The Society of Fellows in the Humanities brings together exceptional early career scholars to be part of a cross-disciplinary community. In addition to teaching opportunities in affiliated departments and time for research, Fellows support each others’ intellectual and professional development through lecture series, workshops, and other opportunities. An integral part of the life of the SOF/Heyman, Fellows are frequently invited to participate in events with faculty from around the university.
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 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the William R. Kenan Trust.
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.
Applications for the 2021-2022 competition are no longer being accepted. The call for 2022-2023 competition will be posted here in early August, and applications will be due in October.
The Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia University, with grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the William R. Kenan Trust, intends to appoint a number of postdoctoral fellows in the humanities for the academic year 2021-2022. Fellows newly appointed for 2021-2022 must have received a PhD (or disciplinary equivalent) between 1 July 2018 and 1 July 2021. The Fellowship Stipend for 2021-2022 is $64,000. Medical benefits are provided, and subsidized housing is available. There is a $7,000 research allowance per annum.
Further information and FAQs are available once you have started the application.
To begin your application, please select the “Go to Application” button at the top of this page.
Please note that we will only notify you if your application progresses to the next phase. If you have not received an invitation to interview by the end of January, you may assume that your candidacy is no longer active. We regret that we are not able to offer feedback on unsuccessful applications.
PhD (or disciplinary equivalent) in a relevant field in the humanities or social sciences received no earlier than 3 years prior to and completed by the fellowship start date.
The Society of Fellows is committed to assembling a diverse and inclusive academic community. Toward this end, we especially encourage applications from members of underrepresented groups and those whose interests contribute to realizing this goal.
Applicants are required to submit the following:
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.
Uploaded into the online application as a PDF or Word file.
No more than 1500 words. Uploaded into the online application as a PDF or Word file.
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.
Two-page undergraduate syllabus of your own design. Uploaded into the online application as a PDF or Word file.
Two letters of recommendation
In order for your recommenders to be alerted to your request for their recommendations, you must enter their names and emails by clicking the “Add Recommender” button found under “Reference Letters” in the side menu in the Online Application. Recommenders will receive automated notification of your request and instructions for submitting their recommendations once you have added them in the Online Application. Please be sure to follow up with your recommenders, as spam filters can interfere with the delivery of automated emails. You can check the status of recommendation submissions and resend the automated notification to your recommenders by logging into your application account.Please note that we cannot accept letters of recommendation sent via dossier services such as Interfolio.
Terms and Awards
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, Asian Civilizations, Asian Humanities, or Global Cultures, including those of Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. For more information on Columbia’s Core Curriculum please visit: www.college.columbia.edu/core/.
The 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.
In addition to teaching and research, the duties of Fellows include planning a weekly Thursday Lecture Series, which is open to members of the University community, and participating in the intellectual life of the Society and of the department with which the Fellow is affiliated. The Society also cosponsors conferences and special events planned by Fellows around their special interests.
To aid in the research process, each Fellow is assigned to a private office with a phone, and access to campus Wi-Fi. The research allowance may be used to pay for research-related expenses such as conferences, professional memberships, and research materials.
Frequently Asked Questions
For all FAQs about specific application requirements and processes, please see the online application once the new competition is launched.