Fellowships FAQs



What kinds of projects are eligible for a Folger Fellowship?

The Folger Institute is committed to supporting research with our collections from across fields of study in the early modern humanities and their afterlives, especially projects that point to richer and more inclusive histories of the early modern world. 

Residential research fellowships are available for long-term (an academic year) or short-term (one, two, or three months) support. Short-term fellowships are available for both scholarly and artistic research. Applicants must make a case for sustained work with the Folger’s extensive printed book and manuscript collections and/or digital resources. While the Folger is certainly best known for our materials related to Shakespeare and his time, our collection of printed books and manuscripts also covers the literary, cultural, political, religious, and social history of Britain and Europe from the 15th though 18th centuries, with a strong emphasis on the 16th and 17th centuries. 

Virtual research fellowships are available for both scholarly and artistic projects. These fellowships support one month of work. They provide fellows with the resources and opportunities necessary to advance their research outside of the context of in-person work at the Folger. This can include but is not limited to support for time to write, access to digital resources, reproduction and permission fees for images of rare materials, time to organize notes and images, and a digital project. Fellowship funds may also support work-life balance such as childcare or summer course releases to facilitate research and writing.

Artistic research fellowships, both short-term residential and virtual, support artists working in all media whose work would benefit from significant research with primary sources. The key difference between scholarly and artistic fellowships is the research output, which is creative and can include but is not limited to visual art, digital media, screenwriting, fictional prose, poetry, and performance art.


Do I need a Ph.D. to apply?

Ph.D. candidates (ABD) are welcome to apply. However, the majority of Folger fellowships require applicants to hold the Ph.D. by the time they begin their fellowship. For example, if you apply for a fellowship in the fall of 2023, but plan to defend in May of 2024 and take up your fellowship in July of 2024 (or any time after July), then you qualify to apply.

Ph.D. candidates (ABD), who will not defend prior to the start of their fellowship, may apply for two of our partner fellowships with The American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies and The Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture. To qualify, applicants must clearly indicate in their application that they are applying only for these two fellowships. 

Graduate students who are not yet ABD should explore our Scholarly Programs, which are designed for and open to graduate students in the humanities.

Archivists, creative artists, curators, dramaturgs, filmmakers, librarians, performers, and playwrights should hold an appropriate degree OR experience in their field.


Can international scholars apply?

Folger fellowships are open to scholars of any nationality. The Folger Institute is eligible to sponsor international scholars under the J-1 visa and covers the costs of application for those awarded Folger fellowships.


How many Folger Fellowships may I be awarded?

Researchers may apply for a fellowship as many times as they like but they will only be awarded a maximum of two Folger fellowships per project, and in applying for a second award, they must address progress made and the new aspect of the project for which funding is sought. This can be a combination of fellowship types, for example, one short-term and one long-term, or one residential and one virtual fellowship.


Can I apply for both a short-term and a long-term fellowship within the same application cycle?

Yes. However, you must submit separate applications to meet separate deadlines, and each application must be tailored to the individual fellowships. You will not be awarded multiple fellowships in any one cycle. Please note, if you apply for both a long-term and a short-term fellowship your recommenders will only need to submit letters once. These letters can be carried over to any other applications.


Am I eligible to apply for or receive a Folger Fellowship if I have been awarded another research grant or fellowship from a different institution within the same fellowship year?

Yes, if the dates of your Folger Fellowship do not overlap with another grant or fellowship period. Folger fellowships are awarded for full-time work during the award period.


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

No. You do not need to name any fellowship endowments in your application. You only need to indicate a specific fellowship if you are applying for a partner fellowship with The American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies and/or The Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture as a Ph.D. candidate.


Do I need to specify in my application the length of my fellowship period?

Yes, if you are applying for a short-term residential fellowship, you must indicate the number of months you are applying for (1, 2, or 3 months) and provide a plan of work. The Folger reserves the right to award a different number of months than those applied for.


Can I apply for an individual Folger Fellowship if my project is collaborative or part of a larger project?

Yes, however, all applicants must apply as individuals. Please clearly discuss the larger project, but more specifically your role in that project, in your application. If multiple researchers are applying for a Folger fellowship and all are working on the same project, please state this clearly in your application but discuss your specific research or portion of the project and how it relates to the larger project. Each application will be judged individually. 


When will award announcements be made?

Long-term residential awards will be announced in early March, followed by short-term residential awards in mid-April, and virtual awards in late-April. 


Do I need a fellowship in order to get advice from a Folger librarian?

No! Anyone can use our Ask A Librarian feature. In fact, we encourage perspective fellows to consult our collections prior to applying.


Can I visit or research at the Folger if I am not a fellow?

Yes! We welcome researchers from a broad spectrum: high school students to graduate students; visual and performing artists; writers of all stripes; and, of course, educators of all levels.


How will my application be judged, and will I receive feedback?

The criteria stated in our application guidelines are the criteria set for review. Fellowship awards are determined by a committee made up of invited specialists and the professional staff of the Folger. Membership on the Folger fellowship selection committees changes each year. We seek to establish committees that reflect the disciplinary, geographic, gender, and status diversity of the applicant pool. All committee discussions are confidential. We do not share reviewers’ comments.