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Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows Program FAQ

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Eligibility

Q: By when must I have received my degree to be eligible for this fellowship?

Q: I am set to receive my degree during spring 2017, but will not defend my dissertation until after April 6 and/or my degree conferral is after June 18, 2017. Why am I not eligible to apply?

Q: What do you mean by “Applicants must defend and file/deposit their completed dissertations no later than April 6, 2017”?

Q: May I apply if I have the equivalent of a PhD?

Q: Do I have to be a US citizen to be eligible?

Q: May I apply with a PhD from an overseas institution?

Q: May I apply to be a Public Fellow more than once?

Q: If accepted, may I defer the start date of the fellowship?

Q: Is my PhD field eligible for this program?

Online Fellowship Application (OFA) process

Q: May I apply to more than one of the Public Fellows positions?

Q: How long does it take to fill out the application?

Q: Do I have to complete the application all at once?

Q: What is the deadline for applications to the Public Fellows program to be submitted?

Q: May I add new information to my resume or cover letter after I have submitted my application?

Q: What degree verification will be required and at what point in the selection process?

Reference Letters

Q: Whom should I ask to write my reference letters?

Q: Do all reference letters have to be in the system before I submit my application?

Q: What should I do if one of the referees does not send in the letter s/he agreed to submit?

Q: Does ACLS accept reference letters from Interfolio or university-based dossier services?

Review Process

Q: Who is reading my application?

Q: Can I receive reviewer comments on my application?

Additional Questions

Q: May I apply to the Public Fellows program if I have held another ACLS fellowship (such as a Dissertation Completion Fellowship)?

Q: To whom should I address my cover letter and personal statement (ACLS or the host organization)?

Q: Most of my recent experience has been in the academy. How do I demonstrate the relationship between my academic experience and the Public Fellows position to which I am applying?


Eligibility

Q: By when must I have received my degree to be eligible for this fellowship?
A: Applicants must have a PhD conferred between September 1, 2013 and June 18, 2017 and must have defended and filed/deposited their dissertations no later than April 6, 2017. All applicants should be prepared to verify their dissertation filing/deposit date and the actual or anticipated date of the conferral of their degree with official university documentation during the review and selection process.

Q: I am set to receive my degree during spring 2017, but will not defend my dissertation until after  April 6 and/or my degree conferral is after June 18, 2017. Why am I not eligible to apply?
A: The schedule for this year’s review and selection process cannot accommodate dissertation defenses and/or degree conferrals occurring after the established deadlines. While we understand the limitations this places on certain students, the timeline of our review and selection process necessitates this policy, and we are unable to make exceptions.

Q: What do you mean by “Applicants must defend and file/deposit their completed dissertations no later than April 6, 2017”?
A: There is wide variation across PhD-granting institutions governing the process and timeline for how PhD candidates defend, revise, and submit their completed dissertations. To be eligible for the Public Fellows program, applicants must be able to prove that they submitted their fully revised, completed, correctly formatted dissertations in their final form to the appropriate university office by April 6, 2017, and that their completed dissertation has been accepted by that office by that date. Having submitted one’s dissertation to one’s advisor, committee, or department is not sufficient. Rather, the dissertation needs to be filed with the Graduate School, Graduate Division, or other appropriate university office.

Q: May I apply if I have the equivalent of a PhD?
A: No, the Public Fellows program is specifically targeted to recent recipients of a PhD in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. Individuals with terminal degrees other than a PhD are not eligible.

Q: Do I have to be a US citizen to be eligible?
A: An applicant must be either a US citizen or possess permanent resident status to be eligible for this program. Please note that placements in the federal government require US citizenship.

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Q: May I apply with a PhD from an overseas institution?
A: Yes, your PhD may come from a non-US institution, as long as you meet the US citizenship/permanent residency eligibility requirement.

Q: May I apply to be a Public Fellow more than once?
A: Yes, you may apply to the program more than once, provided that you still meet the eligibility requirements.

Q: If accepted, may I defer the start date of the fellowship?
A: No, applicants must be prepared to begin the fellowship term on the start date advertised in the position description.

Q: Is my PhD field eligible for this program?
A: The Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program does not accept applications from students receiving a PhD in pre-professional or applied fields of study, such as business, public policy or public administration, education, clinical or counseling psychology, journalism, library and information sciences, law, social work, social welfare, urban planning, public health, filmmaking, or performing arts. Students completing master’s degrees are not eligible, even if they are the terminal degree in the field. 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. PhD dissertations 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, as are dissertations focused on any geographic region or on any cultural or linguistic group.

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Online Fellowship Application (OFA) process


Q: May I apply to more than one of the Public Fellows positions?
A: No. Applicants may apply to only one position. Prospective applicants should read through all the available positions and be ready to choose one when beginning the online application process.

Q: How long does it take to fill out the application?
A: This will vary, depending on how much work you have prepared before you begin the application process. Simply filling in the form will probably take an hour if not two, plus you will need to submit your cover letter, resume, and personal statement. You will also need to secure referees to write letters in support of your application. We highly recommend that you start the process several weeks before the deadline to get a sense of what is required and start preparing your materials.

Q: Do I have to complete the application all at once?
A: No, you may work on it in multiple sessions, though you will need to save your work after you finish each section of the application. Once you have submitted the application, you cannot work on it again.

Q: What is the deadline for applications to the Public Fellows program to be submitted?
A. The deadline to submit completed applications for this fellowship is 8 pm, Eastern Daylight Time, March 22, 2017.

Q: May I add new information to my resume or cover letter after I have submitted my application?
A: No, your application will be judged as it is at the time of submission. However, you may be contacted during the review process for further information or clarification about elements in your application.

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Q: What degree verification will be required and at what point in the selection process?
A: Finalists may be asked to verify their degrees beginning in early April. Finalists whose degrees have been or will be conferred in the spring semester or quarter will be asked to show proof that 1) your completed dissertation has been filed and accepted by the appropriate university office by April 6, 2017, and 2) your PhD will be conferred on or before June 18, 2017. Verification that your dissertation has been filed can come in the form of a statement from the university registrar or graduate school (or other official evidence) documenting that your dissertation defense and deposit have been completed no later than April 6, 2017 and confirming the scheduled degree conferral date. If you are are selected as a Public Fellow, you will be asked to submit university documentation of PhD conferral (such as a scanned transcript or diploma).


Reference Letters


Q: Whom should I ask to write my reference letters?
A:  Your main priority should be to secure letters from referees who can write a strong, specific letter on your behalf. A referee may or may not be someone you worked with during your graduate studies and is not required to be an academic. Rather than a standard academic reference letter (though the letter can address your academic accomplishments), a successful reference letter will make a convincing case for your particular abilities and experiences and their relevance to the position for which you have chosen to apply (keeping in mind that the context is not an academic position).

Q: Do all reference letters have to be in the system before I submit my application?
A: No, but note that the deadline for the reference letters is the same as the application deadline. The system will continue to accept your letter after the deadline and will add it to your application at the earliest possible time, though we cannot guarantee that it will accompany your application in the first stage of review.

Q: What should I do if one of the referees does not send in the letter s/he agreed to submit?
A: You can check online to see if your reference letters have been submitted. If a letter has not been submitted by the deadline, you may wish to contact the letter writer. If your designated referee cannot write the letter, you can ask someone else to write for you and submit the appropriate information on your reference form. However, please note that once two letters have been submitted for your application, no more will be accepted. Think carefully, then, before requesting a replacement letter. You would not want to put a referee in the position of writing a letter for you and then not being able to submit it.

Q: Does ACLS accept reference letters from Interfolio or university-based dossier services?
A: No. ACLS requests that reference letters contain specific elements targeted to the selected Public Fellows position.

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Review process


Q: Who is reading my application?
A: Applications go through two separate stages of review: First, all eligible applications are read by a peer review panel whose collective expertise covers a range of disciplines in the humanities as well as a broad spectrum of non-academic career experience. The first stage of review determines which applications will go on to the second stage. At that point, applications are reviewed by the host organizations. Review may include interviews at either stage.

Q: Can I receive reviewer comments on my application?
A: No, comments are not available to Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program applicants.

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Additional questions


Q: May I apply to the Public Fellows program if I have held another ACLS fellowship (such as a Dissertation Completion Fellowship)?
A: Yes, as long as the program’s stated eligibility requirements are met.

Q: To whom should I address my cover letter, ACLS or the host organization?
A: Applicants should address all materials to their selected host organization, not ACLS.

Q: Most of my recent experience has been in the academy. How do I demonstrate the relationship between my academic experience and the Public Fellows position to which I am applying?
A: While every applicant has different academic, extracurricular, and professional experience, successful Public Fellows applicants are able to demonstrate the connection between their past experience and the position to which they are applying. It is important to translate the skills and capacities you honed in the course of your doctoral studies and extracurricular activities to make them legible to a new audience and connect them to the job responsibilities in the position description. There is a growing body of literature online with advice about applying to jobs outside the academy, which would be useful to consult as you prepare your Public Fellows application.


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Related Links

For answers to questions not addressed here, please contact us at fellowships@acls.org.

For questions pertaining to technical support, please consult the FAQ in the online fellowship application (OFA).