Yale Institute of Sacred Music Postdoctoral Associates Program


The quality, significance, and focus of the work fellows propose to do during the residency are of paramount importance in the selection process. Each fellow will undertake a substantive and original project that relates to the mission of the Institute. This could be original scholarship, an art exhibition, a musical composition, or work of creative writing, etc. ISM Fellows may work in a variety of academic and artistic disciplines, including but not limited to anthropology, architecture, art history, composition, creative writing, ethnomusicology, film studies, languages and literatures, liturgical studies, musicology, religion and literature, religious studies, ritual studies, sociology, theatre studies, and theology. The work applicants propose to pursue must support the mission of the Institute, and fellows are expected to work primarily on this project during their year in residence.

Fellows commit themselves to meet weekly in the ISM Colloquium, then with their cohort at weekly Fellows lunches, and they are asked to share their work in at least one public presentation per semester. One presentation during the year will be a public lecture, while the other may be work-in-progress shared in the smaller, less formal gathering of fellows. 

The fellowship year normally lasts from August 20 to May 15. All fellows are expected to be free of commitments that would prevent them from devoting themselves full time to the work outlined in their proposal and to live in residence within ten miles of the Yale campus.

Financial Support

Stipends for post-doctoral associates range between $48,000 and $55,000 (depending on teaching duties) plus health benefits (if needed). Fellows may apply for research funds, and the Institute will reimburse reasonable moving expenses.


Candidates are eligible to apply as post-doctoral associates if they have fewer than six years of related experience following the terminal degree, and are not yet employed as full-time regular faculty. These fellowships are typically one-year long, though in rare circumstances, fellowships may be granted for two or even three years. Teaching is required for post-doctoral associates.

Fellows are expected to live within a 10-mile radius of campus. In some cases, the Institute provides additional grants toward housing for the fellowship year. 


Post-doctoral associates are expected to teach. Courses are proposed as part of the application process and are reviewed by the relevant department. Post-doctoral associates may teach no more than one course per term.

Courses taught need not be newly created for Yale, but may be one previously taught by the applicant at other academic institutions. Courses are proposed as part of the application and are reviewed by the appropriate department or school. Fellows may also be invited to lecture in classes taught by Yale faculty throughout the year.

Yale is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer. Yale values diversity in its faculty, staff, and students and especially encourages applications from women and underrepresented minorities.

Application Process

All materials must be written and submitted in English. The application requires:

  • Personal data (including education and professional work).

  • Curriculum-vitae, not to exceed 10 pages in length.
  • A statement of not more than 1400 words describing the proposed scholarly or creative project intended for the year. The body of the proposal should describe the project, explain the significance of the topic, and place the work within the context of relevant disciplines. This project must relate to the mission of the Institute. The proposal should describe in detail the relationship to the mission, and explain how a year’s residence at the Institute would enhance this work. A brief bibliography should be included when appropriate.
  • A 150-word abstract of the proposal.
  • A sample of scholarly or artistic work. Scholars should submit no more than 30 pages of published writings. Religious leaders and artists should submit a roughly equivalent example of their creative work (for example, sermons, liturgies, artwork, plays, compositions, etc.).
  • Fellow applicants who wish to teach, as well as all Postdoctoral Associate applicants (who are expected to teach) should include a brief description of one to three courses and the departments or schools in which these courses might be taught as well as a  course title, weekly lecture topics, and short reading list. Additional information may be required of fellows after they have been invited to come.
  • Three letters of reference from qualified leaders in the applicant’s field. Letters should include an evaluation of the applicant’s research proposal and his or her capacity to fulfill it. The online application requires a list of the names, positions, and contact information of recommenders who will be asked to submit their letters online. If a recommender has no access to email, the applicant should notify us at ismfellows@yale.edu(link sends e-mail).

Application deadline for receipt of all materials is November 1.

Fellowships may also be given in either fall or spring, though applicants who are available for the entire year are strongly favored. Funding support is pro-rated accordingly, and applicants may indicate this desire on the application form.

Clustered Applications. The Institute also welcomes applications from a cluster of qualified individuals who wish to work on a common project in addition to individual candidates. Each person must complete a separate application and note that the application is part of a cluster. The same guidelines apply in every other way.

Application date
1 academic year
Social sciences : Geography, Gender studies, Identities, gender and sexuality, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences, Political science, Information and Communication Sciences, Sociology