Fellowship FAQs

Notice: Short-term fellowships have been suspended for the 2021-22 academic year.

What kinds of projects are eligible for fellowship support?

Huntington fellowships support high-quality research that advances scholarship in the humanities and makes use of The Huntington's extensive archival and rare book collections, which are strong in British history and literature; American history and literature; the history of art; the history of science; and the history of the book. The Huntington does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, gender identity, religion, national or ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation, or age, and is dedicated to fair treatment, diversity, and inclusion. See awarded fellowships

Do I need a PhD to apply?

It depends on which type of fellowship you are applying for. Applicants for long-term (year-long) fellowships must have completed all requirements for the PhD at the time of application. Short-term fellowships (of five months or less) and travel grants/exchange fellowships (for study abroad) are open to both doctoral candidates who have advanced to candidacy (ABD) at the time of the application deadline and to faculty members and other postdoctoral scholars.

Please note that one specific short-term award is specifically designed for non-traditional scholars who either trained and/or currently work outside of academia, and many of whom will not have a PhD. See available fellowships

Am I eligible for a fellowship if I have not yet advanced to candidacy by the deadline?

No. All applicants must be ABD by the time of application. Competition for awards is intense, and peer review committees generally tend to favor candidates whose projects are slightly more advanced. If you are only very recently ABD by the deadline you may wish to consider deferring your application a year.

Do I need to be a United States citizen to apply for a fellowship?

The majority of Huntington fellowships–short- and long-term–are open to scholars of any nationality. Exceptions include the three long-term fellowships funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, which require recipients be either U.S. citizens or foreign nationals who have been in the U.S. for three years preceding application. In recent years, about one-third of all fellowships have been awarded to applicants who are not U.S. citizens. Whatever their nationality, applicants for travel grants and exchange fellowships must be based at institutions in North America.

Will I need a visa for a fellowship if I am not a U.S. citizen?

Yes, international scholars awarded a short- or long-term fellowship will need to apply for a J-1 visa. The Huntington maintains an exchange visitor program through the United States Department of State and will assist fellows with providing the appropriate paperwork. The Huntington will also reimburse all administrative expenses associated with the process of securing a visa. If you have a valid visa (such as an F1) you will not have to apply for a J-1 visa. Simply bring in your visa the day of your registration appointment.

Can I apply for both a short-term and a long-term fellowship at the same time?

No. The research findings that might be achieved during a short-term fellowship (1-5 months) and a long-term fellowship (a minimum of 9 months) are very different, and a candidate who applies for both awards has not properly considered his or her research and/or writing priorities. Candidates are therefore required to choose either a short-term or a long-term award and to convey in their proposal a clear sense of what it is that they hope to achieve within the time available.

EXCEPTION: You may apply for both a travel grant/exchange fellowship for study in abroad and for either a short-term or a long-term fellowship at The Huntington. You must, however, apply and submit two separate proposals, one for each award; these awards are for different purposes and are reviewed by separate committees. Your referees will be expected to write a separate letter of recommendation in support of each application.

If I begin an application for a long-term fellowship, how can I change it to a short-term fellowship - or vice versa?

Unfortunately, there is no way to change application types in our system; you must begin a new application.

I held a short-term fellowship last year; may I apply again this year for a fellowship?

Yes. If you are proposing research for a new project or for a different part of the project on which you were working last year, you may apply for a second short-term fellowship or for a long-term fellowship. If you are applying for a fellowship to continue the same project, your application should demonstrate the progress you made during your first fellowship and specify the agenda for the next stage of the research.

May I apply for a long-term fellowship after having just held one?

No. The Huntington will not award two long-term fellowships for work on the same project. You are eligible to compete for another long-term award as soon as you think a new project is sufficiently formulated to be competitive.

If I receive a short-term fellowship, may I divide it—for example, coming for one month in the fall and another month in the spring?

No. Fellows are expected to be in continuous residence at The Huntington. In rare circumstances and cases of special need, we will consider a request to divide the months awarded, as long as they are taken during the same fellowship year. If your schedule changes so that you cannot take up the full amount of time for which you applied, you should be prepared to accept a prorated award.

May I defer my fellowship from one academic year to the next?

No. Under no circumstances will deferral be permitted for a long-term fellowship. Short-term fellowships may, in extraordinary circumstances, be deferred upon petition to the Director of Research.

I am not eligible for any fellowships. Are there other opportunities for me to conduct research at The Huntington?

Yes. See Using the Library for more information.

Do you provide housing for fellows?

The Huntington does not offer onsite housing or assume responsibility for securing housing for fellows. We will, however, offer assistance by providing lists of furnished rooms, apartments, and houses that are available for rent. See housing.

What is required to apply for a fellowship?

A project description, CV, and letters of recommendation. See fellowships for requirements.

Whom should I ask to supply my letters of recommendation?

You may ask any scholar who can attest to the significance of the proposed work and to your ability to realize the project. Letters should speak specifically to the project you are proposing, not your overall work and track record.

We do not accept letters from your job dossier or from Interfolio Scholar Services. Letters of recommendation must be tailored to your individual application and speak to the relevance of The Huntington’s collections and why they are crucial to your project. The same applies to a travel grant application, in which you will indicate which materials in foreign archives you wish to consult and the relationship between the research to be conducted abroad and research that either has been (or will be) conducted on the basis of The Huntington’s collections.

How should my recommenders submit their letters?

Your recommenders will be contacted by email with instructions on how to upload their letters using the online fellowship application site. You will be notified by email when each letter has been submitted on your behalf.

What happens if my recommenders do not submit their letters by the deadline?

You will be unable to submit your application unless all of your recommenders have uploaded their letters by the deadline. You will be notified by email when each letter has been submitted on your behalf. It is important that you tell your recommenders to submit their letters before the deadline.

May I apply by regular mail? May my recommenders mail their letters?

All applications and letters of recommendation must be submitted using the online fellowship application site. Applications and letters sent by mail or email will not be considered.

What if I have problems with the fellowship application site?

See HELP or email nserrano@huntington.org.

How many fellowships does the Huntington award?

Typically, the peer review committees will award 12 long-term fellowships; 130 short-term fellowships; and 12 travel grants and exchange fellowships.

What are my chances of being awarded a fellowship?

Applicants for the 2020-2021 long-term fellowship competition had a 11% chance of being awarded a fellowship, while applicants for short-term fellowships had a 40% chance of success. 28% of those who applied for travel grants and exchange fellowships were successful. See Statistical Overview.

Do my odds of success for a short-term fellowship increase if I ask for a shorter period of residency?

No. You should ask for the number of months you think you will need. The Huntington's curatorial staff will review all of the applications and offer their advice on the number of months needed based on the material specified in the proposal. These notes will be available to the peer review committees during their meetings and may affect their decision regarding the number of months to award.

Do I need to name the specific fellowship for which I am applying?

No. After initial review, your application will be forwarded to the appropriate external peer review committee and will be considered for any short- or long-term fellowship for which you are eligible. If you have a project that fits the stated goals of any named endowment, you may mention that in your application. Whether or not a named endowment is mentioned has no bearing on The Huntington's assignment of awards. If you are applying for a travel grant or exchange fellowship, the review committee will base its decision on the particular archives/libraries abroad that you need to consult.

Who reads and evaluates applications?

Applications are considered by one of four external peer review committees:

  • Long-term fellowships: five scholars representing the fields of American history, American literature, art history, British history, and British literature. Committee membership changes annually.
  • Short-term fellowships: two committees consisting of five scholars each representing the same fields. Committee members serve for a period of three years.
  • Dibner program fellowships: five historians of science, technology, and medicine, review applications for both short-term and long-term fellowships. Committee members serve for a period of three years.

All of the committees are charged to evaluate the applications based on the quality of the proposal and the clarity with which it is conveyed; the significance of the project for research in the humanities or arts; the training and professional experience of the researcher; and the need for access to The Huntington's collections. In general, The Huntington is seeking to fund those candidates who would benefit from working in our collections and who have excellent projects. The committees also bear in mind questions of equity. That is to say, they consider (other things being equal) the diversity of the fellowship cohort; the institutional matrix of the applicant; and their previous history of fellowship support. The Director of Research chairs all of the peer review committee meetings but does not vote.

Will I receive comments on my application from the reviewers?

The deliberations of the peer review committees are confidential. Due to the high volume of applications received, we are unable to provide feedback on fellowship applications.

When will I be notified of the results of the fellowship competition?

Both successful and unsuccessful applicants are notified in early March.

As a Huntington reader, will I have access to everything in the collection?

Curatorial approval is required to consult restricted materials. Examples include medieval manuscripts, certain early printed books and manuscripts, and other fragile, oversize, or unique items. Laws or agreements may dictate how certain materials in our collections may be accessed. Collections that are closed are not available to readers until they have been fully processed. If you have questions about restricted or closed statuses, please contact reference@huntington.org.


Can I apply for an AHRC IPS award and a Huntington short-term fellowship simultaneously?

Yes. See short-term fellowships.

If I am successful, when can I take up my AHRC IPS placement?

Any time in The Huntington's fiscal year immediately following notification of the award: for awards made in March 2021, you may come into residence at any time between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022.

Will The Huntington assist me in locating housing?

The Huntington does not offer onsite housing or assume responsibility for securing housing for fellows. We will, however, offer assistance by providing lists of furnished rooms, apartments, and houses that are available for rent. See housing.

As an AHRC IPS fellow how can I participate in The Huntington's research program?

You may attend academic conferences or public lectures held at The Huntington between September and May each year; give a 'Brown Bag' talk to other scholars who are in residence; and participate in scholarly conversations in The Huntington's reading rooms, lecture hall and gardens.

Where can I find out more about The Huntington's collections?

Visit the Huntington Library Catalog for information on published catalogs, finding aids to manuscript collections, and online tools. See Library curatorial staff for specific questions regarding the collections. For questions regarding the Huntington Library Catalog, contact reference@huntington.org.

What advice can I expect from Huntington staff as I prepare my application?

Questions regarding research and Huntington collections may be directed to reference@huntington.org.

  • Please provide a precise description of your specific research agenda.
  • No member of the Huntington staff (including curators) will read a draft of your application.
  • Curators may offer an estimate of the time required to work through a particular collection or part of it, but it is only an estimate as they have no knowledge of your level of paleographic training and experience.
  • Curators can advise applicants about the relevance and availability of collections materials.

About Fellowships

Available Fellowships
Collaborative Fellowships/
Joint Professorships
Apply for a Fellowship
Fellowship FAQs
Awarded Fellowships

Info for Fellows

Director's Welcome
Staff Contacts
Tax & Stipends
Social Security
Local Guide

Books by Fellows

Search books written by fellows

Research Resources

Ask LibAnswers
Become a Reader/Eligibility

AEON Login
Search Tools & Guides
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Rights and Permissions
Library Services

Hours for Researchers

Mon., Wed., Fri., Sat.: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Tues., Thurs.: 9 a.m.–7 p.m.
Sunday and major holidays: CLOSED

Rare materials may be consulted in the Ahmanson Reading Room 9 a.m.–4:45 p.m.