Fellowship FAQ | Newberry

Fellowship FAQ

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Fellowships FAQ Categories:


Am I eligible for a fellowship?

Newberry fellowships are open to scholars from around the world working on individual research projects. For a complete explanation, please see Eligibility Requirements as well as specific fellowship descriptions listed under Long-Term Fellowships and Short-Term Fellowships. Applicants for the Jan and Frank Cicero, Arthur and Lila Weinberg, and the Newberry Historical Fiction Writing Fellowships are not restricted by their level of education, as the award is focused on the creative outcome of the project.

What types of projects are eligible for Newberry fellowships?

The Newberry considers research projects that utilize the Newberry’s collection to advance scholarship in the humanities. Applications that propose productive use of the Newberry’s collections are more likely to receive fellowship awards. For more information on our core collections, please visit the Newberry’s Core Collections and Catalogs and Guides pages.

If I have received a fellowship from the Newberry in the past, am I eligible to apply again?

Former Newberry fellows who have received a Short-Term Fellowship are eligible for a Long-Term Fellowship for the same project; however, they are ineligible for a second Short-Term Fellowship for the same project. The Newberry will not award a second fellowship (long-term or short-term) for a project that has already received a Long-Term Newberry Fellowship. Previous recipients of Long-Term Fellowships cannot apply for a subsequent Long-Term Fellowship for a period of five years following their initial fellowship.

I have reviewed all of the eligibility requirements and do not qualify for a fellowship. Are there other ways I can conduct research at the Newberry?

Yes. We welcome all researchers to use our library, which is free and open to the public. Please see Services for Readers and Researchers and Other Research Opportunities for more information.

Am I eligible for financial aid from the Newberry?

No. The Newberry does not offer scholarships or tuition assistance for undergraduate or graduate education.

Application Requirements

What kind of materials are required for my application?

All applicants must provide an abstract, project description, CV, and letter(s) of recommendation. For more information about the format of these materials, visit Application Guidelines.

What are the qualities of a successful application?

The Newberry considers three primary criteria for fellowship applications:

  1. The significance of the proposed project
  2. The applicant’s ability to complete the proposed project
  3. The appropriateness of the proposed project to the Newberry’s collection

For Short-Term Fellowships, criterion #3 takes on an added significance; the Newberry’s collections should be vital for the success of the proposed project.

Who should I contact with questions about the Newberry’s collections?

During Reading Room Hours, contact a Newberry librarian at the Reference Desk at 312-255-3506. To submit a question via email, please use this webform. The Newberry has a small staff that answer a large number of inquiries from patrons all over the world. Response times can vary and may take up to two weeks, depending on the number of requests in the queue and their complexity.

How do I apply for a specific Long-Term or Short-Term fellowship offered by the Newberry?

Am I more likely to receive a Long-Term Fellowship if I request fewer months of support?

No. The Newberry’s Review Panel considers the overall quality of applications when ranking projects; the number of months of fellowship support requested is not a factor in decisions.

Can I apply for both a Long- and Short-Term Fellowship in the same year?

Yes, but applicants can only accept one fellowship from the Newberry per fellowship year. Those receiving a Long-Term Fellowship will automatically be removed from consideration for a Short-Term Fellowship.

If I apply for both Long-Term and Short-Term Fellowships, do I have to fill out separate applications?

Yes. Separate applications must be submitted by their respective deadlines. Applicants can use the same abstract and CV, but the project description should reflect the research plan during the time requested.

Can I submit more than one project for consideration?

Applicants may only submit one project per fellowship type (i.e., Long-Term or Short-Term) each year.

Can the Newberry reuse my materials from a previous application?

No. Application materials from previous years may not be reused; updated materials are required, including new letters of recommendation.

Online Submissions

How do I submit my application?

The Newberry uses SlideRoom to collect application materials and letters of recommendation. Applicants must sign up for a SlideRoom account in order to submit application materials and request letters. After creating a SlideRoom account, applicants can login to SlideRoom and view a list of the Newberry’s fellowship programs.

How do I know if my application is complete?

SlideRoom automatically saves your progress and will alert the applicant if a required field has been left blank.

Did you receive my application?

After an application has been submitted successfully, applicants will see a confirmation screen with a confirmation number. An email confirmation with the same information will also be sent from SlideRoom; please check a Spam folder if the confirmation email does not arrive right away.

Can I change an answer or update my application materials after submission?

The Newberry will not accept revised materials after an application has been submitted. However, SlideRoom allows applicants to save an application in progress and modify answers at any time before submission of an application.

What should I do if I have a problem with the online portal?

SlideRoom offers Technical Support Hours to applicants Monday through Saturday from 9am to 9pm Central Time. Please fill out the form on their website for assistance.

Letters of Recommendation

Whom should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?

Applicants can ask anyone familiar with their project to write a letter of recommendation. The most successful letters address the significance of the proposed project, the value of a Newberry residency for the applicant, and the qualifications of the applicant. Letters that speak to the applicant’s project in specific, current terms are more effective than general letters from a dossier.

Do my recommenders need to create SlideRoom accounts to submit their letters?

No. SlideRoom will prompt applicants to submit contact information for recommenders. SlideRoom will then send recommenders an email containing a link where they can submit a letter.

Can my recommenders submit their letters before my application is complete?


Have you received all of my letters?

SlideRoom will send applicants a confirmation email after a recommender submits a letter. Please check a Spam folder if this email is not received. Applicants can also view the status of letters in SlideRoom and send reminders to recommenders.

What should I do if I need to change one of my recommenders?

In SlideRoom, click on the “edit” link next to the recommender you wish to edit. Recommender information can be updated or removed and new information added. Once a recommender has submitted a letter, they cannot be removed from your application.

What should I do if my recommender did not receive the email from SlideRoom requesting a letter?

Please login to SlideRoom and confirm that the recommender’s contact information is entered correctly. If the recommender is still not receiving the SlideRoom email, ask him or her to check a spam folder, add notifications@slideroom.com as a contact, and add SlideRoom as a trusted email domain.

Can you transfer my letters of recommendation for a previous application?

No. Updated letters are required. Those applying for both a Long-Term and a Short-Term Fellowship must have recommenders submit letters for each application.

Review Process

Who reviews fellowship applications?

Applications are reviewed by an interdisciplinary committee of scholars from a broad spectrum of fields and periods. We seek to establish committees that reflect the disciplinary, geographic, gender, and status diversity of the applicant pool. Due to the wide range of the Newberry’s collections, this committee might not include a scholar familiar with the applicant’s particular field of study. Therefore, successful applicants are those who articulate their project and its significance in terms that are clear to nonspecialists.

How many fellowships does the Newberry award annually?

The number of fellowship awards depends on funding sources and varies slightly from year to year. The Newberry typically awards ten Long-Term Fellowships and roughly 45 Short-Term Fellowships.

When will results of the fellowship review process be available?

Long-Term applicants will be notified of their status in late February/early March. Short-Term applicants will be notified of their status in late April/early May. For more information, please visit Dates and Deadlines.

For Accepted Fellows

When can I start my fellowship?

Long-Term Fellows should begin their residencies on the Tuesday after Labor Day in September; long-term residencies of 4 or 5 months should start either on Labor Day or in January. Short-Term Fellows may begin their residency during any month of the year, with orientation sessions on the first and third Tuesday of the month (exceptions are made for holidays that fall on a Tuesday). When planning dates in residence, please keep in mind that the Newberry is closed on Sundays and holidays. Fellows are also welcome to stay in residence beyond their fellowship dates at their own expense.

Can I defer my fellowship to next year?

No. Fellowships must be taken during the academic year for which they are awarded. For Short-Term Fellowships, this includes a fifteen-month window from June 1 and August 31 of the awarded academic year.

Can I divide my fellowship up into more than one visit?

No. Long-Term and Short-Term Fellowships at the Newberry require continuous residency. In rare circumstances and cases of special need, we will consider a request to divide the months awarded, as long as they are taken during the same fellowship year.

What is continuous residency?

Fellows are expected to be in residence at the Newberry for their entire fellowship period without any major interruptions. Fellows should be at the Newberry at least four days per week and participate in the scholarly life of the institution. Exceptions are made for academic conferences and family obligations, but lengthy (beyond a day or two) or unexpected absences will need the approval of the Vice President for Research and Academic Programs.

Can I remain in residence after my fellowship ends?

Yes. Fellows are welcome to extend their Newberry residency; however, the amount of the fellowship stipend cannot be increased. Foreign scholars, however, must comply with U.S. Department of State regulations regarding their visas.

I received a four-month fellowship; can I start early so that I can still teach in the fall?

No. Long-Term Fellowships are meant to provide a reprieve from teaching and to build community at the Newberry. Applicants unable to take time off from teaching are encouraged to apply for a Short-Term Fellowship. Long-Term Fellows are expected to be in continuous residency during the academic year (September - May) and take part in regularly scheduled activities, including the Fellows’ Seminar, Colloquium, and Fellows’ Lunch.

Can I visit other Chicago collections during my fellowship?

Fellows are welcome to use other Chicago libraries and archives during their fellowship provided that they sustain residency of four days per week at the Newberry. The exception to this rule is the Newberry Consortium in American Indian Studies (NCAIS) Graduate Student Fellowships, which provide opportunities for study at multiple archives.

Are visas available to non-US citizens?

Yes. The Newberry is authorized by the U.S. Department of State to issue DS-2019 forms that can be used by foreign scholars to secure a J-1 visa for the period of their fellowship. However, the Newberry cannot provide any additional funding for visa fees, which are the responsibility of the fellow.

What type of housing is available to fellows?

Fellows must arrange their own housing during their residency. The Newberry offers some suggestions for nearby accommodations, including neighborhood apartments, hotels, and other housing.

When will I receive my fellowship stipend?

Stipends are available to fellows upon arrival to the Newberry. Stipends can be processed through a fellow’s home institution.