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Frequently Asked Questions for Mellon Postdoctoral Fellows

Q Is the competition open to non-U.S. citizens?[+]


Q What degree qualifications must I have to be eligible to apply?[+]

You must have received or expect to receive a qualified PhD in a relevant field of the humanities within the timeframe specified for a given year's competition. Doctorates in Arts (DA) and other doctoral degree equivalents may apply but are unlikely to be selected.

Q Is the competition open to currently employed academics?[+]

Yes, provided you received a qualified PhD within the time frame specified for the year you apply.

Q Is the competition open to those who are already serving in a postdoctoral position?[+]

Yes, provided you received a qualified PhD within the degree window.

Q Can I apply for a field outside my PhD field of study?[+]

Applicants are not necessarily required to apply to the fields in which they earned their PhD. An applicant applying outside of her degree field should specify what field she would like to be considered for and demonstrate the applicability of her work to that field. Since successful applicants work and teach in the departments, those applying outside their degree fields are expected to explain the relevance of their research and teaching to the department/field in which they would conduct those activities.

Q Will my application be considered for more than one field/department if my research applies to more than one?[+]

Yes, we will consider an application for more than one field either at the applicant's request or at our own discretion. If your research and teaching interests would fit within either English or Drama, for example, you may feel free to specify in your cover note the fields for which you'd like to be considered. If you do so, we advise that you familiarize yourself with the research and teaching profiles of all Stanford departments for which you may be considered. We also sometimes elect to consider applications for fields outside any specified where this seems appropriate, and where doing so seems of some benefit to the application.


Q When is the deadline for applications?[+]

November 1st (11:59 PM Pacific Time).

Q When I click on the link to apply I am taken to a page that says the deadline has passed even though it hasn't.[+]

Please go directly to our updated application portal at If the problem persists please contact us via email.

Q Will receipt of my application be acknowledged?[+]

You can confirm that your application is complete by accessing your online application record. This will be your primary method of checking the status of your application; however, we may contact you periodically by email. It is therefore especially important that you provide a working email address with your other contact information.

Q Who evaluates applications?[+]

All applications are considered both by the interdisciplinary selection committee, which includes faculty from several humanities departments at Stanford, and by faculty sub-committees within the departments in which applicants will be placed.

Q When do I find out whether or not I've been awarded a fellowship?[+]

Notification will be sent in Spring. Please note that the program office will not answer questions about the status of individual applications before this time.

Q Can writing samples be in languages other than English?[+]

Yes, but the search committee is interdisciplinary, not from any one department, and the candidate *cannot* be assured that the department from which the reader came is such that it would be a professional expectation to have one or another particular language. The main language of university instruction is English, and any letter submitted in another language takes some risk of not being helpful to the candidate. All other application materials should be in English.

Q What is a teaching statement? If I describe my teaching experience in a cover letter or on my CV, should I still include a teaching statement?[+]

The 2-3 page teaching statement should summarize your teaching experience, the methodological or philosophical perspectives that inform your teaching practice, and the kinds of courses you would be interested in teaching. Sample syllabi may be added but are not required.

For evaluation purposes, it is important that we have a separate teaching statement rather than a paragraph or two in a cover letter or a list of courses taught on your CV.

Program Requirements

Q What is the teaching load? What kinds of courses do fellows teach?[+]

Fellows are required to teach two courses during each year of their participation in the program. Stanford is on a quarter system, so every fellow will have at least one term per year without a teaching obligation. Teaching needs and expectations vary by department. A fellow's home department determines his or her teaching requirements. The types of courses taught will also vary according to departmental and curricular needs; fellows should generally expect to teach either large lecture courses or smaller seminar-style classes to undergraduates, but may be given the opportunity to teach graduate level courses.

If you have a program-related question not answered above, please feel free to email the Program Officer at