• AM2018-Mattie

    Mattie Burkert, a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellow, presented her research at the 2018 ACLS Annual Meeting.

  • AHPMeritKagugo

    African Humanities Program Fellow Merit Kabugo studies the discourse of rural farmers. 

  • Buddha

    The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhist Studies is a global competition. 

Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows Program


The Mellon/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 $67,500 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.


Related Links

Meet the 2018 Public Fellows

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

Beyond the Academy: A series highlighting the diverse work of Public Fellows in building new pathways for humanities scholarship. 

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

 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.”