Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows Competition for Recent PhDs

Fellowship Details

Stipend: $67,500 per year, with health insurance coverage for the fellow, a relocation allowance, and up to $3,000 in professional development funds over the course of the fellowship
Tenure: Two years; start date on August 1 or September 1, 2017, depending on the fellowship position
Applications will be accepted only through the ACLS Online Fellowship Application system ( The system will open on January 4, 2018. Please do not contact any of the organizations directly.
Application deadline: March 14, 2018, 9pm EDT
Notification of application status will occur by email starting late-May 2018.

ACLS invites applications for the eighth competition of the Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program. This year, the program will place up to 25 recent PhDs from the humanities and humanistic social sciences in two-year term staff positions at partnering organizations in government and the nonprofit sector. Fellows will participate in the substantive work of these organizations and receive professional mentoring. Fellows receive a stipend of $67,500 per year, individual health insurance, a relocation allowance, and up to $3,000 to be used toward professional development activities over the course of the fellowship term.

This initiative, made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, aims to expand the role of doctoral education in the United States by demonstrating that the capacities developed in the advanced study of the humanities have wide application, both within and beyond the academy. The Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program allows PhDs to gain valuable, career-building experience in fields such as public policy, development, conservation, arts and culture, and media.

ACLS seeks applications from recent PhDs who aspire to careers in administration, management, and public service by choice rather than circumstance. Competitive applicants will have been successful in both academic and extra-academic experiences.

Applicants must:
possess US citizenship or permanent resident status;
have a PhD in the humanities or humanistic social sciences (see note on eligible fields below) conferred between September 1, 2014 and June 22, 2018; and
defend and file/deposit their completed dissertations no later than April 6, 2018, and be prepared to verify this with official university documentation during the review and selection process.

Prospective applicants should read through all the fellowship positions listed below and choose the one position that best fits their career goals. (Applicants may apply to only one position.)

The deadline for submitted applications is Wednesday, March 14, 2018, 9pm EDT.

Applications must include:
completed application form;
1 to 2-page cover letter tailored to a specific position and addressed to the host organization;
1 to 2-page résumé; and
2 reference letters.

Please note that finalists may be asked to provide institutional documentation of PhD conferral (or, if the degree has not yet been conferred, an institutional statement from the registrar attesting that the dissertation defense and deposit have been completed and confirming the degree conferral date).

Only complete applications, submitted through the ACLS Online Fellowship Application system by the deadline, will be considered.

Selection Criteria

Applications will undergo ACLS’s rigorous peer-review process. Applicants who advance to the finalist round of review may participate in interviews with ACLS staff and staff from the applicant’s selected hosting organization. Reviewers will look for:
applicant’s academic and extra-academic accomplishment and success;
demonstrated relationship between past experience and specified position, as well as overall fit for the position; and
demonstrtaed commitment to pursuing a career within the public and/or nonprofit sector.

Notification of application status will occur by email in late-May 2018.

Participating Agencies and Positions

Click on the below positions to view the PDF of the full description, which includes detailed information on the hosting organization, the position, and requisite qualifications. Read the description carefully for any application instructions specific to the given position.
Center for Popular Democracy (Brooklyn, NY) – Strategic Research Associate
Chemical Heritage Foundation (as of February 1, 2018, the institution will be known as Science History Institute) (Philadelphia, PA) – Digital Engagement Manager
Chicago Council on Global Affairs (Chicago, IL) – Research Associate, Global Cities
Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (Madison, WI) – Global Programs Manager
Council of Independent Colleges (Washington, DC) – Development Officer
Environmental Law & Policy Center (Chicago, IL) – Senior Research Analyst, Transportation Innovation
Innocence Project (New York, NY) – Content Strategist
Lapham’s Quarterly (New York, NY) – Digital Producer
Los Angeles County Arts Commission (Los Angeles, CA) – Cross Sector Analyst
Los Angeles Review of Books (Los Angeles, CA) – Associate Executive Editor and Assistant Director, LARB Books
MinnPost (Minneapolis, MN) – Audience Development and Engagement Manager
The Moth (New York, NY) – Impact and Evaluation Officer
National Immigration Law Center (Washington, DC) – Research Program Manager
National Trust for Historic Preservation (Washington, DC) – Manager of Curatorial Innovation
Participatory Budgeting Project (Brooklyn, NY) – Participation Design Strategist
PolicyLink (Oakland, CA) – Associate, Equitable Economy Research

Public Radio International (Minneapolis, MN) – Associate Editor, Global Nation
Race Forward (Oakland, CA or New York, NY) – Narrative Impact Analyst
Rockefeller Archive Center (Sleepy Hollow, NY) – Outreach Program Manager
Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative (Washington, DC) – Program Manager, Cultural Disaster Analysis
Smithsonian Institution Office of International Relations (Washington, DC) – Global Science Officer
Social Science Research Council (Brooklyn, NY) – Program Officer, Media and Democracy Project
Stockholm Environment Institute – US Center (Seattle, WA) – Climate Policy Associate
United Negro College Fund (Washington, DC) – Policy Analyst
United Neighborhood Houses (New York, NY) – Policy Analyst

Applications for these positions are accepted solely through the Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program. Only complete applications, submitted through the ACLS Online Fellowship Application system ( by Wednesday, March 14, 2018 9pm EDT, will be considered.

Do not contact any of the hosting organizations with questions. Questions about the fellowship program can be directed in writing to (no calls please), though we will not field questions about the positions or the organizations. Please carefully review the program information, the positions, the sample application, and the FAQ before contacting ACLS.

Note: The Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program does not accept applications from candidates holding PhDs in the fields of business, public policy or public administration, education, clinical or counseling psychology, journalism, creative writing, library and/or information sciences, law, social work, social welfare, urban planning, public health, filmmaking, performing arts, or any field of pre-professional or applied study. Master’s degrees, even if they are the terminal degree in the field, will not be accepted as substitutes for the PhD. For the purpose of this competition, the humanities and related social sciences include but are not limited to American studies; anthropology; archaeology; art and architectural history; classics; economics; ethnic studies; film; gender studies; geography; history; languages and literatures; legal studies; linguistics; musicology; philosophy; political science; psychology (excluding clinical or counseling psychology); religious studies; rhetoric, communication, and media studies; sociology; and theater, dance, and performance studies. PhDs in the social science fields listed above are eligible only if they employ predominantly humanistic approaches (e.g., economic history, law and literature, political philosophy, history of psychology). PhDs in interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary humanistic studies are welcome.

If your degree field is not listed above, and you have questions about your eligibility, please contact

 For more information, visit the FAQ page. Back to text.
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