ORCID offers a persistent digital identifier (an ORCID iD) that you as an individual scholar own and control, and that distinguishes you from every other researcher. ORCID is being implemented by publishers around the world. In some countries with centralized funding structures, ORCID is in even greater use than it is in the United States. Ten million researchers have created their own ORCIDs.
Learn more about ORCID at https://orcid.org/.
ACLS is joining higher education organizations and funders in encouraging the use of ORCID, which will strengthen academic infrastructure and our relationships with constituencies throughout the academic world.
The benefits for scholars are numerous: having a persistent ID for applicants and fellows could be helpful to scholars whose scholarly record is attributed differently over time (due to differences between Roman and non-Roman characters or because a scholar’s name changes as a result of marriage, divorce, or transitions in gender identification). Faculty with adjunct or other contract employment also benefit from having a persistent and non-institutionally based identity, since institutions do not follow any standard record-keeping on their public websites.
In future years, we hope to integrate more of an applicant’s ORCID record data into the application process, saving them time and effort. For now, we believe that simply requiring ORCID registration is a great first step.
While it only takes a minute to sign up for an account, we advise applicants for ACLS fellowships and grants to register with ORCID before beginning their online applications.
You are only required to register for the ID; how much information you add to your profile is entirely up to you. You can learn more about the benefits of having and using an ORCID profile at https://info.orcid.org/benefits-for-researchers/.
Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships support research and writing in the humanities and social sciences for graduate students in the last year of PhD dissertation writing. In order for social science applications to be eligible, they must employ humanistic approaches and qualitative/interpretive methodologies.
The program does not accept applications from students earning professional or applied PhDs, terminal degrees that are not a PhD (such as an EdD or MFA), or PhDs outside of humanities and social science departments, including the following disciplines: business, clinical or counseling psychology, creative or performing arts, education, engineering, filmmaking, law, library and information sciences, life/physical sciences, public administration, public health or medicine, public policy, social work, or social welfare. Students completing master’s degrees are not eligible, even if they are the terminal degree in the field. If you are unsure whether your department or interdisciplinary program qualifies you for this fellowship program, please email [email protected] with a brief summary of your affiliation.
Yes, an applicant to this fellowship 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.
All doctoral students who are completing PhDs at degree-granting institutions in the United States are eligible to apply.
As a recipient of a dissertation completion fellowship from another funding source, you cannot subsequently apply for a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship. Completion fellowships are intended for the final year of dissertation work, with the expectation that recipients will finish the dissertation during fellowship tenure.
If the current academic year is your sixth year in the program, or if you’ve been in the program for fewer years, then you are eligible to apply.
In some circumstances (including interruptions related to medical leave, child or elder care, or the Covid-19 pandemic), applicants who are in their seventh year may petition to have this eligibility requirement extended by one year. This petition must be submitted in the space designated in the Education section of the application. Applicants’ dissertation advisors must also explain in their reference letters the circumstances that merit consideration for an eighth-year fellowship.
No. Only a master’s degree earned at the same institution and en route to the PhD counts toward years in the program.
Yes, but unsuccessful applicants may reapply to this program only once.
Online Fellowship 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, plus you will need to submit your proposal and supporting documents. You will also need to secure referees to write letters in support of your application. We highly recommend that you start the process at least several weeks before the deadline to get a sense of what is required and start preparing your materials.
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.
The deadline to submit completed applications for this fellowship is 9 pm, Eastern Daylight Time, October 27, 2021.
No, your application will be judged as it is at the time of submission.
Notifications and other correspondence are sent via email from “acls.org” addresses. In order to prevent ACLS emails from being blocked, we suggest that applicants and letter writers:
- Add the relevant ACLS email addresses (e.g., [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected] for letter writers) to their address book or safe senders list.
- Check spam or junk mail folder for notifications and correspondence, if you are expecting them.
- In the event that you continue not to receive ACLS emails in either your inbox or spam/junk folder, it may be that your institution (“.edu”) or internet service provider (“.com” or “.net” email) is blocking these emails before they reach you. Please contact the appropriate personnel e.g., your IT department so that they may resolve the issue.
Your main priority should be to secure recommendations from referees who can write strong, specific letters on your behalf, preferably those who can comment on the proposed project. One of these letters must come from your dissertation advisor.
The person submitting the institutional statement should not be one of the two reference letter writers and we require that one reference letter come from an applicant’s dissertation advisor. Thus applicants should ask another appropriate person to submit the statement; those appropriate to complete a statement include the director of graduate studies or a dean, associate dean, or assistant dean responsible for the graduate program.
No, but note that the deadline for reference letters is the same as the application deadline. The system will continue to accept letters for a few days after the deadline and will add them to your application at the earliest possible time, though we cannot guarantee that they will accompany your application in the first stage of review.
You should 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 may wish to contact the letter writer(s). If one of your designated referees 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 the required number of letters has been submitted for your application (regardless of which of your referees submits them), 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 then not being able to submit it.
No. ACLS requests that reference letters contain specific elements targeted to this fellowship program. Peer reviewers have expressed strong reservations about letters from dossier services since they are necessarily general and thus less helpful in assessing the merits of the proposed project. This information is particularly crucial for proposals that reach the final round of selection where they are evaluated by multi-disciplinary committees. ACLS understands the demands placed on senior scholars and has sought to moderate that burden by reducing both the required number and the length of reference letters to minimum essential levels.
Proposals will be reviewed in two stages. At the first stage, three established scholars in your discipline (and/or regional area of study) will judge your proposal. These reviewers may or may not specialize in the particular sub-field(s) covered in your proposal. The first stage of review determines which applications will go on to the final stage. At that point, applications are reviewed by a panel of scholars whose collective expertise covers a range of disciplines in the humanities and interpretive social sciences.
To address experts in your field, explain why this project offers insight into the issues of your discipline, and make clear what question or problem is being addressed. In addition, be sure to explain any terms that might not be familiar to those outside your field or subfield, and discuss the significance of your project within your field. In a section of the application separate from the body of the proposal, you are also asked to address the significance of your proposed project for the humanities more broadly.
The portion of the proposal that should be devoted to its constituent parts varies according to the proposed project. An important part of the application process is gauging the most central elements of your project and presenting those elements to your best advantage within the specified word/page limit.
Yes, chapter samples should include citations, but they must be included within the 25 double-spaced page limit. Note that brief, in-text citations are acceptable if the work cited appears in the project bibliography.
The bibliography should provide an overview of essential references for your project, and should balance the various sorts of key materials being used. Annotation is not required.
The projects that are 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 previous awardees and brief project descriptions here. You may also benefit from reviewing Writing Proposals for ACLS Fellowship Competitions by Christina M. Gillis.
Yes, you may request feedback generated through ACLS’s peer review process by writing to [email protected] with the subject line “Request for feedback –” followed by your full name, e.g. “Request for feedback – Jane Q. Applicant.” Requests for comments from the 2021-22 competition must be received by June 30, 2022.
Due to the number of requests ACLS receives each year, and the work of administering new fellowships each spring, we do not begin processing feedback until the summer, after the competition year is complete. Thank you for your patience.
Please also note that feedback is made available at the discretion of each reviewer. Comments may not be available from every reviewer who assessed your application. We encourage peer reviewers to provide constructive feedback to applicants looking to improve on their ideas or how they express those ideas; comments are not an explanation or rationale for why an application was not selected for an award. Such feedback also is not intended to be directions that, if followed, would lead necessarily to greater success in future competitions. After all, the pool of reviewers changes every year, as does the pool of applications.
Award and Stipend
The fellowship is awarded to an individual graduate student. ACLS can arrange payment through the individual’s institution upon request. However, institutions may not deduct funds for overhead or indirect costs from the fellowship. For more information, review Information for Institutional Administrators. Note that the fellowships include funds for university fees (up to $5,000), which must be paid directly to the institution.
ACLS policy prohibits Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellows from holding concurrent fellowships that provide a stipend of any amount. ACLS allows a university to provide awards subsidizing tuition and university fees, including health insurance (beyond the up-to-$5,000 provided by the fellowship). Fellows may not accept an award that requires work of any kind, for example a teaching or research assistantship. although ACLS will make allowances for smaller, concurrently-held grants on a case-by-case basis.