Scholarly Programs FAQs

Application priority, eligibility, and funding

The application process

General questions


Application priority, eligibility, and funding


Who participates in your programs?

Our offerings are designed for faculty, graduate students, and other early modern scholars, especially librarians and other humanities-focused professionals, so if you are pursuing a graduate degree or have already received one, you are eligible to apply to our programs. Independent scholars (who usually hold the Ph.D.) are also eligible to apply to participate in our programs. 


Who receives priority in admission to your programs?

Most of our scholarly programs are proposed and funded by our Consortium. Consortium affiliates receive priority in admission for those programs unless otherwise indicated in the program description. 


Am I a Consortium affiliate?

Please check to see if your university is listed in our Consortium Directory


If I am not affiliated with a Consortium university, am I eligible to apply?

Yes. While Consortium affiliates do receive priority in admission, most programs can include non-Consortium scholars who will bring valuable perspectives to the conversation. The only exception is the year-long seminar for dissertation writers, “Researching the Archive,” which is currently restricted to Consortium affiliates only. 


May I apply for more than one program in an academic year?

Admission to our programs is generally competitive, and chances are strong that an applicant will only be admitted to one program in a given academic year. If you are considering applying to multiple programs, please consult with your Consortium campus representative or the Institute’s Associate Director for Scholarly Programs, Dr. Owen Williams ( 


Do I need a PhD to apply?

Most of our programs welcome graduate students, faculty, and other scholars or scholarly adjacent professionals, although some programs may be designed for scholars at a particular point in their careers. This will be noted in the program description. Some will specify that all admitted participants will hold a Ph.D. or be on the cusp of degree conferral. Other programs are designed for those in the early stages of their graduate careers or those writing their dissertations.


Do I need to be a US citizen to apply?

Our programs welcome scholars from around the world, especially from our international consortium universities. Occasionally an outside funding source restricts participation to U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Any such restrictions will be noted in the program description. 


Am I eligible for funding for my travel and lodging?

Travel and lodging funding (which is called a “grant-in-aid” by the Institute) for Consortium-sponsored programming is generally only available to Consortium affiliates since it is derived from Consortium membership dues. However, a fund established by the late Arthur F. Kinney also supports grants-in-aid for participants without regard to institutional affiliation. Foreign nationals who are awarded funding may have a portion of their award withheld in accordance with U.S. tax law until they provide certain documentation.


The application process


Who will decide whether I am admitted to a program?

For programs funded by the Folger Institute’s Consortium, Dr. Owen Williams convenes the Scholarly Programs Application Review Subcommittee, a group of three scholars drawn from among the Consortium faculty representatives. For programs funded by non-Consortium sources, Dr. Williams assembles a committee usually consisting of the director of the program and two to three scholars with knowledge of the particular field of study or approach.


How will my application be evaluated?

The application committee evaluates applications on a number of factors, but especially the applicant’s demonstrated connection with a topic, appropriate stage of career, and collegiality. The informal shorthand for this is the "the give" and "the get": does the application signal what an applicant's participation would add to the program as well as how that applicant would benefit from participation in the program, respectively? The best applications make the case for both aspects in a convincing fashion. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application statement addresses the connection between the program at hand and their scholarly interests and professional goals. 


Where might I find information about how many letters of recommendation I need, who I should ask to write them, if they may be sent in hard copy, etc.?

Please visit our application information and guidelines page for this information. In general, only one letter of recommendation is required from a scholar who knows the applicant’s work and can speak to their potential as a participant in a given program. 


Do my odds of success increase if I do not ask for a grant-in-aid?

No, applicants should ask for as much aid as they need to participate fully in a program. It will not affect the chances of admission. All grant-in-aid requests are regularized to ensure that program participants coming from a given location are funded equitably.


Am I required to contact my Consortium representative before applying?

All Consortium affiliates are strongly encouraged to consult with and share their materials with their campus representatives before applying to ensure that their application components make the best case for inclusion. The application process requires that a Consortium affiliate’s application be reviewed and certified by the campus representative before being forwarded to the Application Review Subcommittee. 


How quickly are decisions made following an application deadline?

The review committee aims to notify applicants of their decisions within a month of the application deadline. The review committee occasionally redirects an applicant to another program or invites an applicant to revise and resubmit the application statement when they find the statement compelling but not tailored to the program in question.


Will I receive comments on my application from the reviewers if I am not admitted to a program?

We do not currently have a formal system in place to share reviewers’ comments, but a decision notification will explain its rationale and will often signal how a future application might be improved. 


May I apply by regular mail?

No, all applicants must apply through the online application 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. Those experiencing issues may always contact us at


General questions


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

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


Do I need to participate in a program or hold a fellowship to get advice from a Folger librarian?

No, we invite anyone to use our Ask A Librarian feature.