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Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows Competition for Recent PhDs

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Fellowship Details

  • Stipend: $67,500 per year, with health insurance coverage for the fellow, and up to $3,000 in professional development funds over the course of the fellowship
  • Tenure: Two years; start date on August 1 or September 1, 2017, depending on the fellowship position
  • Applications will be accepted only through the ACLS Online Fellowship Application system (ofa.acls.org). Please do not contact any of the organizations directly.
  • Application deadline: March 22, 2017, 8 pm EDT
  • Notification of application status will occur by email starting late-May 2017.


ACLS invites applications for the seventh competition of the Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program. This year, the program will place up to 22 recent PhDs from the humanities and humanistic social sciences in two-year term staff positions at partnering organizations in government and the nonprofit sector. Fellows will participate in the substantive work of these organizations and receive professional mentoring. Fellows receive a stipend of $67,500 per year, with individual health insurance and up to $3,000 to be used toward professional development activities over the course of the fellowship term.

This initiative, made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, aims to expand the role of doctoral education in the United States 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 allows PhDs to gain valuable, career-building experience in fields such as public policy, development, conservation, arts and culture, and digital media.

ACLS seeks applications from recent PhDs who aspire to careers in administration, management, and public service by choice rather than circumstance. Competitive applicants will have been successful in both academic and extra-academic experiences.

Applicants must:

  1. possess US citizenship or permanent resident status;
  2. have a PhD in the humanities or humanistic social sciences (see note on eligible fields below) conferred between September 1, 2013 and June 18, 2017; and
  3. defend and file/deposit their completed dissertations no later than April 6, 2017, and be prepared to verify this with official university documentation during the review and selection process.

Prospective applicants should read through all the fellowship positions listed below and choose the one position that best fits their career goals. (Applicants may apply to only one position.)

The deadline for submitted applications is Wednesday, March 22, 2017, 8 pm EDT.

Applications must include:

  • completed application form;
  • 1-2-page cover letter tailored to a specific position and addressed to the host organization;
  • 1-2-page résumé; and
  • 2 reference letters.

Please note that finalists may be asked to provide institutional documentation of PhD conferral (or, if the degree has not yet been conferred, an institutional statement from the registrar attesting that the dissertation defense and deposit have been completed and confirming the degree conferral date).

Only complete applications, submitted through the ACLS Online Fellowship Application system by the deadline, will be considered.

Selection Criteria

Applications will undergo ACLS’s standard rigorous peer-review process, which may include interviews by ACLS and by the hosting organization. Reviewers will look for:

  1. applicant’s academic accomplishment and success;
  2. demonstrated relationship between past experience and specified position; and
  3. commitment to pursuing a career within the public and/or nonprofit sector.

Notification of application status will occur by email in late-May 2017.

Participating Agencies and Positions

Click on the below positions to view the PDF of the full description, which includes detailed information on the hosting organization, the position, and requisite qualifications. Read the description carefully for any application instructions specific to the given position.

  1. Association of American Colleges & Universities – Associate Director for Diversity, Equity, and Student Success
  2. Association of College & Research Libraries – Program Manager
  3. Boston Housing Authority – Program Analyst
  4. Brooklyn Academy of Music – Program Analyst, Education and Community Engagement
  5. Community Partners – Program Evaluator
  6. The Feminist Press – Development Manager
  7. The Field Museum – Public Engagement Manager, Diversity and Inclusion
  8. Free Press – Campaign Organizer
  9. Humanities Action Lab – Program Manager
  10. International Student Exchange Programs – Student Success Officer
  11. Minneapolis Institute of Art – Content Analyst
  12. The Moth – Marketing Manager
  13. National Conference of State Legislatures – Legislative Policy Specialist
  14. National Women's Law Center – Policy Analyst
  15. Natural Resources Defense Council – International Campaign Advocate
  16. New America – Editor
  17. NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs – Policy Analyst
  18. The Public Theater – Strategic Communications Manager
  19. Seattle Office of Arts & Culture – Impact and Assessment Manager
  20. Twin Cities PBS – Strategic Impact Analyst
  21. Vera Institute of Justice – Senior Program Associate
  22. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts – Community Organizing Manager

Applications for these positions are accepted solely through the Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program. Only complete applications, submitted through the ACLS Online Fellowship Application system (ofa.acls.org) by Wednesday, March 22, 8 pm EDT, will be considered.

Do not contact any of the hosting organizations with questions. Questions about the fellowship program can be directed in writing to publicfellows@acls.org (no calls please), though we will not field questions about the positions or the organizations. Please carefully review the program information, the positions, and the sample application before contacting ACLS.

Note: The Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program does not accept applications from students receiving a PhD in pre-professional or applied fields of study, such as business, public policy or public administration, education, clinical or counseling psychology, journalism, library and information sciences, law, social work, social welfare, urban planning, public health, filmmaking, or performing arts. Students completing master’s degrees are not eligible, even if they are the terminal degree in the field. For the purpose of this competition, the humanities and related social sciences include but are not limited to American studies; anthropology; archaeology; art and architectural history; classics; economics; ethnic studies; film; gender studies; geography; history; languages and literatures; legal studies; linguistics; musicology; philosophy; political science; psychology (excluding clinical or counseling psychology); religious studies; rhetoric, communication, and media studies; sociology; and theater, dance, and performance studies. PhD dissertations in the social science fields listed above are eligible only if they employ predominantly humanistic approaches (e.g., economic history, law and literature, political philosophy, history of psychology). PhDs in interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary humanistic studies are welcome, as are dissertations focused on any geographic region or on any cultural or linguistic group. If your degree field is not listed above, and you have questions about your eligibility, please contact publicfellows@acls.org.Back to text.

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Related Links

Online Fellowship Application

Fellowship FAQ

"What Can You Do With a PhD?" The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation website features the Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program.

2016 Public Fellows

Karen Shanton

Karen Shanton F '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 F '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.”