Eligibility Guidelines and Application Materials

Application Materials
Letters of Recommendation
Science, Engineering, and Mathematics
Troubleshooting the Application Portal
Selection Process
Application Deadlines


+ I am currently enrolled in a PhD/Master's program but will graduate before September—am I eligible to apply?
Applicants cannot be students in doctoral or master's programs at the time of application submission unless the dissertation has been accepted and degree is forthcoming (and field-specific eligibility requirements have been met). Applicants must demonstrate a strong body of independent work that has been published, exhibited, or performed.

+ What are the eligibility requirements to apply for a Harvard Radcliffe Fellowship?
Harvard Radcliffe Fellows demonstrate an extraordinary level of accomplishment. This is not intended to serve as a post-doctoral fellowship. Applicants must demonstrate a strong body of independent research and writing.

Applicants in the humanities and social sciences must:
1. Have received their doctorate (or appropriate terminal degree) in the area of their proposed project at least two years prior to their appointment as a fellow (December 2023 for the 2025-26 fellowship year). Appropriate terminal degrees include PhD, MD, and JD.
2. Have published a monograph or at least two articles in refereed journals or edited collections.

Applicants in science, engineering, and mathematics must:
1. Have received their doctorate in the area of the proposed project at least two years prior to their appointment as a fellow (December 2023 for the 2025-26 fellowship year).
2. Have published at least five articles in refereed journals. Most science, engineering, and math fellows have published dozens of articles.

Applicants in the creative arts must meet discipline-specific eligibility requirements, as outlined below:
  • Film and Video: Applicants in this discipline must have a body of independent work of significant achievement. Such work will typically have been exhibited in galleries or museums, shown in film or video festivals, or broadcast on television.
  • Visual Arts: Applicants in this discipline must show strong evidence of achievement, with a record of at least five years of work as a professional artist, including participation in several curated group shows and at least two professional solo exhibitions.
  • Fiction and Nonfiction: Applicants in these disciplines must have one of the following:
    a) one or more published books;
    b) a contract for the publication of a book-length manuscript; or
    c) at least three shorter works (longer than newspaper articles) published.
  • Poetry: Applicants in this discipline must have had at least 20 poems or a book of poetry published in the last five years, and must be in the process of completing a manuscript.
  • Journalism: Applicants in this discipline are required to have worked professionally as a journalist for at least five years.
  • Playwriting: Applicants in this discipline must have a significant body of independent work in the form. This will include, most typically, plays produced or under option.
  • Music Composition: It is desirable, but not required, for applicants in music composition to have a PhD or DMA. Most importantly, the applicant must show strong evidence of achievement as a professional artist, with a record of recent performances.
Former Harvard Radcliffe fellows (1999-present) are ineligible to apply.

+ Can I apply if I am not a US citizen?
Yes. Applicants from throughout the world are encouraged to apply. Harvard University typically sponsors J-1 scholar visas for Harvard Radcliffe Fellows.

+ I am an independent scholar/artist/I am not affiliated with an institution. Am I eligible to apply?
Yes. You do not need to be affiliated with an academic institution to be eligible to apply.

+ Does the Harvard Radcliffe Fellowship Program accept group projects?
Yes, we accept group applications of no more than two individuals who, if selected, would take two fellowship spots (two stipends, two offices, etc.). Both group members must meet the eligibility requirements for their fields. The two applicants must propose to work collaboratively on the same project throughout the fellowship year.

How to apply as a group:
  • Each member of the group must register as a user on the application portal and submit a separate application. At the Individual or Group question on the General Information page of the application, select Group, and list the names of both group members, including yourself, in the available fields.
  • Each group member should submit an individual CV and writing sample.
  • Both group members should upload the same project proposal, making special note in your proposal about the nature of your collaboration.
  • We encourage applicants within a group to ask for letters from different recommenders. If there is a recommender who is well-suited to speak to your group's proposed project as a whole, or who has worked closely with both group members, they can be listed as a recommender for both group members and may upload the same letter.

Back to Top

Application Materials

+ What does the application include?
The application consists of an application form, curriculum vitae, project proposal (with bibliography when appropriate), a writing or work sample, and the contact information of three references who will be prompted, via email, to upload letters of recommendation in support of your application. All materials must be submitted via our online application portal.

+ Can I re-submit my application from a previous year?
No, applicants who have applied in the past must submit a new application.

+ How do I start an application?
Register as a new user by entering your name, email address, and password responses on the New User Registration page of the online application. Once you have registered, you may log in to the portal here and select an application area: Humanities and Social Sciences, Creative Arts (including Journalists and Nonfiction writers), or Science, Engineering, and Mathematics.

+ What discipline should I select if my work is interdisciplinary in nature?
Applicants may designate a primary discipline and are given the option to designate an additional disciplinary area. You may select this additional area from a drop-down menu or write your own description in the answer field.

We advise applicants to select the discipline that best fits their proposed project and educational, professional, or artistic background and the discipline for which they have met the eligibility requirements. We often support fellows whose work crosses disciplinary borders—in fact, we believe Radcliffe is a great intellectual home for such work. We make every effort to find readers with the background and expertise to properly evaluate the applications we receive.

+ The application asks me to list any "additional required resources." What does this mean?
We want to make sure that the Institute will be able to support you in your work. We do our best to accommodate the varying software/hardware needs of our fellows, but some equipment will be beyond our means. With the information you provide in response to this question, we can work to assess available resources at Harvard University.

+ How long should my curriculum vitae be?
Your curriculum vitae should be no longer than six pages and emphasize only your most significant achievements, publications, exhibits, etc.

+ What should I include in the project proposal?
Your project proposal should begin with a 150-word abstract summarizing your proposed project. The abstract must be comprehensible to a person in any discipline. The recommended format for the abstract is:
  • 1–2 sentences of basic introduction to the field
  • 1–2 sentences clearly describing the project being pursued
  • 1 sentence describing the material/sources/archives to be used
  • 2–3 sentences providing a broader perspective of how the project will contribute to the discipline/society.
The body of your proposal should describe the project, explaining the significance of the topic, placing the work in the context of your field, and indicating how the project would contribute to your field. Be clear about the theory and methodology. Cite the work of others, if relevant; indicate the status of any project already begun and any data already collected.

All applicants should write for an informed but broad disciplinary audience. All proposals will be evaluated by experts in the relevant field. Finalists are reviewed by a multidisciplinary committee.

+ How long should my proposal be? How should it be formatted?
Your project proposal should contain no more than 1,400 words, beginning with a 150-word abstract summarizing the proposed project. (The 150-word abstract counts as part of the 1,400-word limit on the proposal.) The proposal should be in 12-point font, double-spaced, with a 1-inch margin.

+ Are footnotes included in the proposal word count? Can images be included?
Footnotes or works cited will not be included in the word count for your proposal. You may include images, though we encourage you to compress them so that your file does not exceed the maximum file size that can be uploaded (10 MB).

+ Can I see a sample of a successful project proposal?
While we cannot provide an example of a successful proposal, every fellow who has been in residence at Radcliffe has a brief description of their fellowship project on our website, and we encourage applicants to review these for examples of the types of projects we support.

+ I read that your institute has particular focus areas. Do projects have to be related to one of those to be accepted?
No. Proposals may be on any topic.

+ Do I have to submit a bibliography? Are there specific formatting/length guidelines for the bibliography? What should be included in my bibliography?
It is optional to submit a bibliography, as some projects will not require it. Most applicants in the humanities and social sciences submit a bibliography of 1–3 pages in length. The formatting is up to each applicant.

The bibliography is used by reviewers to understand how you situate your project within current scholarship, and to assess whether you are familiar with the relevant literature in your field. It is fine to include a bibliography of works you have already consulted or a bibliography of works you intend to consult, though please clearly indicate which of these you are submitting.

+ What should I submit as a work sample?
For applicants in the humanities and social sciences: If you have completed writing relevant to your proposed project, please include that (even if it is unpublished). Otherwise, please upload a published article or book chapter. The maximum length is 40 pages.

Applicants in science, engineering, and mathematics should submit three published articles.

For applicants in the creative arts, our writing/work sample guidelines vary by discipline:
  • Applicants in fiction and nonfiction should submit a recent book chapter, short story, manuscript, or article, approximately 30 pages total. Submitted material should be related to your project. If not related to it, published material is required.
  • Applicants in poetry should submit up to 10 poems.
  • Applicants in journalism should submit three substantive published articles, approximately 30 pages total. Applicants in this discipline may also submit up to 15 minutes of work on YouTube, Vimeo, or Soundcloud on the Journalism Supporting Materials Upload page.
  • Applicants in playwriting should submit one play or a section of a play, no more than 30 pages total.
  • Applicants in visual arts should submit 12 images and, if applicable, up to 3 moving-image excerpts on the Visual Arts Supporting Materials Upload page.
  • Applicants in film and video should submit a maximum of 15 minutes of work on YouTube or Vimeo on the Film and Video Supporting Materials Upload page. If your total submission sample exceeds 15 minutes in run time, please provide the timestamps of 15 minutes’ worth of material that you would like to be evaluated.
  • Applicants in music should submit one to three samples of recent compositions on Soundcloud, YouTube or Vimeo on the Music Supporting Materials Upload page. All samples should be accompanied by written scores, except for electronic or improvisational work.
+ Can I upload more than one article/story/excerpt for my sample if, combined, they are less than the page limits designated above?
Yes, you can submit more than one piece up to the designated page limit. Please note: these must be combined and uploaded as a single file.

+ How strict are the page limits?
We encourage you to respect the page limits to the best of your ability but submitting a document slightly over the page limits outlined above will not disqualify your application from review. Application readers typically become frustrated with overly long samples.

+ Can I submit application materials in a language other than English? Can I submit application materials in translation?
All application materials must be in English.

Back to Top

Letters of Recommendation

+ How many letters of recommendation may I include?
Three letters of recommendation must be submitted. No more than three letters will be accepted.

+ What should I take into consideration when asking for letters of recommendation?
We advise that you request letters from individuals who can speak to the merits of your proposed project, your record of achievement, and your collegiality.

If applicable: We advise that only one of three recommenders be from your home institution and only one of three recommenders be from a dissertation committee member. We encourage applicants not to request letters from their dissertation advisor if they are more than five years past their PhD, barring special circumstances.

Lab-based scientists whose proposed projects involve collaboration with a local, Boston-based lab must include a letter of support from the lab as one of the three letters of recommendation.

For applicants in writing: Please do not request letters from current editors or agents who may have a conflict of interest in recommending your work.

+ How do I request recommendation letters via the application portal?
Please select the "Add Recommender" button on the Listing of Recommenders page in the application and complete the required information in the window that is displayed. Please verify the email address with your recommender. You may include a personalized message to your recommender and attach your proposal. Once you select "Send Email to Recommender," an email will be sent to your recommender with instructions for how to upload their letter in support of your application.

After sending the request, the recommender's name will appear in the "Recommender Status" section, along with the status of the letter itself. The current status of the letter will be listed in red. The three stages are Email Sent, In Progress, and Submitted.

+ Do you send my application materials to the recommenders I designate?
No, but you are given the option when submitting recommenders’ information to attach your project proposal with the request for a recommendation. We encourage you to share separately any information you feel your recommenders may need to write in support of your project.

+ Are letters from a dossier service (e.g., Interfolio) accepted?
No, we do not accept letters from dossier services.

+ When are my recommendation letters due?
Letters of recommendation are due by the application deadline: September 12, 2024, for applicants in the humanities, social sciences, and creative arts; October 3, 2024, for applicants in science, engineering, and mathematics. Please notify your recommenders well ahead of the deadline so they have sufficient time to submit your letters.

+ Can you tell me whether you have received the letters from my recommenders?
You can keep track of the status of your letters via the "Track Recommenders" link on the portal homepage (even after your application has been submitted). If you have any other questions about the status of your letters, please contact the Applications Office at HarvardRadcliffeFellowship@radcliffe.harvard.edu.

+ What if my recommender says they have not received an email request or are encountering an issue accessing the reference portal?
Please confirm that you listed the correct email address for your recommender. If the email address you entered is correct, please advise the recommender to check their spam/junk folder in case the instructions were routed there. If they do not see the instructions there, please write to us at HarvardRadcliffeFellowship@radcliffe.harvard.edu and we will troubleshoot the issue.

Back to Top

Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

+ What are some examples of the kinds of projects in the sciences that are well suited for a Harvard Radcliffe fellowship?
1) Scientists proposing to write a book reflecting on the larger implications of their research or who wish to communicate to new audiences.
2) Scientists who are interested in projects that cross disciplinary lines.
3) Projects that do not rely on extensive infrastructure—e.g., research in theoretical fields, data science, computer science, mathematics, statistics, and so on.
4) Scientists whose projects are in collaboration with a lab or group at a local, Boston-based institution.

+ If I am a lab-based scientist and my proposed project involves collaborating with a local, Boston-based lab, how should I address this in my application?
Applicants of this type must contact a potential lab host for their project prior to applying. Of your three letters of recommendation, one must be a letter of support from the host of a local lab.

+ I run a lab at my home institution. How have previous fellows been able to manage their lab from afar during the fellowship year?
Fellows who run labs at their home institution have found it helpful to set up regular videoconference meetings with lab members. It is also helpful to set expectations with your collaborators about when and how you can be available to them. Many fellows choose to travel back to their labs once or twice during the year, during scheduled breaks in our program. There are two scheduled breaks during the fellowship year (five weeks in winter and one week in March).

Back to Top

Selection Process

+ Who evaluates my application?
Each application we receive is reviewed in a two-tiered process—first by experts in the relevant field, then by a multidisciplinary committee charged with selecting a diverse class of fellows of the highest achievement and potential.

+ What are the evaluation criteria?
Applications are evaluated on the quality and significance of the proposed project and the applicant's intellectual and creative capacity, as evidenced by a strong record of achievement or extraordinary promise. We seek diversity along every dimension, including geography, ethnicity and race, stage in career, and ideological perspective. As a uniquely multidisciplinary community, we highly value collegiality and openness to cross-disciplinary conversation.

+ When will I be notified of the results?
Applicants will be notified of the results of the selection process by email in March 2025.

+ If I am not selected as a Fellow, may I reapply?
Yes, applicants may reapply during the next cycle.

+ What if I receive another fellowship offer before hearing back from Radcliffe?
If you are offered another fellowship, please let us know. If you decide to accept another fellowship before our selection process has been completed, please tell us so that we may withdraw your application from consideration.

+ Can I receive feedback on my application?
We are unable to provide feedback on applications.

Back to Top

Troubleshooting the Application Portal

+ What do I do if the portal does not recognize my password?
If you have clicked through the "Forgotten your password?" link to the Password Reset page and have filled out your email address, but you are still not receiving an email with your temporary password, please first check your spam/junk folder to make sure the reset email is not being routed there. If you still cannot find email instructions with your temporary password, contact us at HarvardRadcliffeFellowship@radcliffe.harvard.edu.

+ File Upload–what formats are accepted? What is the maximum file size?
Files will be accepted in Word (.doc or .docx) or PDF format although the preferred format is PDF. Please also note that the maximum allowed file size is 10 MB.

For Visual Arts applicants, image files will be accepted in JPG, GIF, or PNG format only. Each file should be up to 3MB.

+ How can I save/print a copy of my application once I've completed it?
Before you submit your application, you can click the View/Print Application page to save and/or print your application. After you have submitted your application, you may still log onto the application portal and click the Print Application link under Track Recommenders to save and/or print your completed application.

+ How can I confirm that my application has been successfully submitted?
You will receive a confirmation email notifying you that your application has been successfully submitted. You will still be able to access a "Track Recommenders" link on the portal homepage to see the status of your recommendation letters even after your application has been submitted.

+ My proposal document looked fine in MS Word, but after I uploaded it, all the formatting changed and made it difficult to read. Why did this happen and how can I fix it? Will this affect the review of my application?
Our system converts your uploaded document to Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). Slight variations in formatting are a byproduct of the conversion process. Our reviewers are aware of this, and slight irregularities will not affect the review of your application. To avoid problems in the conversion process, we recommend that you convert your document to a PDF and upload that version. Alternatively, you should use simple formatting insofar as possible. You can check your original document as follows:
• Using the "show formatting" function on your computer, look for formatting that might have created problems, such as hard returns at the end of each line, text included in tables, diacritical marks, footnotes or endnotes, unnecessary page or section breaks, etc.
• Delete unnecessary formatting and try uploading your document again.

+ My proposal includes non-English language characters. Will the system support these?
The PDF conversion software does not support all non-English language characters. If your written supporting materials include such characters, please convert your document to PDF using Word ("Save as Adobe PDF") and upload the PDF version instead.

+ My proposal was exactly the correct length in my original document, but when I viewed the PDF version of my upload, it exceeded the required page limit. What should I do?
The PDF conversion process can cause formatting changes that affect the length of your document. Please do not be concerned; slight variations are common and are not taken into consideration in judging proposals.

+ I uploaded the file of my project proposal yesterday, but the website is not showing (in red) that it has been successfully uploaded. I received the following message on the webpage: FILE UPLOAD STATUS: FILE BEING CONVERTED. Should I try to upload it again?
First try refreshing the page. If your document has been uploaded, the file name should appear under "FILE UPLOAD STATUS" as a hyperlink. You can confirm that the file has been uploaded successfully by clicking on the hyperlink and viewing your file. If the link does not appear, try uploading your document again. If it fails to upload the second time, then there may be a problem with the document. Contact HarvardRadcliffeFellowship@radcliffe.harvard.edu and attach a copy of your document; if necessary, we will manually convert it for you.

+ I cannot print my application. When I click the View/Print Application link, the PDF document comes up on the screen, but I get a message saying it cannot be printed.
There may be an issue with the browser or computer you are using. Please try another browser or computer to see if you get the same results. Please also ensure you have installed the latest version of your browser.

+ I use Mac OS and am having difficulty viewing the converted PDF file and/or the complete PDF application when I click the View/Print Application link.
Please make sure that you have the latest version of your browser. Please also try another browser to see if you get the same results.

+ I'm trying to format the text within the application form using HTML but the formatting does not appear in the PDF version of the application.
The application form does not support HTML markup formatting.

Back to Top

Application Deadlines

+ When is the application due?
For applicants in the humanities, social sciences, and creative arts: Your complete application, including letters of recommendation, should be submitted by Thursday, September 12, 2024 (11:59 PM ET).

For applicants in science, engineering, and mathematics: Your complete application, including letters of recommendation, should be submitted by Thursday, October 3, 2024 (11:59 PM ET).

Please note: Applications Office staff will be available to assist until 5:00 PM ET on those days.

Back to Top