Library of Congress Kluge Fellowship

Publish Date: Jun 15, 2021

Kluge Fellowship is an exceptional opportunity to advance your research in the spheres of humanities and social sciences. The Fellowship allows mixing your natural curiosity with the extensive collections at the Library of Congress to enhance the new knowledge and findings in the mentioned fields. 

Library of Congress holds the treasure for those engaged in social sciences and humanities. Fellows will have the opportunity to explore the world's second-largest law library, multi-lingual books, and periodicals, as well as collections of manuscripts, books, maps, films, music, and other pieces containing valuable information of the past. 

Therefore, if you want to be an author of the groundbreaking research project in humanities and social sciences and believe your work will have a new say for your peers and the interested public, do not hesitate to apply. 

This article will introduce you to how to do that. 

How did the program emerge?

In 2000, John W. Kluge donated $60 million to the establishment of the Kluge Center, which would further welcome the generations of fellows and scholars. The Center is located in the Library of Congress's Jefferson Building. With both the containing literature and furnishing, it's a well-designed space for academic brainstorming and research for the fellows. 

The John W. Kluge Center itself developed to support the self-government of America in successfully responding to democratic challenges that the country faced at the beginning of the 21st century. A critical mission that the Center had was eliminating the gap between the field's scholars and policymakers. The two creators of the Center, Mr. Kluge and the 13th Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, believed the community of intellectuals would significantly support the US Congress, a vital lawmaker in the US and the world.

Both individuals standing at the Center's roots had a rich experience and notable investment each in their fields before they decided on founding a Center. 

John Kluge was a migrant from Germany who came to the US at the age of eight in 1922. He completed school, college, served in the US Army, and worked in radio, television, and cellphone technology. At the moment he sold his multimedia corporation, Kluge became the wealthiest person in the US. In parallel, being a Columbia University alumni, he had always valued investments and in education and acquiring new knowledge. 

James H. Billington had a career for 28 years, and during that time, he made notable innovations in the Library. Particularly, he was the one who led the Library toward digitization, founding platforms like, the World Digital Library, and similar. Also, he promoted the Library, making it the central research venue both in the US and outside. 

So, two visions came into reality in 2000, when the Library celebrated its 200th year of operations. Kruge made the first endowment of $60 mln as a gift and investment in what he believed to be the most important asset in life: education. 

Therefore, the annual fellowships granted by the Center aim to find passionate individuals who believe in the importance of scientific research and its impact on overcoming the existing challenges. For those sharing the same vision, the further sections of the article navigate through the eligibility and application sections of the program. 

How to receive one of twelve fellowships awarded annually?

You have the chance to receive one of twelve fellowships for a period of four to eleven months. The application process is designed through open and transparent competition.

Eligibility is regardless of nationality

The Fellowship is designed for those who come from educational backgrounds in the field of humanities, social sciences, architecture, or the law. If you have received the advanced terminal degree in one of the mentioned fields within the past seven years from the moment of application, the most important eligibility criteria are met. 

The application is equally open for US citizens and individuals from other nationalities. The country of residence is also non-restricted. If the foreign citizens are selected to receive the Fellowship, the organizing committee will assist the candidates in receiving the appropriate visa. 

How to apply?

The only recognized application for the Kluge Fellowship is submitting the online application form in the Kluge Center's online application portal. The committee does not accept the applications sent by any other communication channels, such as email, fax, or others. 

You should head to the above-mentioned application link and apply to the program by July 15.  

The application form is the combination of questions that will allow the committee to understand whether your research project is unique compared to many other applicants. Kluge Fellowship exclusively supports those research projects that carry extra value and promise to have highly practical results upon completing the project. 

Therefore, prepare to introduce your project as precisely as possible. The application will require you to complete the following steps:

  • The CV with a length of two pages at most

  • An abstract introducing your project's relevancy to the contemporary challenges of its field 

  • A justification of why you need to conduct your project, especially at the Library of Congress

  • A project proposal, introducing in detail the working plan and the expected outcomes

  • A bibliography of works you referred to while presenting your project proposal

  • Three references from people who have read the project proposal

How are fellows supported?

As mentioned above, the fellows receive a large base for conducting their research in the form of rich and diverse collections kept in the Library of Congress. Other than that, each selected fellow receives the monthly stipend of $5,000 for residential research at the Library. Once the committee receives your application letter, the residential research opportunity can be provided anytime in the following 18 months period. 

An important note: the fellowship committee might shorten the months of Fellowship, which was agreed in advance.

Language of the research

The fellowship program is open for any nationality. Consequently, the main research output can also be in any language depending on the fellow's nationality. However, this does not exclude the fellow's obligation to have the necessary English level for successful cooperation and communication with other fellows. For non-US citizens, there is a requirement to submit proof of English knowledge.

More details are available here: 

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Social Sciences

Study Levels


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Eligible Countries


Host Countries

United States