help_outline Skip to main content

News / Articles

American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship

Justin McBrayer | Published on 10/23/2020

The American Council of Learned Societies is now accepting applications for the second competition of the Leading Edge Fellowship program. In this cycle of the program, the fellowships will support recent PhDs with research expertise in religious studies, theology, ethics, and related fields as they pursue research, help communities respond to issues caused by the COVID-19 crisis, and advance public understanding of the pandemic. This initiative is made possible through the support of the Henry Luce Foundation.


The deadline for applications is Monday, November 2, 2020, by 9 pm EST. The application consists of a résumé, cover letter, professional references, and an application questionnaire. (No reference letters are required.) Fellows receive stipends of $60,000 per year, health insurance, and professional development funding.


Leading Edge Fellowships will begin in January or February 2021 and will be held remotely for the duration of the fellowship term. Applicants may be considered for up to two of the fellowship projects offered in this competition:

  • African Communities Together (New York, NY) – Mapping African Immigrant Communities Post-2020
  • American Friends Service Committee (Newark, NJ) – Testimonies of the Detained: Understanding the Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Incarcerated People
  • Breakthrough (New York, NY) – Assessing the Cultural Impact of Our Stories: In Vivid Color, a Multimedia Project
  • Common Cause (Washington, DC) – Private vs. Public Interests: Sheriffs’ Elections and Mass Incarceration
  • Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) (Washington, DC) – Advocating for Ethics and Money-in-Politics Reform Using Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Freedom for Immigrants (Los Angeles, CA) – The Global Dimension of Immigration Detention
  • Kairos Center for Religion, Rights, and Social Justice (New York, NY) – Analyzing the Impact of COVID-19 on Poor and Low-Income People to Transform Conditions on the Ground
  • National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC) – Ethical Considerations: COVID-19 Vaccine Research
  • PublicSource (Pittsburgh, PA) – Reporting on Faith and Religion in Pittsburgh Amid the Pandemic
  • Southern Coalition for Social Justice (Durham, NC) – Collateral Consequences: COVID-19 and the Criminal Justice System in North Carolina
  • The Southern Poverty Law Center (Montgomery, AL) – The Third Edition of Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy

To be eligible, applicants must have a PhD that was/will be conferred by their university between September 1, 2016, and December 31, 2020, and must have successfully defended their dissertations by November 2, 2020. Applicants’ PhDs may be in any field in the humanities or humanistic social sciences, provided that their research contributes to the understanding of religion, theology, or ethics. US citizenship or permanent residency is not required, but applicants must be authorized to work legally in the United States. Neither ACLS nor the partner organization can sponsor fellows for visas. See the program FAQ for further information.


Applications will be accepted only through the ACLS online application system and must be submitted by November 2, 2020 at 9 pm EST. Applicants should not contact any of the organizations directly. Please visit the ACLS website for complete position descriptions, eligibility criteria, and application information.


Questions about the program may be addressed to