Princeton Society of Fellows Postdoctoral Fellowship Competition
The Princeton Society of Fellows, an interdisciplinary group of scholars in the humanities, social sciences, and selected natural sciences, calls for fellowship applications annually. Three to five postdoctoral fellows are appointed each year for three-year terms in residence to pursue research and teach half-time in their academic host department, the Program in Humanistic Studies, or other university programs.
The fellowships carry with them an appointment as lecturer in a fellow's academic host department. Fellows are provided with a competitive salary, benefits, a $5,000 research account, access to university grants, a shared office, a personal computer and other resources. Fellows are expected to reside in or near Princeton during the academic year in order to attend weekly seminars and participate fully in the intellectual life of the Society.
The application deadline for the 2020-23 fellowship competition is August 6, 2019(11:59 p.m. EST). As of 2019, the Society of Fellows' application deadline is to be the first Tuesday of August, in anticipation of Princeton University's academic calendar reform.
2020-2023 Call for Applications
For the 2020-2023 fellowship competition, five fellowships will be awarded; applicants have the option to apply for more than one fellowship pertinent to their research and teaching.
The application deadline is August 6, 2019 (11:59 p.m. EST). Please note that, for 2019 and future years, the Society of Fellows' application deadline is to be the first Tuesday of August, in anticipation of Princeton University's new academic calendar.
- Three Open Fellowships in the Humanities and Social Sciences (OPEN). Open to all disciplines represented in the Society of Fellows (see list below). The fellowship’s responsibilities include both research and teaching (one course each semester for two years, one course in the third year). The fellow will either participate in a team-taught course or offer a self-designed course, in the host department or in an interdisciplinary Program. In addition, the fellow normally does some advising in his/her specialty or related areas.
- One Fellowship in Humanistic Studies (HUM). This fellowship is sponsored jointly by the Humanities Council and Society of Fellows, and is open to candidates in humanities disciplines represented in the Society of Fellows (see list below). The fellowship’s responsibilities include both research and teaching (one course each semester for two years, one course in the third year). In the spring semester of the first two years, the fellow will join faculty from various fields to teach in the Humanities Sequence, Interdisciplinary Approaches to Western Culture from the Renaissance to the Modern Period. In the fall semester of the first year, the fellow will offer a self-designed course in the host department or an interdisciplinary program. In the fall semester of the second year, the fellow will teach an interdisciplinary course in Humanistic Studies. This course might take a more intensive look at materials from “Approaches to Western Culture” or offer an interdisciplinary approach to the fellow's own area of expertise. The fellow will be called upon to lead or contribute to occasional activities designed to build a sense of community among undergraduates in the Humanistic Studies Program—the program offers local and international field trips, an undergraduate society, workshops and other opportunities.
- One Fellowship in Race and Ethnicity Studies. The Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Study of Race and/or Ethnicity is sponsored jointly by the offices of the President and Dean of the Faculty of Princeton University, and the Society of Fellows. The fellow will be expected to pursue research that explores the discursive forms and meanings of concepts of race and ethnicity in one or more selected disciplines in the humanities and affiliated social sciences (see list below). The selection committee particularly welcomes applications from candidates whose scholarship is driven by innovative, interdisciplinary, and historical ways of thinking, including interests in pre-modern and non-western cultures. In each of the first two years, the successful candidate pursues research half-time and teaches one self-designed course each semester, either in the host department or an interdisciplinary program. In addition, the fellow normally does some advising in his/her specialty or related areas. In the third year, the fellow teaches one course in fall or spring and devotes the other semester to full-time research.
As part of the online application process, applicants will be required to choose one host department from the list below. There is no need to contact the department before submitting an application.
African American Studies, Anthropology, Architecture, Art and Archaeology, Classics, Comparative Literature, East Asian Studies, English, French and Italian, German, History, Music (limited to Musicology, Music Theory, Ethnomusicology), Near Eastern Studies, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Slavic Languages and Literatures, Sociology, Spanish and Portuguese.
In addition to a host department, applicants may choose to be affiliated with one of the University's interdisciplinary programs.
Programs of Study:
African Studies; American Studies; Ancient World; Classical Philosophy; Contemporary European Politics and Society; Environmental Studies; European Cultural Studies; Film Studies; Gender and Sexuality Studies; Hellenic Studies; History of Science; Italian Studies; Judaic Studies; Latin American Studies; Latino Studies; Linguistics; Media and Modernity; Medieval Studies; Political Philosophy; Population Studies; Renaissance Studies; Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies; South Asian Studies; Theater and Dance; Translation and Intercultural Communication; Urban Studies; Values and Public Life.
Fellowships will be awarded to applicants in the disciplines represented in the Society at the beginning of their academic career. Selection is based on exceptional scholarly achievement and evidence of unusual promise, range and quality of teaching experience, and potential contributions to an interdisciplinary community. The Society of Fellows seeks a diverse and international pool of applicants, and especially welcomes those from underrepresented backgrounds.
Ph.D. Degree Requirements:
Applicants already holding the Ph.D. degree at time of application must have received their degree between January 1, 2018 and August 6, 2019. Priority will be given to applicants who have received no more than one year of research-only funding past the Ph.D. degree.
The receipt of the Ph.D. is determined by the date on which all requirements for the degree, including the defense and filing of the dissertation, were fulfilled.
Applicants will be asked to upload a document on the application site with evidence of completion of all requirements for the Ph.D. degree (either the formal Ph.D. certificate or a degree confirmation letter from the advisor).
Applicants who are ABD (All But Dissertation) at the time of their application: Applicants who do not meet the August 6, 2019 deadline for receipt of their Ph.D. but are expected to have fulfilled all conditions for the degree, including defense and filing of dissertation, by June 15, 2020, may still apply for a postdoctoral fellowship provided they have completed a substantial portion of the dissertation (approximately half).
Applicants will be asked to upload a letter on the application site confirming “progress to degree” from either the Department Chair or Director of Graduate Studies.
ABD candidates who are awarded a fellowship will be asked to provide an official document from either the Registrar or Dean of the Graduate School by June 15, 2020 to confirm completion of all requirements for the Ph.D.
Other Eligibility Criteria:
If you have already applied to the Princeton Society of Fellows, you may not apply a second time. We therefore recommend that applicants wait until they have completed a substantial portion of the dissertation (approximately half) before applying.
Candidates for/recipients of doctorates in Education (Ed.D. or Ph.D. degrees), in Jurisprudence, the DMA, and candidates for/recipients of Ph.D. degrees from Princeton University are not eligible to apply.
The positions are subject to the University's background check policy.
Princeton University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. EEO IS THE LAW.
For the 2020-23 fellowship competition, applicants will need to submit the following documents with their online application form by the application deadline, August 6, 2019 (11:59 p.m. EST):
- 1. Cover Letter: 1½ pages maximum, single-spaced, addressed to the Search Committee. Your letter should offer a brief overview of your application.
- 2. Curriculum Vitae
- 3. Dissertation Abstract: no more than one page, single-spaced.
- 4. Writing Sample: one chapter of the dissertation or one published/forthcoming article related to your dissertation topic that best represents your intellectual interests. No more than 25 double-spaced pages (endnotes/bibliography/illustrations may be included in addition). If the text portion of the sample you wish to send is longer than 25 pages, please edit for length and summarize the deleted portions.
- 5. Research Project for the Fellowship Term: two to three double-spaced pages; no bibliography necessary. We expect this will usually take the form of a proposal for revising the dissertation in preparation for publication. However, if you have given serious thought to a second research project beyond the dissertation, and/or already prepared the dissertation for publication, you may prefer to devote some or most of the three pages to this new project.
- 6. Two Course Proposals: together these should not exceed three double-spaced pages. Briefly outline two sample courses you would be interested in teaching at Princeton. It is not necessary to include syllabi, but in addition to the course description, please provide a sample reading list. Course descriptions and reading lists together should not exceed three pages. One proposed course should offer an introduction to a topic of your choice for first and second-year students from different fields (a 200 level course at Princeton). The other course should be a more advanced undergraduate seminar in your own discipline that would have a broad appeal to juniors and/or seniors in your host department (300-400 level).
- 7. For Applicants with Ph.D. Degree: a document confirming your completion of all requirements for the Ph.D. degree. This may either be a formal Ph.D. certificate or a letter from your dissertation advisor. For ABD (All But Dissertation) Applicants only: a letter from Department Chair or Director of Graduate Studies confirming "progress to degree." Your Department Chair may write both the brief letter confirming your progress and, if you wish, one of the three letters of recommendation in support of your candidacy, but these will have to be two separate documents, as you will need to upload the "progress to degree" letter as part of your application. Referees will be contacted by us as outlined below.
Note to Chair or Director: Candidates may apply only once to the Society of Fellows. We therefore advise applicants to wait until they have a substantial portion of their dissertation completed (approximately one half of the dissertation written) before applying. The "progress to degree" letter need not contain an evaluation but should state that the candidate has a substantial portion of the dissertation completed at the time of application, and is fully expected to have completed all requirements for the Ph.D., including filing and defense, by June 15, 2020.
In addition, applicants will be asked to name three referees on the online application form. Within 24 hours following an application’s submission, referees should receive an automatic email prompting them to upload their confidential letters to the application portal. It is the applicant’s responsibility to contact referees well before submitting an application.
Reference letters should be on electronic letterhead, signed, and in PDF format, if possible. Letters may be addressed to the Search Committee. It is not necessary to mail or email a copy of the letter; additional letters beyond three cannot be considered.
Dossier services may be used for the submission of reference letters; applicants using such services should contact these for specific instructions.
While the deadline for applications is August 6, 2019 (11:59 p.m. EST), referees may upload their letters of recommendation to the online portal through August 16, 2019.
Timeline and Additional Information:
Exceptions to the application deadline cannot be granted, and edits or updates to a dossier after its submission are not possible. An application withdrawn after August 6, 2019, the application deadline, will be considered as submitted, i.e., the applicant will be ineligible to reapply in the following year.
Finalists invited to campus interviews can expect to be contacted in the second week of December. We plan to schedule campus interviews for the week of January 13, 2020. The Society of Fellows will reimburse the cost of travel and lodging associated with the interview.
All other applicants will be notified about the status of their application in early January 2020; names of fellowship winners are to be announced on the Society of Fellows’ website in summer 2020.
Applications are reviewed by faculty in the Society of Fellows and participating departments at Princeton. All application materials and the selection committee's evaluations remain confidential, and the committee is not able to provide feedback on individual applications or interviews.