There are three types of membership in the American Council of Learned Societies: Constituent Learned Society (see below), Associate, and Affiliate. All are restricted to organizations.
Constituent Learned Society Membership
The purpose of the Council, as set forth in its constitution, is "the advancement of humanistic studies in all fields of learning in the humanities and the social sciences and the maintenance and strengthening of relations among the national societies devoted to such studies." Constituent learned societies pay dues based on the number of individual members, ranging from $990 for societies with under 1,000 members to $9,900 for societies with over 20,000 members.
Applications for membership undergo a multi-stage review process based upon the the society’s ability to make a “substantial, distinctive, and distinguished contribution” to the ACLS mission of advancing humanistic scholarship. Applications are considered first by the Committee on Admissions, composed of members of the Executive Committee of the Delegates, and then may be advanced to the ACLS Board of Directors and, in turn, to the Council for a vote at the annual meeting.
The following are the criteria for admission as a constituent learned society, as adopted by the Council:
Policy Statement on Admission of New Constituent Societies
Societies seeking admission should be national or international in membership and preference will be given to societies that are broad in their interests. Typically, their membership and interests will significantly differ from those already represented among the Council's constituent societies. A candidate society should make a substantial, distinctive and distinguished contribution to the Council's ability to advance scholarship in the humanities and humanistically oriented social sciences, to represent that scholarship in the academy and in the wider society, and to strengthen the relations among societies dedicated to these purposes.
A society's primary focus must be on the advancement and support of scholarship. A substantial proportion of its individual members will be scholars and the society will normally support continuing scholarly research and publication in a way that is distinguished and recognized. The Council may seek the advice of appropriate scholars in evaluating the scholarly strengths of applicant groups.
A society seeking admission should be mature and stable. Normally it will have been in existence for a minimum of five years and will hold an annual scholarly meeting. It should possess a sound constitution and by-laws and should be well-administered and financially secure. Copies of the constitution and by-laws and the latest audited financial statement should accompany an application for membership. Applications must be received by September 1.
Although the number of constituent societies is not fixed, maintaining an effective size for the Council and a reasonable distribution among the scholarly interests represented is an important consideration. Each case is considered on its merits and on the contribution it will make.
See ACLS Learned Societies for current members.