Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows Programs

After ten years of promoting the value of the humanities PhD to careers beyond the academy through the Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program, ACLS is conducting a year-long assessment of the initiative. There will be no competition for the fellowships in 2021.

If you are now completing or have recently earned a PhD in the humanities or humanistic social sciences, and are interested in opportunities to contribute to the public good while gaining career-building experience, you may be eligible for the ACLS Leading Edge Fellowship. Our next call for applications will be available in March 2021. To learn more about the program, visit the Leading Edge Fellowship program webpage. The description below is for information purposes only.


The Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program places recent PhDs from the humanities and related social sciences in two-year staff positions at partnering organizations in government and the nonprofit sector. Fellows participate in the substantive work of these organizations and receive professional mentoring. The fellowship provides a stipend of $70,000 per year as well as individual health insurance.

This program, made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, aims to expand the reach of doctoral education in the US by demonstrating that the capacities developed in the advanced study of the humanities have wide application, both within and beyond the academy.

The Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program involves two separate application processes each program year:

In the fall, nonprofit and government organizations apply for the opportunity to host an Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow, who will take up his or her appointment in the following year. For more information, visit: 

Apply to Host a Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow

In the spring, recent humanities PhDs who meet the program's eligibility requirements apply for two-year fellowship placements at one of the year's selected host organizations. For more information about becoming a Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow, visit:

Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows Competition for Recent PhDs

Questions about this program may be directed to publicfellows@acls.org.