Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art

The online fellowship and grant administration (OFA) system is now open for applications.

Fellowship Details

  • Stipend: $38,000, plus up to $4,000 as a travel and research allowance
  • Tenure: An academic year or equivalent, to be held for any continuous period of nine to twelve months between July 2022 and May 2024.
  • Completed applications must be submitted through the ACLS online fellowship and grant administration system ( no later than 9 pm Eastern Daylight Time, October 27, 2021.
  • Notifications will be sent via email by late March 2022.
  • For information on how to request reviewer feedback, see FAQ.

ACLS invites applications for Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art, which are designated for graduate students who are pursuing research on the history of art and visual culture of the United States, including all aspects of Native American art, and who are at any stage of PhD dissertation research or writing. ACLS believes that humanistic scholarship benefits from inclusivity of voices, narratives, and subjects that have historically been underrepresented or under-studied in academe. We also believe that institutional diversity enhances the scholarly enterprise, and we encourage applications from PhD candidates from all types of institutions in the United States. 

Seven fellowships are available for a non-renewable, continuous nine-to-twelve month term to be held between July 2022 and May 2024. The fellowships may be carried out in residence at the fellow's home institution, abroad, or at any other appropriate site for the research. The fellowships may not be used to defray tuition costs or be held concurrently with any other major fellowship or grant. The entire fellowship term must conclude before the fellow receives the PhD.

The total award of $42,000 includes a stipend and additional funds for travel and research. This program is made possible by the generous support of the Henry Luce Foundation.


Applicants must:

  • be a PhD candidate at a university in the United States in art history or a related field, such as Native American and Indigenous Studies or African American Studies. (Students preparing theses for the Master of Fine Arts degree are not eligible.) 
  • have a dissertation focused on a topic in the history of the visual arts of the United States, including all facets of Native American art. Projects should be focused foremost on the art object and/or image and employ an art-historical or visual studies approach. 
  • have completed all requirements for the PhD except the dissertation before beginning fellowship tenure.
  • have not previously applied for this fellowship more than once.
  • be a US citizen, permanent resident, Indigenous person residing in the United States through rights associated with the Jay Treaty of 1794, DACA recipient, asylee, refugee, or individual granted Temporary Protected Status in the United States. 

Application Requirements

Applications must be submitted online and must include:

  • Completed application form
  • Proposal (no more than five pages, double spaced, in Times New Roman 11-point font)
  • Illustrations (no more than three pages) [optional]
  • Bibliography (no more than two pages)
  • List of publications, exhibitions, and/or presentations (no more than two pages) [optional]
  • Personal statement describing how the applicant's background and personal experience have affected their intellectual trajectory as a scholar (no more than one page, double spaced, in Times New Roman 11-point font)
  • Two reference letters, one of which must come from the applicant's dissertation advisor
  • A statement from the applicant’s institution (preferably from the applicant’s department chair, director of graduate studies, or dean). The provided form asks the institutional representative to confirm that the applicant is a doctoral candidate in good standing and that all requirements for the PhD except the dissertation will be completed by the beginning of fellowship tenure. Most importantly, the institutional representative should confirm that (1) the normal academic year tuition payments for the awardee will be waived or will be provided by the awardee's university, and that (2) the university will continue to provide the student with appropriate access to its research resources and facilities. The person submitting the statement should not be one of the reference letter writers.

Please note: As of the 2021-22 competition year, ACLS requires all applicants to have an ORCID iD. Learn more.

Transcripts are not required.

Evaluation Criteria

Peer reviewers are asked to be mindful of ACLS’s commitment to inclusive excellence, and of how equity and diversity are integral components of merit. We are especially interested in supporting scholars who hail from diverse institutions and communities that are underrepresented in the academy. In addition, reviewers in this program are asked to evaluate all eligible proposals on the following three criteria:

  1. The quality of the proposal with regard to its methodology, scope, theoretical framework, and grounding in the relevant scholarly literature.
  2. The potential of the project to advance the study of American art, both generally and in the specific field(s) it engages.
  3. The applicant's record of scholarly engagement and potential for scholarly achievement, taking into account the relative advantages and constraints on resources for the proposed project and over the course of the applicant's doctoral training.