This is a list of current fellowship opportunities at the Smithsonian, sorted by unit. Use this list to get a better sense about where you might like to pursue a fellowship at the Smithsonian and click the links to dig deeper. You can also view all of the Smithsonian’s Fellowships by their deadlines here.
These are centrally funded opportunities that place fellows throughout the Smithsonian.
Click the links to find out how each program works and how to apply.
The Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program (SIFP)
Smithsonian Institution Fellows are key to the Smithsonian’s aspiration to discover, create, innovate and diversify. The Smithsonian’s vast collections, numerous facilities, and staff expertise provide an incredible range of opportunities for independent research. Smithsonian Institution Fellows receive stipends from the central fund and can be found in all areas of the Smithsonian exploring, probing and charting new directions. For more information look here.
Advisory Council on Historic Preservation & Smithsonian Cultural Heritage Fellowship
Through a joint fellowship with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) and the Smithsonian, the fellow will explore place-based, cultural heritage and the connection between intangible cultural heritage and place. For more information go here.
Big Ten Academic Alliance (formerly CIC) Smithsonian Fellowship
The Big Ten Academic Alliance and the Smithsonian Institution (SI) invite doctoral candidates at Big Ten Academic Alliance Member Universities to apply for one-year fellowships to support research in residence at Smithsonian Institution facilities. All fields of study that are actively pursued by the museums and research organizations of the Smithsonian Institution are eligible. For more information go here.
George E. Burch Fellowship in Theoretical Medicine and Affiliated Sciences
The Burch Fellowship Program is an opportunity that awards $60,000 plus allowances to post-doctoral scholars, whose research interests lie within medicine, biology, physics, chemistry, and fields in the social science and humanities, as it applies to health and medicine. For more information go here.
The James Smithson Fellowship
Started through the generosity of Paul Neely, past chair of the Smithsonian National Board, the James Smithson Fellowship Program offers an early career opportunity for scholars interested in gaining experience in both scholarship and policy through a Smithsonian lens. The fellowship provides an immersion experience working with Smithsonian scholars and relevant collections; in addition the fellows will develop an inside view of how policy is crafted and resource plans designed by participating in a well-planned program offering direct experience internally with Smithsonian leaders, and externally with leaders throughout the Washington, DC network. For more information, look here.
Minority Awards Program - Visiting Student
The Office of Fellowships and Internships is committed to increasing the participation of U.S. Citizens and U.S. permanent residents who have previously been underrepresented in Smithsonian scholarly exploration. The Minority Awards Program provides an incredible range of opportunities for independent research. Visiting Students can explore, probe and chart new directions at the Smithsonian. For more information, look here.
The Smithsonian Biodiversity Genomics Postdoctoral Fellowship Program
The Smithsonian Institution (SI) Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biodiversity Genomics promotes collaborative research in these fields involving comparative genomic approaches such as phylogenomics, population genomics, metagenomics or transcriptomics, and have a component that involves significant bioinformatics analysis. Find out more here.
Smithsonian Postgraduate/Postdoctoral Fellowships in Conservation of Museum Collections Program
This fellowship program is offered by the Smithsonian Institution to provide opportunities for recent graduates of masters programs in art and archaeological conservation or the equivalent or conservation scientists, including those at the postdoctoral level, who wish to conduct research and gain further training in Smithsonian conservation laboratories for conservation of objects in museum collections. For more information, look here.
Native American Community Scholars Awards
Appointments in residence at the Smithsonian are awarded to applicants who are formally or informally related to a Native American community, to undertake projects on a Native American subject and utilize the Native American resources of the Institution. You can learn more here.
Native American Visiting Student Awards
Appointments are available for currently enrolled graduate students who are formally or informally related to a Native American community, to pursue independent research on a Native American subject and utilize the Native American resources of the Institution. There is more information here.
Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship
The Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship is a nomination-only opportunity that provides distinguished artists one or two months in residence at a Smithsonian location immersed in seriously amazing collections and collaborating with world class staff. Past recipients of this extremely competitive fellowship have delved deep to build connections between art, science, history and culture. Discover more here.
Smithsonian Mpala Postdoctoral Fellowship
Mpala Postdoctoral Fellows study biology, anthropology, geology, hydrology, material science, social science, soil science or related areas. Tenable in residence at Smithsonian facilities AND Mpala Research Centre, Kenya (see www.mpala.org). In addition to the standard conditions for Smithsonian Postdoctoral Fellowships (see below), the following apply: (1) the research topic must be in an area of science or culture supported by Smithsonian that is also appropriate to Mpala; (2) most of the fellowship period should be spent in residence at Mpala [except if there is good reason not to, explain in the proposal]; (3) the project must be a meaningful collaboration with an appropriate Smithsonian unit (collaboration with multiple units is encouraged) and include an endorsement from a Smithsonian sponsor; and (4) the fellow must also collaborate with an appropriate Kenyan organization (usually National Museums of Kenya or Kenya Wildlife Service; collaboration with the international organizations in Kenya, such as the International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology (www.icipe.org), is also encouraged). The fellow is expected to actively participate in the science community at Mpala, including participation in lectures, field courses, etc. The appointment would be one or two years. Stipends and tenure vary. Awards are contingent upon the availability of funds. Proposals are encouraged in the fields of conservation medicine, soils/erosion potential/water conservation, rangeland regeneration/grazing management, ecosystem services, socio-economic studies of natural resource management, and the principals of wildlife ecology and behavior, but other creative ideas are welcome. Collaboration with the SIGEO/CTFS plot is also encouraged. More information can be found here.
Stable Isotope – Interdisciplinary Post Doctoral Fellowship
The Office of Fellowships and Internships is offering an Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Fellowship in the area of stable isotope sciences. Research proposals must integrate the use of stable isotopes (2H/1H, 13C/12C, 15N/14N, and 18O/16O) into their specific research questions. Stable isotope analysis must comprise a significant portion of the research. The successful applicant will conduct analyses at one of the two Pan-Institutional isotope facilities (OUSS/MCI Stable Isotope Mass Spectrometry Facility in Suitland, MD or at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama City, Panama). Applicants interested in this fellowship are strongly encouraged to contact potential advisors/hosts at any of the Smithsonian’s various Museums and Research Units prior to proposal preparation and submission. Prior Isotope Fellows are not eligible. More information about this program can be found here and you can apply here.
The Secretary's Distinguished Research Fellowship
The Secretary’s Distinguished Research Fellowship recognizes the most promising and innovative scientific research proposals to the one-year Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program by providing an awardee with a second year of support. This endowed fellowship was established in 2009 through contributions from members of the Smithsonian Board of Regents For more information, look here.
Walter Rathbone Bacon Fellowship
The Walter Rathbone Bacon Fellowship is a fund associated with the SI fellowship program which is dedicated to the memory of Mr. Walter Rathbone Bacon to establish a traveling scholarship for the study of the fauna not indigenous to the United States of America. Learn more here.
Smithsonian Unit Fellowship Opportunities
These are fellowship opportunities available at each of the Smithsonian’s various museums, research centers, and other units. Click the link for more information about each opportunity, and how to apply.
Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (CFCH)
The Rigzin Fellowship offers a two-to-four-week cultural leadership program in the U.S. available to Tebetans in China engaged in culture or the arts. More information can be found here.
Freer-Sackler Galleries of Art (FSGA)
The Anne van Biema Fellowship was established by bequest to promote excellence in research and publication on the Japanese visual arts. Fellowships support research at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. The Galleries provide magnificent opportunities for collections-based study, and hold world-class library and archival collections related to Japanese visual arts. Research proposals are evaluated in terms of merit, originality, methodology, and potential for significant publication that will advance scholarly and public understanding of the Japanese visual arts. Interdisciplinary proposals with a primary focus on Japanese visual arts are considered. More information can be found here.
The Lunder Fellowship provides opportunities for both emerging and established scholars to conduct research in the Freer collections and to work with the Lunder Consortium for Whistler Studies on collaborative programs and publications focusing on James McNeill Whistler and the art of the Aesthetic Movement. This fellowship is offered through the generosity of the Lunder Foundation and administered through the Lunder Consortium for Whistler Studies (comprising the Freer Gallery, Colby College, and University of Glasgow). Fellowships are awarded for twelve- to eighteen-month terms. More information can be found here.
The J.S. Lee Memorial Fellowship fellowship facilitates the international exchange of curatorial expertise and contributes to the professional development of Chinese art curators and academics. Fellows may choose to be based at the Freer and Sackler or at a number of other museums worldwide. More information about this fellowship can be found here.
National Air and Space Museum (NASM)
The National Air and Space Museum offers four fellowships. The Guggenheim Fellowship is a competitive three- to twelve-month in-residence fellowship for pre-or postdoctoral research in aviation and space history. Predoctoral applicants should have completed preliminary course work and examina-tions and be engaged in dissertation research. Postdoctoral applicants should have received their Ph.D. within the past seven years. A stipend of $30,000 for predoctoral candidates and $45,000 for postdoctoral candidates will be awarded, with limited additional funds for travel and miscellaneous expenses. More information can be found here. The Charles A. Lindbergh Chair in Aerospace History is a competitive twelve-month fellowship open to senior scholars with distinguished records of publication who are working on, or anticipate working on, books in aerospace history. Support is available up to a maximum of $100,000 a year. Each Lindbergh Chair application is judged relative to the suitability of its proposal, the scholarly record of the applicant, the availability of relevant museum staff advisors knowledgeable on the proposed topic, whether the NASM can provide the specific resources, and the applicability of the proposal to NASM’s work-in-progress series. The winner is expected to reside in the Washington, D.C., area for nine months to a year, the academic year generally starting in September and ending by the following August. He or she is also expected to take part in discussions with museum staff and to attend professional seminars and colloquia. Along with access to primary research materials, the winner is given the use of an office, a phone and a computer. More information can be found here. The Verville Fellowship is a competitive nine- to twelve-month in-residence fellowship intended for the analysis of major trends, developments, and accomplishments in the history of aviation or space studies. The fellowship is open to all interested candidates with demonstrated skills in research and writing. An advanced degree in history, engineering, or related fields is not a requirement. A stipend of $55,000 will be awarded for a 12-month fellowship, with limited additional funds for travel and miscellaneous expenses. More information can be found here. The Engen Conservation Fellowship is a competitive twelve month in-residence fellowship for recent Master’s graduates in conservation intended to introduce fellows to a wide range of composite objects, metals, organic materials and painted surfaces. A stipend of $37,000 will be awarded for a 12-month fellowship, with limited additional funds for travel and research related expenses. More information can be found here.
National Museum of American History (NMAH)
The National Museum of American History offers several fellowships. The Lemelson Center Fellowships supports projects that present creative approaches to the study of invention and innovation in American society. These include, but are not limited to, historical research and documentation projects, resulting in publications, exhibitions, educational initiatives, documentary films, or other multimedia products. More information can be found here. The Lemelson Center Travel To Collections Award supports research on the history of invention and innovation based on the holdings of the Museum’s Archives Center and curatorial divisions. The Archives Center holds more than 20,000 feet of archival materials. The collections are particularly strong in personal papers and business records documenting the history of American enterprise and technology. More information can be found here. The Lemelson Center’s Arthur Molella Distinguished Fellowship supports the work of experienced authors and senior scholars from the history of technology, science and technology studies, business history, museum studies, STEAM education, or an allied field. More information can be found here. In addition, the Travel Research in Equity Collections (TREC) fellowship offers short-term travel awards for researchers to make use of the museum’s equity-related collections; more information can be found here.
In addition, NMAH works together with the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) to support fellows through the Joe and Wanda Corn Fellowship. The Joe and Wanda Corn Fellowship is endowed by their former students Mike Wilkins and Sheila Duignan and supports scholars whose research interests span American art and American history. Recipients will draw on the Smithsonian’s broad resources in both areas, utilizing the holdings of the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History (NMAH). The terms of the fellowship, as well as the application guidelines and deadlines, are the same as for the Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program. Applicants are encouraged to propose advisors at each museum. More information can be found here.
National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI)
Andrew W. Mellon fellowships are intended to cultivate practical skills as well as foster a solid understanding of the contexts of material culture, the philosophies of conservation at the NMAI, and the ethics of the conservation profession. Museum programming involves collaboration with Native people in developing appropriate methods of caring for and interpreting cultural materials. Andrew W. Mellon fellowships involve work on the Conservation Office’s major projects and research related to projects and collections. Current projects include the preparation of artifacts for loans and for exhibits at NMAI sites in Washington, D.C., and New York City. For more information, go here.
National Museum of Natural History (NMNH)
The American Indian Program exists to encourage participation of Native Americans in Smithsonian activities and to support collection research, exhibitions, and public programming as they relate to Native peoples. More information can be found here.
The Peter Buck Fellowship is awarded at both the predoctoral level (up to 2 years) and postdoctoral level (up to 3 years) for work in any area of study related to the National Museum of Natural History’s research staff, collections and facilities. For more information, click here.
The Link Foundation/Smithsonian Graduate Fellowships in Marine Science awards 12-week graduate student fellowships to conduct marine science research at the Smithsonian Marine Station in Fort Pierce, Florida.
The Global Genome Initiative Buck Fellowship are two year fellowships that contribute specifically to the goals of the Global Genome Initiative at the National Museum of Natural History. (NMNH)
Office of the Provost and Under Secretary for Museums and Research (PROVOST)
The Smithsonian’s Tennenbaum Marine Observatories Network (TMON) invites proposals for the MarineGEO Postdoctoral Fellowship Program that will advance goals of the Marine Global Earth Observatory. MarineGEO is a growing, long-term, worldwide research program focused on studying coastal marine biodiversity and ecosystems using standardized approaches. By specializing in coastal systems, MarineGEO studies can reveal the role marine biodiversity plays in maintaining resilient ecosystems in the portion of the ocean where people and marine biodiversity are concentrated and interact most. To find out more, go here.
Smithsonian American Art Museum and its Renwick Gallery (SAAM)
The Joe and Wanda Corn Fellowship is endowed by their former students Mike Wilkins and Sheila Duignan and supports scholars whose research interests span American art and American history. Recipients will draw on the Smithsonian’s broad resources in both areas, utilizing the holdings of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The Douglass Foundation Fellowship in American Art is awarded annually to a predoctoral scholar conducting research in American art. The Patricia and Phillip Frost Fellowship is offered to support research in American art and visual culture. The George Gurney Fellowship funds pre- and postdoctoral research on American art, preferably sculpture, in honor of the distinguished career of the museum’s former curator of American sculpture. The James Renwick Fellowship in American Craft is available for research in American studio crafts or decorative arts from the nineteenth century to the present. The Sara Roby Fellowship in Twentieth-Century American Realism is awarded to a scholar whose research topic is in the area of twentieth-century American realism. The Joshua C. Taylor Fellowship is supported by alumni and friends of the fellowship program. The Terra Foundation Fellowships in American Art seek to foster a cross-cultural dialogue about the history of art of the United States up to 1980. They support work by scholars from abroad who are researching American art or by U.S. scholars who are investigating international contexts for American art. The William H. Truettner Fellowship, which funds pre- and postdoctoral research on American art, is a tribute to Mr. Truettner’s career of nearly fifty years as a curator of painting and sculpture at the museum. The Wyeth Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship is awarded for the advancement and completion of a doctoral dissertation that concerns the study, appreciation, and recognition of excellence in all aspects of American painting created prior to 1970. The terms of these fellowships, as well as the application guidelines and deadlines, are the same as for the Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program. Applicants to the Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program who propose a primary advisor/supervisor from the Smithsonian American Art Museum will be considered for all relevant award categories at this unit. More information about all these opportunities can be found here.
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO)
The CFA Postdoctoral Fellowship is available at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), beginning in the summer or autumn of each year. Research programs at the CfA include instrumentation, observation, and theory in atomic and molecular physics, geophysics, the solar system, stars, galaxies, and cosmology. Techniques used range from computer simulations through observations in the radio, infrared, optical, ultraviolet, X and gamma-ray bands, to in-strument development and laboratory experiments. Facilities include the MMT (Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory, Arizona), Magellan (Las Campanas Observatory, Chile), and other optical and infrared telescopes; radio telescopes, especially the Submillimeter Array on Mauna Kea, Hawaii; a large Beowulf cluster and network of workstations; a number of specialized laboratories; an outstanding library system; and access to data from a wide range of space missions, especially the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Spitzer Space Telescope. More information can be found here. The SAO has a Visiting Scientist Program designed to expand the scholarly exchange of scientific information in the areas of atomic and molecular physics; infrared, optical, radio, and X-ray astronomy; planetary sciences; geophysics; solar and stellar physics; and theoretical astrophysics. The Program annually attracts many international and national visitors. They come for a well-defined scientific purpose, which may be to collaborate with a specific individual, to access unique data, or to use specialized facilities. Visits vary from a few days to several weeks or months, and in some cases up to a year. Stipend support varies with the length of the visit and the amount of support being provided by the visitor’s home institution, or by a fellow-ship such as a Guggenheim, NATO, etc. More information is available here.
Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access (SCLDA)
The Smithsonian’s Fellowships in Museum Practice (FMP) program is an opportunity for mid- and senior-level museum personnel, researchers and training providers to spend time at the Smithsonian researching a particular topic of interest that is relevant to their work and the museum profession. The goal of the program is foster innovative scholarship and expand the availability of information that has the potential to contribute to improvements in museum operations. Fellowships are awarded annually for a period of up to 6 months. To find out more, go here.
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC)
Smithsonian Gardens (SG)
The Smithsonian Institution’s Gardens invites applications for research fellowships in the field of horticulture. Fellowships are in-residential and support full-time independent, thesis and dissertation research. The Enid A. Haupt Fellowship in Horticulture was made possible by a generous endowment from philanthropist Enid Annenberg Haupt who, during her lifetime, passionately supported the creation of public gardens and preservation of horticultural institutions. In that same spirit, the Smithsonian Institution’s Gardens offers the Haupt Fellowship to encourage the study of, and professions in, the field of horticulture in its broadest sense. To find out more, go here.
Smithsonian Institution Libraries (SIL)
Baird Society Resident Scholar Program
Awards stipends of $3,500 per month for up to six months to support scholarly research in the Special Collections of the Smithsonian Libraries in Washington, DC and New York, NY, in an extensive range of subject areas. Doctoral students and post-doctoral scholars are welcome to apply. Scholars must be in residence at the Smithsonian during the award period. Collections include printed materials on world’s fairs (19th and early 20th centuries); manufacturer’s commercial trade catalogs in the National Museum of American History Library (285,000 pieces representing 30,000 companies dating from the 19th and 20th centuries); natural history rare books in the Cullman Library (pre-1840 works on topics such as botany, zoology, travel & exploration, museums & collecting, geology, and anthropology); air and space history in the National Air and Space Museum Library’s Ramsey Room (ballooning, rocketry, and aviation, late 18th to early 20th centuries); James Smithson’s library in the Cullman Library; rare materials in European and American decorative arts, architecture, and design in the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Library (18th to 20th centuries); and history of art and artists (exhibition catalogs, catalogues raisonnés, serials, dissertations and artists’ ephemera) at the American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery Library. This award is supported by the many annual donors to the Smithsonian Libraries. More information can be found here.
The Dibner Library Resident Scholar Program
Awards stipends of $3,500 per month for up to six months to support scholarly research in the Special Collections of the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology in Washington, DC. Doctoral students and post-doctoral scholars are welcome to apply. Scholars must be in residence at the Smithsonian during the award period. The Dibner Library has manuscripts and rare books dating primarily from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Collection strengths are in the fields of mathematics, astronomy, classical natural philosophy, theoretical physics (up to the early twentieth century), experimental physics (especially electricity and magnetism), engineering technology (from the Renaissance to the late nineteenth century), and scientific apparatus and instruments. This award is supported by the family of Frances K. Dibner. More information can be found here.
Neville-Pribram Mid-Career Educators Awards
The Neville-Pribram Mid-Career Educators Awards allow mid-career educators to be in residence and utilize the Smithsonian Libraries distinctive collections, focusing on science, history, culture and arts. The awards are open to middle & high school teachers, college teachers, and museum educators working on curriculum development or publications in print or electronic form. More information can be found here.
The Margaret Henry Dabney Penick Resident Scholar Program
Supports scholarly research into the legacy of Patrick Henry and his political circle, the early political history of Virginia, the history of the American Revolution, founding era ideas and policy-making, as well as science, technology, and culture in colonial America and the Early National Period. The stipend for this long-term fellowship is $45,000 for nine consecutive months. Senior scholars are particularly encouraged to apply, but all applicants must hold a PhD to be awarded the fellowship. Fellows are expected to give at least one public lecture during the tenure of the fellowship as well as to show definite progress toward a publishable manuscript by the end of the fellowship period. Fellows may also be asked to cooperate with the Library administration in planning scholarly programs. This award is supported by a bequest from Margaret P. Nuttle. More information can be found here.
Smithsonian Latino Center (SLC)
The Latino Museum Studies Program provides a national forum for graduate students to share, explore and discuss the representation and interpretation of Latino cultures in the context of the American experience. It provides a unique opportunity to meet and engage with Smithsonian professionals, scholars from renowned universities, and with leaders in the museum field. The program lasts five weeks and is offered in two components. The first is a one-week instructional seminar that includes panel discussions, lectures, workshops, and behind-the-scenes access to Smithsonian collections. The second is a four-week practicum with participants working on specific projects with Smithsonian professionals. Program Dates: June 27-August 5, 2016. Deadline: All application materials are due no later than April 8, 2016 at 5:00PM EDT. For more information, visit latino.si.edu/Education/Studies. To apply, create a user account in SOLAA at solaa.si.edu.
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)
The STRI Short-Term Fellowship Program allows selected candidates to come to STRI year-round and is an excellent resource to provide support for graduate students and introduce them to tropical research.
Although focused primarily on graduate students, awards are occasionally given to undergraduate and postdoctoral candidates. These fellowships enable selected candidates to work in the tropics and explore research possibilities at STRI. The Ernst Mayr Fellowship is awarded to an outstanding Short-Term Fellowship candidate every year.
Earl S. Tupper 3-Year Postdoctoral Fellowship:
STRI’s most prestigious fellowship provides complete freedom to pursue intellectual curiosity at one or more of our nine facilities in Panama for three years.
Find out more about STRI’s fellowship programs here.