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Society of Fellows

Eligibility PhD (or equivalent) received within the past four years
Status 2025-2026 Application period open
DUE: 30 September 2024

The Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia University brings together exceptional early-career scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences to be part of a vibrant cross-disciplinary community. In addition to teaching opportunities in affiliated departments and time for research, Fellows participate in and often organize lecture series, workshops, and other scholarly events that contribute to the intellectual life of the SOF/Heyman and the university more broadly.

Founded in the mid-1970s to encourage interdisciplinary teaching and research and housed in the Heyman Center for the Humanities since the 1980s, the Society offers one-year fellowships, renewable for up to two additional years.

The Society of Fellows is made possible by the generous support of the Mellon Foundation and the William R. Kenan Trust.

Current Fellows can access the Society of Fellows Handbook here.

Good scholarship needs time for cultivation. This is a truism that has lost its self-evidence in certain academic settings, but not at Columbia’s Society of Fellows. Here one encounters everyday examples of rigorous thinking, richly and carefully developed ideas, and even a casual conversation in a corridor can change the understanding of something one thought one knew well. I have found these aspects of my experience here both humbling and inspiring. -- Ardeta Gjikola, Fellow (2018-2021)


The Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia University intends to appoint a number of postdoctoral fellows in the humanities broadly construed for the academic year 2025-2026. Fellows newly appointed for 2025-2026 must have received the PhD between 1 July 2021 and 1 July 2025. The fellowship amount for 2025-2026 is $80,000. Medical benefits are provided, and housing is available. The research allowance for 2025-2026 is $7,000.

PhD (or disciplinary equivalent) in the humanities or humanistic social sciences received within the past four years and completed by the fellowship start date. For the current application cycle, the PhD must have been completed between 1 July 2021 and 1 July 2025.

Please note that, in response to the COVID shutdown, we have extended the period of eligibility by a year (from three to four years past the award of the PhD).

Applicants will select one of the departments, centers, or institutes listed below as their primary affiliation:

Departments, Centers, and Institutes

  • African American and African Diaspora Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Art History & Archaeology
  • Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
  • Classics
  • East Asian Languages & Cultures
  • English & Comparative Literature
  • Film Studies
  • French
  • Germanic Languages
  • History
  • Institute for Comparative Literature and Society
  • Institute for the Study of Sexuality and Gender
  • Italian
  • Latin American and Iberian Cultures
  • Middle Eastern, South Asian, & African Studies
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Religion
  • Slavic Languages
  • Sociology

Applicants are required to submit the following:


Online application

Complete and submit the online application. Please note that the online application must be submitted by the deadline in order for the submission to receive consideration.


Personal Statement

500 words. Uploaded into the online application as a PDF or Word file.


Curriculum vitae

Uploaded into the online application as a PDF or Word file. No more than 4 pages.


Research proposal

No more than 1500 words. Uploaded into the online application as a PDF or Word file.


Writing sample

No more than 3500 words (footnotes and bibliography may be appended and don't count towards the word limit.) Uploaded into the online application as a PDF or Word file.


Sample course

Two-page undergraduate syllabus of your own design. Uploaded into the online application as a PDF or Word file.


Two letters of recommendation

NOTE: For the 2025-2026 competition, we will be requesting recommendations only for those applicants we invite to interview. Invitations to interview will be issued in early December, at which time the two recommenders you have named in your application will be asked to submit a recommendation on your behalf and will have approximately one month to do so.

Application Materials

The research proposal may outline a new project or it may be related to a dissertation. Either is acceptable.
The research proposal should describe the work you plan to undertake over the term of the fellowship. Some applicants may choose to focus on a single project, while others may plan on beginning a second. Either is acceptable.
Graphs, charts, footnotes and/or a bibliography do not factor into the word count of the writing sample, which is limited to 3,500 words.
The sample syllabus should be designed for a course of your choosing to be taught through the department, center, or institute with which you seek to be affiliated.
All application materials must be submitted in English.
No, we only accept writing samples for which the applicant is the sole author.
No. Please do not send a transcript of graduate courses or grades.
No, there is no need to include these in the research proposal.
No. As with other documents in the application, the Selection Committee observes a strict length requirement. If your syllabi are generally much longer, consider this syllabus an abridged version. The syllabus can be single-spaced.
Include a title, description of the course, and a list of required texts and the order or groupings by topic in which they will be read. You might also consider describing information--such as course objectives, assignments, and policies--that conveys a sense of your pedagogical goals. This is not meant to be a comprehensive syllabus and should adhere strictly to the two-page requirement.
Follow disciplinary norms for quoting and citing sources.
A creative work is an acceptable project for the Society of Fellows. When submitting, please describe your work in the proposal, include a scholarly article as your writing sample, and attach your portfolio - or other examples of your work—as an appendix.

Application Submission

You may fill out your application in stages as long as you make sure to save it as you go along. However, once you submit the application form, you may not make changes to the application form or to uploaded documents. Please be sure that all information you submit is correct, as there are no exceptions to this policy.
Upon submission of your application form you will receive an automated email with instructions for accessing your application account. This account will allow you to: 1) Track whether recommendations have been submitted on your behalf. 2) Re-send the automated Society recommendation request to your recommenders. 3) View and print your application form.
We will not review any application materials submitted after 30 September 2024. The application site will not accept applications after 11:45 p.m. EDT on the 30 September 2024 deadline. It will accept recommendation letters for a short period after the deadline; however, you must enter your recommenders’ information by the deadline.
No. The application must be sent through the application portal only.
Once submitted, all materials are final. No changes will be made regardless of developments that occur subsequent to submitting your application. Awards and publications received after application submission may be mentioned in the interview, should one be granted.
Your recommenders will receive an email within minutes of your submitting your request for a recommendation through the application portal. This email will inform them that, should you advance to the interview stage, they will receive a request from us in early December asking them to submit a recommendation on your behalf by January 6.
The Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia is largely a global English department, though it also fosters work undertaken in European literatures, particularly up to the 20th century. As an example, if your dissertation is about medieval poetry in England, France, and Germany, you should apply to English. But if your dissertation is about medieval poetry in China, France, and Moorish Spain, then you should apply to the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society (ICLS). A general guideline to follow: if you are getting your degree in Comparative Literature, then you should apply to ICLS; if you are getting your degree from an English (or English and Comp Lit) Department, you should apply to English.
No, we do not accept hard copies of applications. Please submit via the online application only.


We strictly observe the dates for completion of the PhD degree. Only applications submitted by those whose date of degree falls within this time period will be reviewed. We define the date of completion of the PhD degree as the day you officially fulfill all requirements for the degree as defined by your institution.Please note that, in response to the COVID shutdown, we have extended the period of eligibility by a year (from 3 to 4 years past the award of the PhD)
Applicants who were not selected in a previous competition may reapply. Those who do reapply must complete the entire application process again for the current competition.
Applicants with an equivalent doctoral degree (such as a D.Phil, DMA, or DFA) in a humanities or social science field listed under “Departments, Centers, and Institutes” (see above) are eligible to apply. Holders of other terminal degrees—such as the JD, MBA, or MFA—are not eligible to apply as their degrees are not equivalent to the PhD.
Yes. The Fellowship is open to recipients of the PhD regardless of the nationality of the conferring institution.
Yes. The fellowship is open to non-U.S. citizens.

Evaluation Procedure

Faculty from the academic department, center, or institute with which the applicant would be affiliated as a Fellow undertake the first round of evaluation, nominating 10% of the applications they vet for further consideration. Current Fellows and members of the Society’s Governing Board conduct a second round of vetting. Finalists are interviewed by the Society of Fellows Selection Committee, which comprises several members of the Governing Board and one current Fellow.
The selection committee values not only applicants' demonstrated excellence within their scholarly fields but also their ability to convey the importance of their work to readers in other disciplines.
Only one department advances the candidate for a second round of reading. Candidates who reach the interview stage will be interviewed by both department chairs/institute directors.


You will receive an automated e-mail from the Society of Fellows indicating that your application has been received.
We will invite finalists to interview with the Society of Fellows Selection Committee. Invitations to interview will be extended by mid-December with interviews expected to occur in mid-January.


CAPTCHA is a widely used security measure taken to ensure that we do not receive automated spam submissions to our Fellowship. If you cannot read the CAPTCHA, another CAPTCHA can be reloaded by clicking the red reload button inside the CAPTCHA box. There is also an option to listen to the CAPTCHA by clicking the audio button in the CAPTCHA box.

The terms of the fellowship include:



Fellows are appointed as Postdoctoral Research Scholars (Mellon Fellows) in the Society of Fellows at Columbia University and as Lecturers in appropriate departments at Columbia University (see list of Humanities Departments below). This one-year fellowship is renewable for a second and a third year.



In the first year, Fellows teach one course per semester. At least one of these courses will be in the undergraduate general education program: Contemporary Civilization. Literature Humanities, Music Humanities, Art Humanities, or Global Core. Courses in the Global Core typically explore the cultures of Africa, Asia, the Americas, and the Middle East in an historical context. For more information on Columbia’s Core Curriculum please visit second course may be a departmental course, the design of which will be determined jointly by the Fellow and the Fellow’s academic department. In the second and third years, Fellows teach one course per year, leaving one semester free of teaching responsibilities. The courses taught in the second and third years of the fellowship may be departmental courses or Core courses as described above; however, at least two of the four courses taught over the three Fellowship years must be in the Core.


Thursday Lecture Series

In addition to teaching and research, the duties of Fellows include participating in the planning of a weekly Thursday Lecture Series in the spring semester, which is open to members of the University community.


Research Allowance

Fellows receive an annual research allowance, which may be used to pay for research-related expenses such as conferences, professional memberships, books and other research materials, research travel, and similar expenses.

Current Fellows View AllFellows

A. Véronique Charles

African American and African Diaspora Studies

Eli Cumings

English and Comparative Literature

Sonali Dhanpal

Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

Iheb Guermazi

Middle East, South Asian, and African Studies

Irina Kalinka

English and Comparative Literature

Chris Cañete Rodriguez Kelly

English and Comparative Literature

Anastasia Kostina

Slavic Languages and Film Studies

Maura Lucking

Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation

Zavier Nunn

Institute for the Study of Sexuality and Gender