The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) today announced an expansion of the eligibility requirements for the ACLS Fellowship Program. Starting this coming academic year, in the 2024-25 competition, the program will accept applications from eligible scholars across all career stages, from recent PhDs through senior scholars, working in every sector of the academy and beyond.

The ACLS Fellowship is the Council’s longest-running program supporting research in the humanities and interpretive social sciences. Funded by the ACLS endowment, the program has supported more than 4,000 scholars working in all fields of humanistic inquiry since 1929.

In 2020, in response to the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on higher education, ACLS concentrated on enhancing support for early-career scholars, whose research and professional trajectories were particularly vulnerable to the disruptions of the pandemic. ACLS temporarily restricted the eligibility for the ACLS Fellowship Program to support untenured scholars within eight years of earning the PhD. At the same time, ACLS launched the Emerging Voices Fellowship Program, a large-scale, emergency postdoctoral initiative that placed promising emerging scholars in fellowship positions with members of the ACLS Research University Consortium. Between the two programs, ACLS devoted over $26 million in endowment spending over four years to support the ambitions of nearly 375 recent PhDs in the humanities and interpretive social sciences.

As the ACLS Fellowship Program resumes its broad support for scholars across career stages, employed on and off the tenure track and inside and outside academia, it will continue to devote significant resources—at least half of all fellowships offered in the coming 2024-25 competition—to early-career scholars. This complements efforts across ACLS initiatives, including the ACLS Leading Edge Fellowship, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhist Studies, and the Luce/ACLS Program in China Studies, which offer fellowships for recent PhDs. ACLS will also continue its commitment to supporting scholars working in every sector of the academy and beyond, and to advancing inclusive excellence in its review and award processes.

“ACLS fellowships and grants are investments in promising, innovative research, and votes of confidence in a vibrant future for humanistic scholarship,” said John Paul Christy, Senior Director of US Programs. “As we face new challenges to the scholarly humanities, and to the principles of academic freedom, we are committed to supporting and promoting outstanding scholarship wherever it is being pursued.”  

ACLS will issue its next call for applications for ACLS Fellowships in late June 2024, with applications due in September. Sign up to receive news about ACLS fellowship and grant programs.

The ACLS Fellowship program is funded primarily by the ACLS endowment, which has benefited from contributions by organizations like the Mellon Foundation, the Arcadia Charitable Trust, the National Endowment for the Humanities; the ACLS Research University Consortium, the ACLS Associate member network; and generous gifts of fellows and friends of ACLS.