Postdoctoral position in humanities, social sciences, natural sciences USA (Princeton Society) 2015

The Princeton Society of Fellows, an interdisciplinary group of scholars in the humanities, social sciences, and selected natural sciences, invites applications for the 2016-2019 Fellowship competition. Four three-year Postdoctoral Fellowships will be awarded this year. The stipend for each of the three years of the fellowship will be approximately $82,000. In addition, fellows are provided with a shared office, a personal computer, a research account of $5,000 a year, access to university grants, benefits and other resources.

 Fellows are expected to reside in or near Princeton during the academic year in order to attend weekly seminars and participate fully in the intellectual life of the Society. If you have already applied to the Princeton Society of Fellows, you may not apply a second time. All candidates will be informed of the status of their application by the end of January, 2016. Interviews will take place in early February. The Society will reimburse the cost of travel and lodging associated with the interview. Names of fellowship winners will be posted on the Society of Fellows’ website in July 2016.

2016-2019 Fellowship Competition

Application postmark deadline:  September 15, 2015

Online application will be accessible from this page on August 15, 2015.

Select a heading below for details:

Four Postdoctoral Fellowships for 2016-2019

Applicants may apply for one or more fellowship(s) pertinent to their research and teaching.

Three Open Fellowships in the Humanities and Social Sciences (OPEN)

Open to all disciplines represented in the Society of Fellows. The fellowship’s responsibilities include both teaching (one course each semester for two years, one course in the third year) and research. The Fellow will either participate in a team-taught course or offer a self-designed course, in the host department or in an interdisciplinary Program. In addition, the Fellow normally does some advising in his/her specialty or related areas.

One Fellowship in Humanistic Studies (HUM)

This fellowship is sponsored jointly by the Humanities Council and Society of Fellows, and is open to candidates in humanities disciplines represented in the Society of Fellows (see list in section below). The fellowship’s responsibilities include both teaching (one course each semester for two years, one course in the third year) and research. 

In each of the first two years, the Fellow will join faculty from various fields in the humanities to teach the interdisciplinary sequence “Approaches to Western Culture”  in either the Fall semester (Antiquity to the late Middle Ages) or the Spring semester (Renaissance to Modernism). Also in the first year, the Fellow will offer a self-designed course in the host department or interdisciplinary Program. In the second and third years, the Fellow also will offer an interdisciplinary undergraduate course in Humanistic Studies. This course might take a more intensive look at materials from the first-year sequence or offer an interdisciplinary approach to the Fellow’s own area of humanities expertise.

The Fellow will be called upon to lead or contribute to occasional activities designed to build a sense of community among undergraduates in the Humanistic Studies Program—the Program offers local and international field trips, an undergraduate society, workshops and other opportunities.


PhD degree requirements. Please note the Society’s dates of degree eligibility. These are firm dates with no exceptions:

  1. a) Candidates already holding the PhD degree at time of application:
    You must have received your degree between January 1, 2014 and September 15, 2015.
    The receipt of the PhD is determined by the date on which you fulfilled all requirements for the degree at your institution, including the defense and filing of the dissertation.b) Candidates who are ABD (all but dissertation) at time of application:
    If you will not meet the September 15, 2015, deadline for receipt of PhD but are expected to have fulfilled all conditions for the degree, including defense and filing of dissertation, by June 15, 2016, you may still apply for a postdoctoral fellowship provided you have completed a substantial portion of the dissertation (approximately half). We ask that you include in your dossier a letter confirming your “progress to degree” from either your Department Chair or your Director of Graduate Studies (see details of letter below).

Please note that candidates awarded a fellowship will be asked to provide a document from either the Registrar or Dean of their Graduate School by June 15, 2016, to confirm completion of all requirements for the PhD.

Recipients of doctorates in Education (EdD or PhD degrees), doctorates of Jurisprudence, and holders of PhD degrees from Princeton University are not eligible to apply.

If you have already applied to the Princeton Society of Fellows, you may not apply a second time. We therefore recommend that candidates wait until they have completed a substantial portion of the dissertation (approximately half) before applying.

Priority will be given to candidates who have received no more than one year of research-only funding past the PhD degree.

Fellowships will be awarded to candidates at the beginning of their academic career. Candidates must have already demonstrated outstanding scholarly achievement and excellence in teaching. Their work should also show evidence of unusual promise. The Society has a particular interest in fostering innovative interdisciplinary approaches in the humanities and social sciences.

US citizens and non-US citizens, regardless of race, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, or disability, are eligible to apply.

Fellows must reside in or near Princeton during the academic year of their fellowship term in order that they can attend weekly seminars and other events on campus.
Princeton University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Finalists to whom an offer has been made must successfully pass a background check.

Disciplines Represented in the Society of Fellows

The applicant should select an official host from the list of departments below. Please review the website and course offerings of Princeton’s Academic Departments and choose the one which seems most appropriate. It is not necessary to contact a potential host department before submitting your application. In addition to a departmental host, you may choose to be affiliated with one of the University’s interdisciplinary Programs of Study.

Host departments (you must choose one)
African American Studies, Anthropology, Architecture, Art and Archaeology, Classics, Comparative Literature, East Asian Studies, English, French and Italian, German, History, *Music, Near Eastern Studies, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Slavic Languages and Literatures, Sociology, Spanish and Portuguese.

* PhD candidates in the following areas may apply: Musicology, Music Theory, Ethnomusicology. DMA recipients are not eligible.

Programs of Study (optional – you may choose one, two, or none)
African Studies, American Studies, Ancient World, Architecture and Engineering, Classical Philosophy, Contemporary European Politics and Society, Environmental Studies, European Cultural Studies, Film Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Hellenic Studies, History of Science, Italian Studies, Judaic Studies, Latin American Studies, Latino Studies, Linguistics, Media and Modernity, Medieval Studies, Political Philosophy, Population Studies, Renaissance Studies, Russian and Eurasian Studies, South Asian Studies, Theater and Dance, Translation and Intercultural Communication, Urban Studies, Values and Public Life

Natural sciences: Astrophysics only (Spitzer and Russell Fellowships)
For fellowships in this field only, candidates should apply directly to the Astrophysical Sciences department.  Please note that deadlines for this fellowship are later than those in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

For more details, please consult the following website:

Application Procedures

Candidates should review carefully the following guidelines before completing the online application form and mailing the dossier materials.  (We do not accept dossiers submitted electronically.)

Applicants may apply for one or more fellowship(s) pertinent to their research and teaching by checking the relevant boxes on the Application Form. It is not necessary to submit separate applications for each fellowship.

Candidates who have previously applied for the Society of Fellows’ postdoctoral fellowships may not re-apply.

Please submit the following dossier items, single-sided, in the order listed below. Number and staple pages for each item, and include your name and title of the item at the top of the first page of each. Please submit only the requested items (without binders or folders). Transcripts of courses and grades are not necessary.

Please note that we are not able to accept any substitutions of dossier components after the postmark deadline. However, if you need to make small updates to your current CV (e.g. new publication, change of referee), please email these changes only to and we will add the message to your dossier.

Checklist of dossier items (See below for Details)

Confidential letters of recommendation should be emailed directly to the Society by three referees, or by a dossier service, on or before the postmark deadline.

Dossier items (below, single-sided) should be mailed by the candidate:

Completed application form

Cover letter

Curriculum vitae

For ABD (All But Dissertation) candidates only:  letter of “Progress to Degree” from either department chair or director of graduate studies (see text below)

Dissertation abstract

Writing sample: one chapter of the dissertation or one published article

Research proposal

Two course proposals

Mail the complete dossier by September 15, 2015 (postmark deadline) to:

Search Committee, Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts, 10 Joseph Henry House, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544

NB. Candidates outside the USA must use a trackable mail service to ensure prompt delivery.

Details of Dossier Items

For referees:

Confidential letters of reference from no more than three referees. Additional letters cannot be included in your dossier.  Letters should be emailed directly in Word or PDF format to  (NB. This email address for letters only; all questions should be sent to
Candidates may also arrange to have their letters emailed directly by an electronic dossier service (such as Interfolio) to
Please be sure to send your referees or dossier service the guidelines below:

electronic letterhead and signature preferred, if available

letter should be addressed to: Director, Susan Stewart (personal address is not necessary if you are using a dossier service)

subject line of the email should be: applicant’s last name, first name

if reference letter is emailed, it is not necessary to mail a hard copy of the letter
If a referee is unable to send a letter electronically, s/he may send it by mail, postmarked by September 15, 2015 to:

Search Committee, Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts, 10 Joseph Henry House, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544
For candidates:

Application form online: hard copy should be printed out and mailed together with dossier.

Please wait until you have gathered all your application materials and are ready to mail them before filling out, submitting online and then printing the application form for enclosure with your mailed dossier. Your application cannot be considered if you have not also submitted the online application form.

Submit your online application form only once. If you find you need to correct information (e.g. contact details, names of referees) at a later date, please email the changes to the Society of Fellows at

Cover letter (1 ½ pages maximum, single-sided, double-spaced), addressed to Search Committee.
Curriculum vitae (single-sided)

For ABD (all but dissertation) candidates only:

Letter confirming “progress to degree” from Department Chair or Director of Graduate Studies, to be included by candidate with full dossier (preferred) or sent via e-mail to
Your Department Chair may write both the brief letter confirming your progress and, if you wish, one of the three letters of recommendation in support of your candidacy, but these should be two separate documents.

Note for Chair or Director:  candidates may apply only once to the Society of Fellows.  We therefore advise applicants to wait until they have a substantial portion of their dissertation completed (approximately one half of the dissertation written) before applying.  The “progress to degree” letter need not contain an evaluation but should state that the candidate has a substantial portion of the dissertation completed at the time of application, and is fully expected to have completed all requirements for the PhD by June 15, 2016.

Dissertation abstract: no more than one page, single-spaced.

Writing sample: one chapter of the dissertation OR one published/forthcoming article that best represents your intellectual interests.

No more than 25 single-sided, double-spaced pages: footnotes/bibliography/illustrations may be included in addition.  If the text portion of the sample you wish to send is longer than 25 pages, please edit for length and summarize the deleted portions. We are not able to return any application materials. 

Research Project for the fellowship term: two to three single-sided, double-spaced pages; no bibliography necessary.

We expect this will usually take the form of a proposal for revising the dissertation in preparation for publication.  However, if you have given serious thought to a second research project beyond the dissertation, and/or already prepared the dissertation for publication, you may prefer to devote some or most of the three pages to the new project.  

Two Course Proposals: together these should not exceed three single-sided, double-spaced pages.

Briefly outline two sample courses you would be interested in teaching at Princeton. It is not necessary to include syllabi but in addition to the course description, please provide a sample reading list. Course descriptions and reading lists together should not exceed three pages.

One proposed course should offer an introduction to a topic of your choice for first and second-year students from different fields (a 200 level course at Princeton).  The other course should be a more advanced undergraduate seminar in your own discipline that would have a broad appeal to juniors and/or seniors in your host department (300-400 level).

Mailing instructions:

The “postmark deadline” is the date by which materials must be stamped by the Post Office in the country from which you are mailing. If you send your application by another expedited mail service, please arrange for pick-up no later than the postmark deadline.

Please provide both surface mail and electronic addresses so that we can reach you easily. Advise us by email if either address changes before January 1, 2016 so that our notifications reach you.

We strongly recommend that candidates use an expedited tracking mail service to send their dossier.

Candidates outside of the USA must use a trackable mail service to ensure prompt delivery. Note that the “street address” required for expedited delivery is “10 Joseph Henry House.”

We do not accept faxed or emailed applications.

Helpful Information

There is no application fee.

Only one set of dossier materials is necessary.

It is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure that all materials, including online application form, full dossier, three referee letters, and (for ABD candidates) “progress to degree” letter, are submitted by the September 15, 2015 postmark deadline. Only complete applications will be considered.

It is not necessary to send a transcript of graduate courses or grades.

Please send only the items we have requested.

Candidates who have previously applied for the Society of Fellows’ postdoctoral fellowships may not re-apply.

The dates for completion of the PhD degree – between January 1, 2014 and September 15, 2015 (for ABDs: June 15, 2016) – are strictly observed, with no exceptions.

The “completion” of the PhD is determined by the date on which you officially fulfilled all requirements for the degree at your institution, including defense and filing of dissertation.

Notification of candidates

Owing to the volume of mail we receive, we cannot check for receipt of individual dossiers or letters of recommendation. However, candidates will be notified by email once their dossier has been processed, and again if any letters of recommendation are missing. Note that this can take up to six weeks after the deadline.

We are not able to return any application materials.

Evaluation procedures

Applications will be read by faculty in both the Society of Fellows and the host departments.

All dossier materials and the selection committee’s evaluations remain confidential. The committee is not able to provide feedback on individual applications or interviews.