Early Career Fellowships
You might be eligible if you can meet several special requirements.
If the PhD is not conferred by the application deadline, November 2, 2022, the applicant must submit:
- (At the time of application) an Institutional Statement signed by a university official (Departmental Chair or Dean) confirming that the applicant is on schedule to complete the PhD by April 15, 2023
- (By April 15, 2023) a letter from the Graduate School confirming that the dissertation has been submitted and approved by the Graduate School for conferral according to the university calendar.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to submit the dissertation in time for the Graduate School to issue a certification by April 15, 2023.
No. An Applicant who is not a US or Canadian citizen/permanent resident must meet BOTH eligibility criteria:
- Must hold a PhD degree from an institution in the United States or Canada.
- Must have an affiliation with a university or college in the United States or Canada.
Yes. However, to be eligible, a non-citizen/permanent resident who has just graduated from a PhD program in the US or Canada and is not yet employed/affiliated with a university in North America must in the Applicant’s Statement state plans for a career in China studies in the United States or Canada. It will strengthen the application to include applications underway for academic positions, with names of institutions being considered.
No. You are not eligible. The “affiliation with a university or college in the United States or Canada” requirement for applicants who are not US or Canadian citizens/permanent residents refers to a long-term regular research or teaching appointment.
This eligibility requirement for non-US/Canadian citizens/permanent residents is meant to assure that the applicant intends to continue to contribute to the field of China studies in the United States and/or Canada. If you would like to make this case, we recommend that you apply. Please add a paragraph to the application essay stating what you see yourself doing five years from now. The selection committee will make its decision based on all the information you provide in your application.
Yes, the award may be used for writing in the United States or Canada; the writing must be based on research conducted in China.
Follow-up research during writing is also permitted.
The application essay should provide the rationale for time requested for fieldwork/writing, including any research the applicant has already done in China, along with any plans for follow-up research.
You may apply as long as you meet the program’s eligibility requirements, which include a PhD conferred no earlier than January 1, 2014 and the fact that you have not submitted tenure materials for review by the application deadline.
No. Applicants who have obtained tenure, or who have submitted tenure materials for review, are not eligible.
Our policy is that ACLS fellowships provide salary-replacement stipends.
For long-term fellowships, stipends may be used for research costs (including travel, access to online archives, conference participation, and hiring of research assistance in China) and living expenses (including childcare and other familial responsibilities). The application essay should state how these costs will support the project’s objectives, but no budget is required. The recipient must be on a full leave (i.e., not teaching, not serving on academic committees) for the period of the fellowship (minimum of one four months and maximum of eight months). The months of the fellowship must be consecutive.
For flexible fellowships, stipends may be used for research costs (including travel, access to online archives, conference participation, and hiring of research assistance in China) and living expenses (including childcare and other familial responsibilities). Flexible fellowships do not require leave from university responsibilities, and do not require the three months to run consecutively.
If you have published scholarly work on a par with the academic work required by the PhD degree, you may apply. You need to have completed a substantial academic project that required a sustained period of research, similar to a dissertation, in the humanities or humanities-related social sciences.
Please note that we do not consider a JD to satisfy the PhD equivalency in itself, unless it was accompanied by a) a record of scholarly publications that are humanistic in nature (as opposed to case studies or technical legal issues) and b) a substantial academic project that required a sustained period of research (such as a dissertation or book).
No. The months that count for a fellowship must be semesters or quarters in which the Fellow would otherwise be teaching.
Travel to and research in China are a priority for this program. Travel to and research in Hong Kong, Macau, Tibet, Xinjiang, and Taiwan are eligible with equal priority.
In addition, research on Chinese culture and society conducted outside these areas will also be considered. The application essay must convincingly explain why the use of the sources proposed is appropriate.
Yes. All topics and themes (in the humanities and social sciences) related to the history, societies, cultures, and languages in China in all periods are welcome.
No, these programs are not offered.
Yes. The program supports the study of Chinese culture and society in all periods. Research in Hong Kong, Macau, Tibet, Xinjiang, and Taiwan is eligible. Research may also be conducted on Chinese culture and society outside these areas, as required by the research plan. In such cases, the committee will consider the quality and intensity of the content of the project that relates to China.
You can find sample applications on the program’s page on the ACLS website.
ACLS supports academic research in the humanities and humanities-related social sciences. The ultimate goal of the project should be a major piece of scholarly work by the applicant.
ACLS does not fund creative work or the performing arts (e.g., novels, films, performance, or musical composition), nor does it fund textbooks, or translations without a scholarly apparatus of commentary and annotation.
No, you are not eligible for an Early Career Fellowship.
Yes, an applicant for this program may also apply to as many fellowship programs as are suitable. However, not more than one ACLS or ACLS-joint award may normally be accepted in any one competition year.
Yes! Please make sure that you spell check all your submitted texts and documents. Please review your submission several times for spelling, grammar, and punctuation. It is always worthwhile to ask a colleague to proofread.
Online Application Process
No, you will need to start over with a new online application.
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 at least an hour, if not two. In addition, you will need to submit your application essay and supporting documents. You will also need to secure referees to write letters in support of your application. You should start the process at least several weeks before the deadline to determine what is required and to start preparing your materials.
The best advice is to start early.
No, you may work 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.
You may estimate the amount you expect to receive or fill in nothing. You can enter this amount in the section asking you to list other major funding sources to which you ARE APPLYING in the current year for your present research proposal. Should you be offered a Luce/ACLS fellowship, you will need to provide ACLS with the specific amount(s) for any other funding you will receive during the fellowship period.
No. Your application will be evaluated as submitted.
Your main priority should be to secure letters from referees who can write strong, well-informed letters on your behalf, preferably persons who can comment on the proposed project. ACLS reviewers sometimes have concerns about letters from colleagues in the applicants’ departments, and often prefer “arm’s length” letters from scholars who can attest to the proposed project’s significance to work in the field.
It is good to show that you have made a contribution to the field, not merely in the department or institution at which you are employed or did your graduate work. Think carefully about who can write the best letters.
Applicants at early career stages are more likely to rely on dissertation advisors as advocates. In any case, you will want your referees to be tenured scholars.
You can check online to see if your references have been submitted. If one or more of your letters has not been submitted by the deadline, you should contact the writer of the missing letter. If one of your designated referees cannot write the letter, you may ask someone else to write for you and submit the appropriate information on your reference form. However, please note that once the required number of letters has been submitted for your application (regardless of which of your referees submits a letter), no more will be accepted. Think carefully, then, before requesting replacement letters. You would not want to put a referee in the position of writing a letter for you and which then cannot be submitted.
No, you may not. We do not accept letters from dossier services. Your reference letters must be submitted through the ACLS Online Fellowship Applications system by your referees.
Proposals to the Luce/ACLS Program in China studies are read by experts in China Studies from a variety of disciplines in the humanities and related social sciences.
The projects ultimately selected vary widely. While there is no one model to follow for a successful application and we do not provide examples of proposals that receive funding, you are encouraged to view information on previous awardees and brief project descriptions here. You may also benefit from asking an ACLS fellow whom you know to show you her or his proposal and from reviewing Writing Proposals for ACLS Fellowship Competitions by Christina M. Gillis.
The fellowship is awarded to an individual scholar. However, we can arrange payment through the scholar’s institution upon request. In that case, the institution is not permitted deduct funds for overhead or indirect costs from the individual’s fellowship. See Information for Institutional Administrators.