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ACLS Public Fellows


ACLS is currently accepting applications from organizations wishing to host a 2016 ACLS Public Fellow. Online applications will be accepted from recent PhDs starting in January 2016.

The ACLS Public Fellows program places recent PhDs from the humanities and humanistic 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 $65,000 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 U.S. by demonstrating that the capacities developed in the advanced study of the humanities have wide application, both within and beyond the academy.

The 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 ACLS Public Fellow, who will take up his or her appointment in the following year. For more information, visit 

Apply to Host an 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 an ACLS Public Fellow, visit

ACLS Public Fellows Competition for Recent PhDs

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


Related Links

ACLS News: "ACLS, Member Societies Support Careers Beyond the Classroom for PhDs"

2015 Public Fellows

Karen Shanton

Karen Shanton PF '12
Legislative Studies Specialist
National Conference of State Legislatures

“The fellowship has already exceeded any and every expectation I had for it. I’ve had the chance to work with experts ——— and develop some expertise of my own —— on issues ranging from the post-Citizens United campaign finance landscape to legislative supermajorities to voter ID. I’ve picked up new experience with state legislative research and project management.”


Barbara Ceptus

Barbara Ceptus PF '11
Leadership Development Officer
Council on Foundations

“Early in my graduate career, I knew I was interested in working in the public sector. It took me a couple of years to understand that earning PhD in the humanities was not antithetical to that career goal. The Public Fellows program helps to bridge that knowledge gap for new PhDs and organizations alike. By allowing employers and fellows to “try it on” and experience how valuable training in the humanities can be to public sector jobs, ACLS is helping to shift public perception about the value a doctorate in the humanities outside of the academy.”