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Frequently Asked Questions for Fellowship Applicants


Please read and follow the online instructions. Applications, to be written in English, must be submitted electronically by November 1. Junior Fellowship applicants must upload their graduate record transcripts to the application portal by November 1. Three letters of recommendation are required for all applicants and are also due November 1. Late applications will not be accepted. Awards will be announced by March and must be accepted by the end of the month. External committees of scholars decide the awards. Individuals currently affiliated with Dumbarton Oaks are not eligible for the fellowship and project grant programs. For further inquiries, please contact

What are the System and Browser requirements for using the online application?

System Requirements: Windows NT and above, or OS 8.6 and above.

Supported Browsers:Campus Embark is compatible with all browsers; Chrome and Firefox are recommended.

Other requirements: Adobe Reader or other software to view PDF files; Excel for Project Grant Applications.

How can I get technical support?

Applicants should refer to the Embark Application Support page which will aid you in navigating any technical problems that arise. To access the page, click on the “Help” tab on the bottom right of the application page.

This will take you to the Embark Application Support page where you can “Submit a Request” detailing the issue or email the Technical Support team directly at

My recommenders are having problems submitting their letter of recommendation. What is causing the problem?

It may be due to a browser incompatibility issue. The Embark Tech Support Team strongly recommends using the latest versions of Chrome or Firefox to access the online recommendation website. You can also contact the Embark Tech Support Team directly at

Recommenders who continue to encounter problems with submitting their letters of recommendation online AFTER contacting Embark, may email their letters directly to the Manager of Academic Programs at

Eligibility and Visas

What are the degree requirements for different fellowship categories?

Fellowships are for individuals holding appropriate terminal degrees (e.g., PhD, MLA) at the time of the application deadline.

Junior Fellowships are for degree candidates who at the time of application have fulfilled all preliminary requirements for a PhD or appropriate final degree and will be working on a dissertation or final project at Dumbarton Oaks under the direction of a faculty member at their own university. Graduate students who do not have the PhD in hand by the application deadline of November 1 must apply as Junior Fellows. Successful applicants for Junior Fellowships who have the PhD in hand by the beginning of the fellowship term may be granted the status and stipend of Fellows.

Summer Fellowships are for Byzantine and Pre-Columbian scholars on any level of advancement beyond the first year of graduate (post-baccalaureate) study. The fellowships support full-time pursuit of a research project and use of the Dumbarton Oaks collections.

The I Tatti–Dumbarton Oaks Joint Fellowship is available to early- and mid-career scholars whose work explores cross-cultural contacts in and beyond the late medieval and early modern Mediterranean.2.

The Flora Clancy Summer Fellowship in Maya Studies for Latin American Researchers is for scholars on any level of advancement beyond the first year of graduate study (post-Licenciatura) who are academically based in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, or El Salvador.

Mellon Summer Fellowships in Urban Humanities are for scholars holding a terminal degree (e.g., PhD, MLA) or degree candidates who at the time of application have fulfilled all preliminary requirements for a PhD or appropriate final degree.

Are fellowships offered to non-US citizens?

Yes. Dumbarton Oaks sponsors J1 visas for fellows (and, when possible, J2 visas for accompanying legal dependents) who meet the following requirements from the state department website: Determining visa eligibility is the responsibility of the prospective fellow; all non-US citizens are strongly urged to check their prospective visa status for the requested period of the Fellowship prior to submitting an application. Please scroll down for more information about the visa process.

What is the process for obtaining a J1 visa after a fellowship offer has been accepted?

The visa process has four main steps, and typically takes six to eight weeks:

Fill out a J1 visa eligibility form provided by Dumbarton Oaks and submit to the Manager of Academic Programs (

Receive your DS-2019 form from Dumbarton Oaks and make an online payment of the SEVIS fee.

Schedule an appointment with your local U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as possible; appointment times are often not readily available.

Receive your physical visa at the embassy or consulate interview appointment.
How long before the J1 program starts can a fellow arrive in the United States?

A fellow may not arrive more than 30 days before the program start date shown on the issued DS-2019. Upon completion of the exchange program (fellowship), there is a grace period of 30 days to depart the United States. The program dates on the DS-2019 correspond with the dates of the fellowship term.

Do students on an F1 visa need to apply for a J1?

Usually no. Junior fellows may continue on their university’s F1 visa sponsorship for the duration of their fellowship, but must alert their institution’s visa sponsorship office.

Please visit the State Department website for further information:

Living and Working at Dumbarton Oaks

Are fellows provided with housing?

Fellows are normally assigned a furnished apartment near the campus. When Dumbarton Oaks cannot offer housing, it reserves the right to offer a set monthly housing allowance instead. All allocations of housing or a housing allowance are final and at the discretion of Dumbarton Oaks. The Fellowship House is equipped with a gym for the use of fellows while in residence.

What is the residence requirement for the Fellowship?

Dumbarton Oaks fellowships are residential awards that place great emphasis on the exchange of ideas and on the spirit of community among fellows who live and work in close proximity. Fellows are expected to be present at Dumbarton Oaks during the entire period of their fellowship, except for the interval between the Christmas and New Year’s Holidays (December 24–January 1). Approved absences may not total more than one week per term or two weeks per academic year.

Is a travel reimbursement offered for taking up the fellowship?

Yes; Dumbarton Oaks reimburses travel directly related to taking up the fellowship, up to a maximum of $1,600 for international travel or $1,100 for U.S. domestic travel. (Travel submitted for reimbursement must take place close to the start and end dates of the fellowship.) Tickets obtained with airline frequent-flyer miles (or other points or incentive programs) are not reimbursable. The travel reimbursement applies to the lowest roundtrip economy-class airfare between the Fellow’s home and Washington, DC; or train fare/auto mileage, not to exceed the cost of the lowest available airfare. Dumbarton Oaks will reimburse the cost of the Fellow’s visa SEVIS fee, if applicable.

Are fellows assigned a workspace?

Fellows are assigned, for the duration of their award, either an office or a designated carrel in the Research Library (or comparable facilities elsewhere on campus, as appropriate). Offices and carrels are equipped with phones. Fellows are not provided with computers and should arrange to bring their personal laptop.

Is lunch provided to fellows?

Fellows are provided with a buffet lunch free of charge in the Refectory on weekdays for the duration of their fellowship (with the exception of institutional closures). Dumbarton Oaks emphasizes community and a good deal of informal contact takes place at lunchtime.

May fellows be accompanied by family members?

Dumbarton Oaks is welcoming to families. The Fellowship House is very close to the campus and the public library, public transport, a supermarket, and many businesses. Fellows with partners (spouses or registered domestic partners) and children (minors) who are declared at the time of the November application receive accommodations on a first-come, first-served basis, depending on availability. We regret that we may not be able to fulfill all requests. Occasionally, we reserve the right to decline housing partners and children when resources are scarce, or to offer a set housing allowance instead of accommodations. Due to IRS and medical insurance requirements, we can consider providing visa sponsorship and medical insurance only to legal partners (spouses or registered domestic partners) and dependents. Requests for visa sponsorship and medical insurance for legal partners and dependents must be consistent with what was indicated at the time of application, and must be made at the time of acceptance of the fellowship offer.

Does Dumbarton Oaks provide health insurance for fellows and accompanying family members?

Fellows are eligible for the Dumbarton Oaks Blue Choice HMO Open Access plan and the cost is shared by Dumbarton Oaks and the Fellow. (Fellows currently pay 15% of the cost.) Coverage is for the period of residence; family coverage includes the legal spouse or partner and dependent children if the names are declared at the time of the fellowship application.

Is there a smoking policy?

Dumbarton Oaks is a smoking-free campus: smoking is prohibited in all Dumbarton Oaks buildings and on the grounds, including the garden. Fellows who do not comply with the non-smoking policy may have their fellowship revoked, and charges will be applied if accommodations need to be cleaned.

Are there public transportation options to Dumbarton Oaks?

Dumbarton Oaks is located in an urban neighborhood with easy access to public transport, and close proximity to grocery and other stores. Fellowship House accommodations are within walking distance to the Library and other amenities. The Fellowship House and Dumbarton Oaks buildings provide bicycle racks, and rental bicycles are readily available in the vicinity. Fellows are strongly discouraged from bringing a car to Dumbarton Oaks, and parking is extremely scarce. The few parking spaces that may be available will be assigned, in order of priority, to Fellows requiring accommodations under the terms of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), fellows who live within 70 miles of Dumbarton Oaks and therefore do not receive housing; and families with young children.