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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about Fellowships at the Folger Institute at the Folger Shakespeare Library




What kinds of projects are eligible for fellowship support?

Folger fellowships support the array of humanities inquiry supported by   our collections of rare books, manuscripts, and art from and about the early modern period. Please take a look at the lists of Fellows from recent years to see the types of projects that have been funded.


Must I hold the Ph.D. in order to apply?

Yes, applicants for both long- and short-term fellowships must have the Ph.D. in hand at the time of application.


Do you consider applications to revise a dissertation for long-term fellowships?

The Folger has only rarely awarded long-term fellowships for revisions of doctoral dissertations, yet we do not wish to preempt submissions of exciting projects simply because they derive from the dissertation.


Must I be a United States citizen to take up a fellowship?

Applicants for long-term NEH fellowships must either be US citizens or foreign nationals who have been teaching at a US institution for the last three years. All our other fellowships (Mellon and Folger long- and short-term) are open to scholars of any nationality.


If my application for a long-term fellowship is unsuccessful, may I apply for a short-term fellowship?

Yes. You will need to go through the online application process and should be prepared to revise your proposal narrative to fit the circumstances of a briefer residency. The online application portal will allow us to reuse the letters of recommendation supporting your long-term project.


I held a short-term fellowship in the previous year, may I apply again this year for a fellowship?

You may. Bear in mind that the proposed research should be for either a new project or for a different part of the project that received support in the previous year. If the latter, your application should demonstrate the progress made during the first fellowship.


If successful, may I break up my short-term fellowship?

Fellows are expected to be in continuous residence. In rare circumstances, and in cases of special need, we will consider a request to divide the months awarded to be taken during the same year.


I need three full months of residency but can only be in residence in the summer. How can I take three months without breaking the fellowship in parts?

To accommodate Fellows who wish to take three months in the summer, the Folger will allow residency to begin in June rather than July, which begins the fellowship year. The Folger understands the fellowship year to begin 1 July and to end 30 June.  


Letters of Recommendation


Whom should I ask to supply my letters of recommendation?

Scholars who can attest to the significance of the proposed work and your ability to realize the project will likely write most persuasively on your behalf. Departmental colleagues and dissertation advisors may write wonderful letters, but those letters may also be read by reviewers as slightly weighted towards the personal.


May I submit letters by Interfolio (or other folio letter services)?

No. Your recommenders should write letters that speak specifically to the project you are proposing and must submit their letters through the online application portal by the deadline.


Review Process


What is the ratio of awards to applications for each competition?

As of the 2013-14 competitions, applicants have had a roughly one in ten chance of receiving a long-term fellowship, while applicants for a short-term fellowship have a roughly one in two chance of success. The number of applications in future years may change, increase or decrease and these odds will shift accordingly.


Do my odds of success increase if I ask for a shorter period of residency?

No. Applicants should not assume a greater likelihood of success in the competition by asking for fewer months than are needed.  


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

No. The Folger will make these assignments.


Who will read and evaluate my application?

For long-term NEH, Mellon, and Folger fellowships, an external committee of five senior scholars serve as the advisory committee. This committee is different each year. We seek to establish a committee that reflects the disciplinary, geographic, gender, and status diversity of the applicant pool. Short-term fellowship awards are recommended by a committee made up of the professional staff of the Folger plus an additional external member.


Will I receive comments on my application from the reviewers?

No. We do not have a system in place to share comments. 



Online Application Portal


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

No. All applications must now go through our online application portal. Recommenders, too, must use the new portal.


What do I do if I have problems with the online application portal?

The online application portal has a section for technical concerns and a HELP link to address your concerns. As always, you may contact Carol Brobeck, Fellowships Manager, with any questions at cbrobeck@folger.edu


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