to award.

To be eligible for a travel grant, do I need to indicate how the material I study abroad will complement work I aim to do at The Huntington in the future?

A plausible application for a travel grant is one in which you indicate the resonances between the overseas archive and The Huntington’s holdings. However, a strong application would explicitly indicate plans for two separate but coordinated (simultaneous or future) research trips working on both archives in support of the same project.

Do I need to name the specific fellowship for which I am applying?

No. Your application will be forwarded to the appropriate peer review committee and will be considered for any short- or long-term fellowship for which you are eligible. If you have a project that fits the stated goals of any named endowment, you may mention that in your application. Whether or not a named endowment is mentioned has no bearing on The Huntington’s assignment of awards. If you are applying for a travel grant or exchange fellowship, the review committee will base its decision on the particular archives/libraries abroad that you need to consult.

Who reads and evaluates applications?

Applications are considered by one of four external peer review committees:

  • Long-term fellowships: five scholars representing the fields of American history, American literature, art history, British history, and British literature. Committee membership changes annually.
  • Short-term fellowships: two committees consisting of five scholars each representing the same fields. Committee members serve for a period of three years.
  • Dibner program fellowships: Five historians of science, technology, and medicine review applications for both short-term and long-term fellowships. Committee members serve for a period of three years.

The Huntington is committed to ensuring diversity and inclusivity within the membership of the peer review committees. All of the committees are charged to evaluate the applications based on the quality of the proposal and the clarity with which it is conveyed; the significance of the project for research in the humanities or arts; the training and professional experience of the researcher; and the need for access to The Huntington’s collections. In general, The Huntington is seeking to fund those candidates who would benefit from working in our collections and who have excellent projects. The committees also bear in mind questions of equity. That is to say, they consider (other things being equal) the diversity and inclusivity of the fellowship cohort; the institutional matrix of the applicant; and their previous history of fellowship support. The Director of Research chairs all of the peer review committee meetings but does not vote.

Will I receive comments on my application from the reviewers?

The deliberations of the peer review committees are confidential. Due to the high volume of applications received, we are unable to provide feedback on fellowship applications.

When will I be notified of the results of the fellowship competition?

Both successful and unsuccessful applicants are notified in early March.

As a Huntington fellow, will I have access to everything in the collection?

Curatorial approval is required to consult restricted materials. Examples include medieval manuscripts; certain early printed books and manuscripts; and other fragile, oversize, or unique items. Laws or agreements may dictate how certain materials in our collections may be accessed. Collections that are closed are not available to readers until they have been fully processed. If you have questions about restricted or closed statuses, please contact reference@huntington.org.


Can I apply for an AHRC IPS award and a Huntington short-term fellowship simultaneously?

Yes. See short-term fellowships.

If I am successful, when can I take up my AHRC IPS placement?

Any time in The Huntington’s fiscal year immediately following notification of the award: For awards made in March 2024, you may come into residence at any time between July 1, 2024, and June 30, 2025.

Will The Huntington assist me in locating housing?

The Huntington does not offer on-site housing or assume responsibility for securing housing for fellows. We will, however, offer assistance by providing lists of furnished rooms, apartments, and houses that are available for rent. See housing.

As an AHRC IPS fellow, how can I participate in The Huntington’s research program?

You may attend academic conferences or public lectures held at The Huntington between September and May each year; give a “Brown Bag” talk to other scholars who are in residence; and participate in scholarly conversations in The Huntington’s reading rooms, lecture hall, and gardens.

Where can I find out more about The Huntington’s collections?

Visit the Huntington Library Catalog for information on published catalogs, finding aids to manuscript collections, and online tools. See Library curatorial staff for specific questions regarding the collections. For questions regarding the Huntington Library Catalog, contact reference@huntington.org.

What advice can I expect from Huntington staff as I prepare my application?

  • Curators can advise applicants about the relevance and availability of collections materials. See Staff Directory.
  • Curators may offer an estimate of the time required to work through a particular collection or part of it, but it is only an estimate as they have no knowledge of your level of paleographic training and experience.
  • No member of the Huntington staff (including curators) will read or comment on a draft of your application.
  • Questions regarding your research and The Huntington’s collections may be directed to reference@huntington.org. In framing your inquiry, please provide a precise description of your specific research agenda.