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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, D.C., to graduating seniors and recent graduates of Harvard College. Recipients of these postgraduate fellowships will reside at Dumbarton Oaks and split their time between the research institute and a collaborating organization in Washington, D.C. In 2016–17, our collaborators are the Folger Shakespeare Library, the George Washington University Museum, and the National Gallery of Art.

Current and Former Humanities Fellows

Following an orientation week at Dumbarton Oaks, fellows will be embedded in the collaborating institution for four to six months, in order to acquire new skills and work on a project. During the latter part of their Fellowship, they will return full-time to Dumbarton Oaks to share and apply the knowledge they have acquired by conceiving a new project related to their recent experience, or contributing to an ongoing Dumbarton Oaks project.

Dumbarton Oaks is an internationally renowned research institute, museum, and garden of Harvard University located in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Fellows will collaborate at one of a range of museums, libraries, archives, and collections in the nation’s capital, where they will develop new skills by working on projects that may include curation and exhibit preparation; research and publication; conservation and cultural preservation; marketing and communication; education and outreach; program evaluation and strategic planning; and other projects relating to the humanities.

The fellowship aims to enable 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. During their tenure, they will supplement their undergraduate education with hands-on experience in museums, libraries, archives, cultural non-profits, and related institutions. They will also have the opportunity to contribute to the culture and mission of Dumbarton Oaks, through knowledge transfer and innovation. Dumbarton Oaks hopes that Humanities Fellows will also benefit by participating in its lively socio-intellectual life.

The fellowships are merit-based. Dumbarton Oaks Humanities Fellows will be chosen for outstanding scholarly achievements, broad cultural engagement, desire to gain and use new skills, and potential to contribute to dynamic humanities communities. The fellowships are meant to 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, D.C., in particular. 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 generation 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 November 28 via Crimson Careers:

  • Résumé
  • Transcript (an unofficial transcript from Registrar’s Office is acceptable). 
  • An example of your work: a written paper, article, portfolio, or project
  • A statement of purpose that describes your background and interests and explains how a fellowship in the Humanities will further your intellectual and professional goals. To help us understand which project might best suit you, please outline what skills you hope to acquire over the course of the Fellowship.
  • In addition, please arrange for two letters of recommendation to be sent by your recommenders to

Interviews of shortlisted candidates will be held in Cambridge during late January. 

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 Library and Garden privileges. They will receive a stipend of $23,000, and will be eligible for medical insurance through the Dumbarton Oaks Fellows’ plan. They will also have a small research budget to attend a conference related to their academic or professional interests. Up to four fellowships will be offered.