Call for Mellon Humanities Public Fellows (CLOSED)

Application deadline: 1 February 2019


Apply now to be part of the inaugural cohort of Mellon Humanities Public Fellows. This fellowship is part of the new PublicsLab, which seeks to transform doctoral education for the public good and expand the career options for PhDs. All first- and second-year doctoral students at The Graduate Center in the humanities and humanistic social sciences are invited to apply. If you have big ideas for how your graduate training can have an impact in the world, this program may be for you.

Mellon Humanities Public Fellows will participate in the Mellon-funded initiative, “Transforming Doctoral Education for the Public Good” throughout the remaining four years of their PhD careers. With the support of the PublicsLab and a variety of mentors, both inside and outside the academy, public fellows will engage in public-facing research, career training and skills acquisition, and internships at a range of organizations. Their fellowship activities will replace teaching and WAC service.

Who is this for?

All first- and second-year PhD students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences are eligible to apply for the Mellon Humanities Public Fellows program.

What will I do as a Public Fellow?

In the first 1-2 years of their fellowship, Public Fellows will attend seminars that provide introductions and intensive exposure to diverse career fields and industries and workshops and practicums that focus on specific skills and training. In the second year, fellows will undertake a short residency at the GC Digital Initiative to prepare to use new technologies, data-driven inquiry, and digital humanities tools. In years 3-4, fellows will pursue internships and teaching opportunities.

What will I gain from being a Public Fellow?

Graduate students who are named Mellon Humanities Public Fellows will have the opportunity to take a leading role in designing part of their own curriculum in collaboration with a faculty member in their program. We fully expect that most if not all public fellows will teach, both within the CUNY system and perhaps outside of it (through prison education programs or museum education, for example). The goal is to incorporate experiences in connecting with the public through teaching, writing, coding, organizing, and other work that has the benefit of preparing students for jobs outside the academy as well as inside. The interdisciplinary nature of the public humanities cohort will also provide students with new methodologies and ways of thinking and communicating about their work, opening up new possibility of transforming the dissertation as well.

This program is not an “alt-ac” or “Plan B” track; it works on the founding principle that a great doctoral education prepares students for work inside and outside the university.  Faculty exercise skills outside of teaching and research every day; this program allows the GC to make those skills visible, acknowledging the work done by faculty while also arguing that graduate education will be improved by including these diverse aspects of academic life.


If we already have a GCF, will receiving this fellowship replace our GCF?

Yes, it will replace your GCF and provide all the same benefits, including stipend and NYSHIP.

What if I don’t have a GCF? Can I still apply?

Yes, Graduate Center PhD students without a GCF are still eligible to apply. If accepted, they would receive the equivalent of a GCF from the fellowship, including stipend and NYSHIP.

I have a Provost Enhancement Fellowship (PEF). How will that be affected?

The fellowship will not affect the financial aspect of your PEF. However, the fellowship would require that you opt out of your PEF service.

How many years will the fellowship last?

If you are a first year when you apply, the fellowship will last 4 years. If you are a second year, it will last 3 years. If you receive outside funding for a year abroad or a year of field work, you can pause the fellowship for a year, the same as you would a GCF.

Are international students eligible for this Fellowship as well?


Are there other ways for us to be involved if we do not end up applying for this fellowship?

Yes, of course! The PublicsLab will be offering events and workshops open to the broader GC community. There will also be an internship program starting in the 2019–2020 academic year, which will be open to all students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.

How do I apply?

To apply, please submit the following through the online application no later than 1 February 2019:

  • A 2-page CV
  • A letter of interest of no more than 1000 words. Successful applicants will articulate not only what they will gain from the program, but also the experiences, skills, and knowledge that they will contribute to the cohort. They will also articulate how their values as scholars and people fit with the program. Applicants are encouraged to discuss their research in light of its public potential, but they are not expected to have a fully formed project.

In addition, we ask for one letter of recommendation, with an optional second:

  • One letter must be written by a Graduate Center faculty member.
  • The second, optional letter of recommendation may be written by someone outside the GC, such as an undergraduate adviser or a former employer.

Letters of recommendation should be emailed as PDFs directly to They should be received by 1 February 2019.

Please direct questions about the fellowship to Dr. Stacy Hartman, director of the PublicsLab, at, or Professor Bianca Williams, Faculty Lead, at