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Dumbarton Oaks Humanities Fellowships

The Dumbarton Oaks Humanities Fellowships offer nine months of professional development at outstanding cultural institutions of Washington, DC, to graduating seniors and recent graduates of Harvard College.

Current and Former Humanities Fellows

The Dumbarton Oaks Humanities Fellowships are a unique and innovative program, offering nine months of professional development at outstanding cultural institutions of Washington, DC, to graduating seniors and recent graduates of Harvard College. The fellowship enables exceptional students to project themselves into careers in the humanities, whether inside or outside the academy, by acquiring skills, broadening their interests, and connecting with influential practitioners and leaders. Dumbarton Oaks hopes that Humanities Fellows will also benefit by participating in its lively socio-intellectual life.

Recipients of these postgraduate fellowships will reside at Dumbarton Oaks and split their time between the research institute and a collaborating institution in Washington, DC. (Partnering institutions have included the Folger Shakespeare Library, the George Washington University Museum and the Textile Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the National Museum of Natural History, and Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.) Following an orientation week at Dumbarton Oaks, fellows join the collaborating institution for four to five months to acquire new skills and work on projects that include curation and exhibit preparation, research and publication, collection development or conservation, marketing and communication, and education and public outreach initiatives. During the second part of the fellowship, fellows return full-time to Dumbarton Oaks to share and apply their knowledge by proposing and implementing a new idea or contributing to an ongoing project.

Humanities Fellows are chosen for their outstanding scholarly achievements, broad cultural engagement, desire to gain and use new skills, and potential to contribute to dynamic humanities communities. The fellowships benefit individuals who may not be intent on pursuing another degree immediately after graduating, would like to learn while contributing to the advancement of group projects, and would gain from spending an academic year in Washington, DC. Recipients of the fellowship need not have been concentrators in the humanities, but should have demonstrated a strong and sustained commitment to the humanities through coursework or extracurricular activities. Their ability to communicate their vision of what the humanities mean to their own peers will be given weight in making the award. All Harvard College seniors and Harvard College alumni who have graduated within a year of the fellowship deadline are eligible.

To be considered for the fellowship, applicants should submit the following by February 1, 2019, via Crimson Careers:

  • Résumé
  • Transcript (an unofficial transcript from Registrar’s Office is acceptable)
  • An example of the applicant’s work (a written paper, article, portfolio, or project)
  • A statement of purpose that describes the applicant’s background and interests and explains how a fellowship in the humanities will further her intellectual and professional goals. The applicant should outline what skills she hopes to acquire over the course of the fellowship.
  • Two letters of recommendation to be sent by recommenders to

Interviews of short-listed candidates will be held in Cambridge in the spring. The fellowship term runs from the beginning of September to the end of May. Fellows will be provided with accommodations on the Dumbarton Oaks campus, complimentary weekday lunch in the Refectory when at Dumbarton Oaks, as well as access to the library and gardens. They will receive a stipend of $23,000 and will be eligible for medical insurance through the Dumbarton Oaks fellows’ plan. Up to six fellowships will be offered.