ACLS Emerging Voices Fellowships

Fellowship Details

  • Stipend: $60,000 plus health insurance and $5,000 in research/professional development funding
  • Tenure: One-year positions at select institutions in ACLS’s Research University Consortium beginning in August/September 2021 
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be selected as one of the four candidates nominated by the US institutions where they received their PhD in the humanities or humanistic social sciences. The PhD degree must be completed between January 1, 2018 and August 15, 2021 (including defense and filing) and conferred by October 1, 2021.
  • Nominations: Nominations for the competition will open on March 22, 2021 and end on April 19, 2021. The official call for nominations of candidates and submission instructions was issued in early March via email. Access the nomination form here.  
  • Application deadline: Completed applications must be submitted only through the ACLS Online Fellowship Application system ( no later than 9 pm Eastern Daylight Time on Friday, May 14, 2021.

The American Council of Learned Societies is pleased to announce the second competition of the Emerging Voices Fellowship. The program allows recent PhDs in the humanities and humanistic social sciences to take up one-year positions at select institutions in ACLS’s Research University Consortium for the 2021-22 academic year. At a time of economic downturn and uncertainty in academe, the fellowships provide support for a vanguard of scholars whose voices, perspectives, and broad visions will strengthen institutions of higher education and humanistic disciplines in the years to come.  

Emerging Voices Fellowships provide a $60,000 stipend plus benefits, $5,000 in research/professional development funding, childcare or elder care costs, as well as access to ACLS professional development resources. Up to 45 fellowships will be available for a fall semester 2021 start date. Given the uncertainty of travel and campus plans, we anticipate that work will be remote for the academic year 2021-2022. NOTE - Candidates will not be permitted to hold Emerging Voices Fellowships at their PhD-granting institution. 

Emerging Voices Fellows will join a robust community of practice in the publicly engaged humanities and will have the opportunity to draw on networks of related ACLS programs, including alumni of the Mellon/ACLS Leading Edge Fellows and Scholars and Society Fellows. The diverse experience of the ACLS community is a shared resource that fellows are encouraged to draw on during and after their fellowship terms.

Information for Nominating Institutions

ACLS invites all institutions in the US that grant the PhD in disciplines in the humanities and related social sciences to nominate up to four candidates each.

Requested information includes names, PhD fields, PhD date (MM/DD/YYYY), and current email addresses. Please submit all nominations no later than 5PM Eastern on Monday, April 19th.

Access the nomination form here.

Universities with candidates from eligible disciplines in two or more colleges/schools (ex. a College of Arts & Humanities and a College of Social & Behavioral Sciences), must coordinate across colleges to develop ONE LIST of four candidates to be submitted for the entire institution.

The design and structure of your internal process is entirely at your discretion. Feel free to come up with whatever process you feel will yield the strongest possible list of candidates.

*Please note, in the interest of equity, nominees will gain access to the application portal and the personal statement prompts after the nomination window closes on April 19 to ensure that all nominees gain access to the components of the application at the same time. 


  • Applicants must have a PhD in the humanities or humanistic social sciences. The PhD degree must be completed between January 1, 2018 and August 15, 2021 (including defense and filing) and conferred by October 1, 2021.
  • Applicants must be selected as one of the four candidates nominated by the US institutions where they received their PhD in the humanities or humanistic social sciences. The call for nominations of candidates will be issued to deans in early March and will be available on this page. Nominations open on March 22, 2021 and end on April 19, 2021. ACLS will notify candidates of their nomination and request for them to submit application materials.
  • Applicants must be authorized to work legally in the United States for the entire duration of the year-long fellowship term. Neither ACLS nor the host organization can sponsor fellows for visas.
  • Applicants' PhDs may be in any field in the humanities or humanistic social sciences.* See FAQ for further information.

Nominators should take into account that this program seeks to sustain emerging scholars who are “both-and”: who are both outstanding scholars and effective communicators to diverse audiences inside and/or outside the classroom. Priority in the review process will be given to nominated applicants who:
  • Show promise of making the humanities meaningful to non-specialist audiences
  • Come from diverse backgrounds including historically underrepresented groups such as Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, American Indian or Alaskan Native communities, and people with disabilities
  • Have experience or show promise of leadership in institutional contexts or within their disciplines or interdisciplinary area of study

Nominated candidates will be asked to describe their potential contribution to programmatic needs in their disciplinary or interdisciplinary field or area, in particular: how they use the classroom as a vehicle to attract students to humanistic study and research, and how they approach inclusive online teaching.


Only candidates who are nominated by the institution from which they received the PhD may apply. Once nominated, applications must be submitted online and must include:
  • A completed brief application form including demographic information
  • A CV (1-2 pages)
  • A single-spaced, three-page (max) personal statement (in place of a cover letter) responding to specific prompts. Nominees should log into the online application portal for information about the writing prompts and document upload.
  • Dissertation abstract (no more than one full page, single-spaced)
  • A letter of recommendation submitted by a faculty adviser or the departmental director of graduate studies, identifying the nominees’ potential suitability for particular departments, programs, and/or initiatives. Letters must be submitted through the ACLS application portal (nominees will be prompted to request this letter from recommenders using our system). 

Only complete applications, submitted through the ACLS Online Fellowship Application system ( from April 30 – May 14, 2021, 9pm Eastern Daylight Time, will be considered. Submitted applications will be evaluated through peer review based on the priorities detailed below. 

Important Dates and Deadlines

Call for Nominations Opens
Monday, March 22, 2021
Deadline to Submit Nominations
Monday, April 19, 2021
Application Deadline for
Nominated PhDs  
Friday, May 14, 2021
Award Notification
By July 31, 2021
Fellowship Period
Academic Year 2021 – 2022

ACLS Emerging Voices Fellowship FAQ


The selection and placement take place over three stages: ACLS will organize two rounds of peer review, the first a large group of external readers holding PhDs and the second involving a small group including ACLS staff. Then, finalists determined by this process will be interviewed by ACLS’s Research University Consortium hosting institutions, who will send rankings and feedback to ACLS. Top- ranked candidates will be offered the fellowship. 

* ACLS welcomes nominees for the Emerging Voices Fellowship competition with PhDs in the humanities and related social sciences, which 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. PhDs 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 also welcome. This program does not accept applications from students receiving a PhD in the fields of business, public policy or public administration, education, clinical or counseling psychology, creative writing, journalism, library and/or information sciences, law, social work, social welfare, urban planning, public health, filmmaking, performing arts, or any field of pre-professional or applied study. Master’s degrees, even if they are the terminal degree in the field, will not be accepted as substitutes for the PhD.

For questions about eligibility, please visit the FAQ page or contact