Application Information and Guidelines

At this time, the Folger Institute accepts only online applications. All applications must be submitted through the online application portal

To apply for a scholarly program, please submit a research statement (no more than three double-spaced pages), a brief CV (no more than three pages), and one or two letters of recommendation (see below for details). Applications for programs funded by the Folger Institute’s Consortium will go to the Scholarly Programs Application Review Committee for review. This committee includes Assistant Director for Scholarly Programs, Owen Williams, and a group of three faculty drawn from the Consortium representatives. Applications for programs funded by non-Consortium sources are evaluated by a committee including the director of the program and two to three scholars in the field.

Application guidelines

Unless otherwise specified, enrollment in all Folger Institute programs is by application, with priority in admission accorded to faculty members, postdoctoral scholars, and advanced graduate students from the Consortium universities. Application deadlines are listed with the individual program or offering.

The online application process requires the applicant to complete text fields and to append a statement of research plans and a CV in MS Word or Adobe PDF format. Letters of support on behalf of the applicant are also required, and should be submitted through the online application portal.

Upon submission of the online application, an electronic confirmation is sent to notify the applicant that his or her application has been received and will be reviewed at the appropriate deadline. For consortium affiliates applying to consortium programs, the application materials must be reviewed by the faculty representative before they are forwarded to the application review committee. Please submit applications before the application deadline to allow adequate time for this process. 

Present position or status

Faculty applicants should note their ranks, specifying emeritus, associate, assistant, reader, visiting, adjunct, lecturer, etc. Graduate students must specify if they are a PhD candidate, PhD student (pre-qualifying exams), or MA student.

Statement of research plans or objectives for this program

In the statement, discuss the reason(s) for applying to this particular program. In all cases, the applicant’s own statement of research bears the burden of addressing the ways in which the applicant’s current research, pedagogy, academic background, and relevant scholarly interests will contribute to and benefit from the seminar’s discussion and discoveries. It should address the specific overlap between the program’s description and what the applicant hopes to gain from participation. The statement should not exceed three double-spaced pages.


Please append an abbreviated CV to the online application. It should include the information most relevant to the program in question, including publications, conference papers, courses taken, courses taught, Folger Institute participation, and foreign languages with degree of competence. Please note that the application review committee will read only the first three pages of your CV.


Grants-in-aid are generally funded by consortium dues, and thus are available by application to faculty members and graduate students from consortium universities who participate in Folger Institute programs. They may not cover all travel-related expenses. To apply for a grant-in-aid, fill out the appropriate boxes on the online application.


Indicate the type of travel and the cost per trip. Train and air fares are reimbursed at the lowest available rate and are not guaranteed to cover the full amount of expenses incurred. Those flying into Dulles International or Baltimore-Washington International should indicate this on the grant-in-aid request because additional support will be needed for ground transportation from those airports to the Folger. Because the Folger is a short walk from Union Station and a short Metro ride from National Airport, ground transportation expenses in Washington are minimal and will not be reimbursed. Automobile travel is reimbursed at the current federally determined rate.


Should their schedules permit, program participants are encouraged to take advantage of research time in the Folger collections. If requested, one night’s lodging per session is routinely awarded to semester-length-program participants from the consortium. Weekend program participants are normally awarded two or three nights of lodging through a block reservation at a local hotel. Please specify additional requests, if any. Lodging awards are based on the current rate at the Folger Guest House (or on the current rate at a nearby hotel for weekend programs). 

Faculty released time

Awards for released time from teaching may be requested by faculty members at local consortium schools only. These requests should accompany the application for admission, and a letter from an appropriate administrator agreeing to apply this award to faculty replacement costs is required.

Letters of support

Letters of support help the Institute’s application review committee form a picture of the candidate, and are also required to secure reading privileges at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Scholars who already have fully renewable reading privileges at the Library must submit one substantive letter in support of their application to an Institute program. That letter should directly address the relevance of the applicant’s research to the specific topic and the contributions the applicant will make to the program.

All applicants who are not yet Folger readers, regardless of rank, must submit two letters of recommendation. As above, the first letter should address the relevance of the applicant’s research to the specific topic. The second letter may be from the applicant’s chair or other departmental official. It need not go into detail about the applicant’s research, but it must certify the applicant’s status, position, or academic rank in the department. Please note: the second, credentialing letter is still a required component for all Institute applicants who are not yet regular readers; the Institute recognizes that this requirement is more stringent than the Library’s policy for scholars directly applying to become regular readers.

For the purposes of the Institute’s application review process, these letters must be submitted through the online application form.

Letters on behalf of admitted program participants are forwarded to the Folger Reader Registrar in order to pre-register new readers. For new readers, all letters must be from an institutional email address and preferably on electronic letterhead “signed” by the referee.

Representative’s review

Each consortium university has designated a faculty representative, and in order to complete the application, an applicant from the Folger Institute consortium must secure his or her representative’s endorsement. The online application is sent to the representative for review electronically after the application is submitted, but consortium affiliates are encouraged to ask their representatives to review at least the statement of research plans before actual submission. Contact information for these representatives is available on the Institute’s website.

Registration fees

Unless otherwise specified, registration fees are waived for affiliates from the Folger and Newberry consortia. If admitted, faculty and graduate students from non-consortium universities must pay a $200 fee for single-session weekend seminars and symposia or a $500 fee for all other programs, unless otherwise specified. This includes semester-length seminars and skills courses, multi-session weekend seminars, and multi-session colloquia. A limited number of fee waivers are available to independent scholars by request.

Hospitality fees

Conferences and other large-scale events often have an associated hospitality fee that helps cover the cost of receptions and coffee breaks. These fees are payable by all in attendance.

Academic credit

The Institute does not award grades, certificates, or degrees, but it is normally possible for graduate students to receive credit through their home institutions for participation in semester-length seminars. Please contact the Institute for more information.

If you have any questions about completing the application, please contact the Folger Institute’s program assistant by phone at (202) 675–0333 or by email at