ACLS began awarding fellowships and grants to individual scholars in 1926. That year, drawing on funds from one of the Rockefeller philanthropies, the ACLS Committee on Aid to Research distributed grants of up to $300 each to 21 applicants.
Through the following century of service in supporting scholars, ACLS has funded tens of thousands of humanistic scholars and projects that have directly influenced the fields and teaching of the humanities and interpretive social sciences. These include:
ACLS Digital Extension Grants (2016-2021)
The ACLS Digital Extension Grant Program supported digitally based research projects in the humanities and interpretive social sciences. Made possible by the support of the Mellon Foundation, the program supported 32 digital projects that advance inclusive scholarly practices and promote greater understanding of diverse human experiences through digital research. Learn more.
Mellon/ACLS Public Fellowships (2011-2020)
The Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program demonstrated the dynamic potential of the humanities PhD. Nearly 190 Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows were placed with nonprofit and government organizations across the country to pursue substantive portfolios of work in the fields of policy, community development, arts and culture, media, and international affairs. Learn More.
Postdoctoral Partnership Initiative (2018-2020)
Building on ACLS’s New Faculty Fellows program, the Postdoctoral Partnership Initiative aimed to utilize postdoctoral funding to advance institutional aims, such as the diversification of the faculty, while also supporting emerging scholars in responsible ways. Learn More.
Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars (1999-2020)
Over two decades, the Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars supported nearly 275 scholars in the crucial years immediately following the granting of tenure through year-long residencies at independent research centers and universities. Learn More.
ACLS Collaborative Research Fellowships (2009-2018)
ACLS Collaborative Research Fellowships, which began in 2009, supported small teams of scholars collaborating intensively on a single, substantive project in the humanities and interpretive social sciences, leading to a tangible research product (such as joint print or web publications) for which the collaborators took equal credit. The program was funded by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Over a decade, the program awarded fellowships to 162 scholars as part of 76 unique projects.
ACLS New Faculty Fellows (2009-2013)
The New Faculty Fellows program allowed recent PhDs in the humanities to take up two-year positions at universities and colleges across the United States. ACLS launched the program in partnership with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 2009 to support emerging PhDs in the humanities and interpretive social sciences confronting an increasingly “jobless market.” During four competition cycles, the program supported 168 New Faculty Fellows at 50 participating universities.
ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowships (2006-2015)
Over a decade, the ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship program supported digitally based research projects in all disciplines of the humanities and interpretive social sciences. The projects awarded advanced digital scholarship by broadening understanding of its nature and exemplifying the robust infrastructure necessary for creating further such works. With the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, ACLS awarded 60 fellowships to a diverse group of scholars pursuing groundbreaking digital research.
Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowships (2001-2015)
The Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowships, which ACLS offered from 2001 through 2015, provided advanced assistant professors and untenured associate professors in the humanities and interpretive social sciences with time and resources to pursue their research under optimal conditions. The Ryskamp Fellowships particularly recognized those whose scholarly contributions have advanced their fields and who had well-designed and carefully developed plans for new research.
Generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, these fellowships were named for Charles A. Ryskamp, literary scholar, distinguished library and museum director, and long-serving trustee of the Mellon Foundation. The program recognized 181 outstanding scholars with fellowships.
ACLS Humanities Program in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine (1999-2010)
The ACLS Humanities Program in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine (HP BRU) was established in academic year 1998-99 with funding from Carnegie Corporation of New York. The principal activity was the distribution of grants to individuals in these three countries to support humanities scholars doing exemplary work in the former Soviet Union during a time of crisis. ACLS worked closely with scholars in the region who represent a variety of disciplines: they advised on program design and helped distribute publicity and review applications. The review process included prescreening by scholars in the United States. Final decisions on awards were made by the Selection Committee. Learn More.
ACLS Center for Educational Exchange with Vietnam (CEEVN) (1994-2020)
The ACLS Center for Educational Exchange with Vietnam (CEEVN) administered and supported educational and academic exchanges between Vietnam and the United States. The Center managed over $45 million in grants and funded nearly 2,000 fellowships, study tours, and grants to Vietnamese scholars and institutions. Learn More.
ACLS Study Fellowships (1962-1983)
ACLS Study Fellowships, offered from 1962 to 1983, supported professional development, giving scholars who were accomplished in one specialization the opportunity to gain competence in another field relevant to their research.
ACLS American Studies Program (1962-1997)
In 1962, the ACLS American Studies Program, with Ford Foundation funding, began offering fellowships that enabled overseas scholars who taught American history, literature, law, economy, or government to conduct research at US colleges and universities. Over thirty-five years, the program awarded 1,389 fellowships to faculty from East Asia and in Western and Eastern Europe. Many of these ACLS fellows became leaders of American studies associations in their home countries.
ACLS Grants-in-Aid (1951-1991)
The ACLS Grants-in-Aid program provided funds for postdoctoral scholars in support of individual research. Grants-in-Aid could be used to fund travel or access to research collections and materials. Funders included the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
ACLS has played essential roles in establishing pivotal committees, convenings, and learned societies that have influenced the shape of American and international higher education over the past century.