SOF Early-Career Fellowships

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The Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia University brings together exceptional early-career scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences to be part of a vibrant cross-disciplinary community. In addition to teaching opportunities in affiliated departments and time for research, Fellows participate in and often organize lecture series, workshops, and other scholarly events that contribute to the intellectual life of the SOF/Heyman and the university more broadly.

Founded in the mid-1970s to encourage interdisciplinary teaching and research and housed in the Heyman Center for the Humanities since the 1980s, the Society offers one-year fellowships, renewable for up to two additional years.

The Society of Fellows is made possible by the generous support of the Mellon Foundation and the William R. Kenan Trust.


The Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia University intends to appoint a number of postdoctoral fellows in the humanities broadly construed for the academic year 2024-2025. Fellows newly appointed for 2024-2025 must have received the PhD between 1 July 2020 and 1 July 2024. The fellowship amount for 2024-2025 is $78,500. Medical benefits are provided, and subsidized housing is available. There is a $7,500 research allowance per annum.

The Society of Fellows is committed to assembling a diverse and inclusive academic community. Toward this end, we especially encourage applications from members of underrepresented groups and those whose interests contribute to realizing this goal.


PhD (or disciplinary equivalent) in the humanities or humanistic social sciences received within the past four years and completed by the fellowship start date. For the current application cycle, the PhD must have been completed between 1 July 2020 and 1 July 2024.

Please note that, in response to the COVID shutdown, we have extended the period of eligibility by a year (from three to four years past the award of the PhD).

Applicants will select one of the departments, centers, or institutes listed below as their primary affiliation:

Departments, Centers, and Institutes

  • African American and African Diaspora Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Art History & Archaeology
  • Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
  • Classics
  • East Asian Languages & Cultures
  • English & Comparative Literature
  • Film Studies
  • French
  • Germanic Languages
  • History
  • Institute for Comparative Literature and Society
  • Institute for the Study of Sexuality and Gender
  • Italian
  • Latin American and Iberian Cultures
  • Middle Eastern, South Asian, & African Studies
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Religion
  • Slavic Languages & Culture
  • Sociology


Applicants are required to submit the following:

  1. ONLINE APPLICATION: Complete and submit the online application. Please note that the online application must be submitted by the deadline in order for the submission to receive consideration.
  2. CURRICULUM VITAE: Uploaded into the online application as a PDF or Word file. No more than 4 pages.
  3. RESEARCH PROPOSAL: No more than 1500 words. Uploaded into the online application as a PDF or Word file.
  4. WRITING SAMPLE: No more than 3500 words (footnotes and bibliography may be appended and don't count towards the word limit.) Uploaded into the online application as a PDF or Word file.
  5. SAMPLE COURSE: Two-page undergraduate syllabus of your own design. Uploaded into the online application as a PDF or Word file.
  6. TWO LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION: In order for your recommenders to be alerted to your request for their recommendations, you must enter their names and emails by clicking the “Add Recommender” button found under “Reference Letters” in the side menu in the Online Application. Recommenders will receive automated notification of your request and instructions for submitting their recommendations once you have added them in the Online Application. Please be sure to follow up with your recommenders, as spam filters can interfere with the delivery of automated emails. You can check the status of recommendation submissions and resend the automated notification to your recommenders by logging into your application account. Please note that we cannot accept letters of recommendation sent via dossier services such as Interfolio.


Fellows will receive the following:


Fellows are appointed as Postdoctoral Research Scholars (Mellon Fellows) in the Society of Fellows at Columbia University and as Lecturers in appropriate departments at Columbia University (see list of Humanities Departments below). This one-year fellowship is renewable for a second and a third year.


In the first year, Fellows teach one course per semester. At least one of these courses will be in the undergraduate general education program: Contemporary Civilization. Literature Humanities, Music Humanities, Art Humanities, or Global Core. Courses in the Global Core typically explore the cultures of Africa, Asia, the Americas, and the Middle East in an historical context. For more information on Columbia’s Core Curriculum please visit second course may be a departmental course, the design of which will be determined jointly by the Fellow and the Fellow’s academic department. In the second and third years, Fellows teach one course per year, leaving one semester free of teaching responsibilities. The courses taught in the second and third years of the fellowship may be departmental courses or Core courses as described above; however, at least two of the four courses taught over the three Fellowship years must be in the Core.


In addition to teaching and research, the duties of Fellows include planning a weekly Thursday Lecture Series, which is open to members of the University community, and participating in the intellectual life of the Society and of the department with which the Fellow is affiliated. The Society also cosponsors conferences and special events planned by Fellows around their special interests.


To aid in the research process, each Fellow is assigned to a private office with a phone, and access to campus Wi-Fi. The research allowance may be used to pay for research-related expenses such as conferences, professional memberships, and research materials.

Application date
Up to 3 years
Humanities : Anthropology & Ethnology, Archaeology, Arts and Art history, Classical Studies, History, Literature, Philosophy, Theology and religion
Social sciences : Gender studies, Identities, gender and sexuality, Political science, Information and Communication Sciences, Sociology