Skip to main content

Fellowship Programs

Smithsonian fellowships are offered to individuals* who design and develop proposals to conduct independent research.

Types of Fellowships

  • Central Fellowship Programs - These programs fund fellowships that take place at museums, research institutes and offices across the Smithsonian.
  • Museums, Research Institutes, Centers, and Office's Fellowship Programs - These program are managed by the Smithsonian unit.
  • Fellowship Program Partners - These fellows are hosted at the Smithsonian but applications are taken through our partner organization.

For Internship Opportunities | Smithsonian Job Opportunities

 

*Former employees or contractors of the Smithsonian Institution must have a year of separation before applying or be awarded a fellowship. 

Smithsonian COVID Vaccine Mandate

The Smithsonian Institution has a mandate requiring all employees (federal and trust), volunteers, interns, fellows and research associates, and the contractors who work with us to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 regardless of location or arrangement (e.g., onsite, virtual, remote, etc.), subject to such exceptions as required by law. If selected, you will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and submit documentation of proof of vaccination during onboarding. The Smithsonian Institution will provide additional information regarding what information or documentation will be needed and how you can request a legally required exemption from this requirement. Limited exemptions to the Smithsonian Institution’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate will be considered on a case-by-case basis for selected candidates who inform the Smithsonian that they cannot be vaccinated because of a disability, including certain medical conditions the Center for Disease Control (CDC) considers contraindications to the vaccine; because of a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance; or availability to WHO-recommended vaccines based on country of residence (for remote appointees). Additional information and instructions regarding Smithsonian’s COVID-19 mandate will be provided at the time of selection.

Central Fellowship Programs

Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program (SIFP)

The Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program offers opportunities for independent research or study related to Smithsonian collections, facilities, and/or research interests of the Institution and its staff. Fellowships are offered to graduate students, predoctoral students, and postdoctoral and senior researchers to conduct independent research and to utilize the resources of the Institution with members of the Smithsonian professional research staff serving as advisors and hosts.

Smithsonian Biodiversity Genomics Postdoctoral Fellowship Program (BioG)

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. The Smithsonian’s molecular research facilities are located at National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute/National Zoological Park (SCBI/NZP), Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC), and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Ins

Smithsonian Postgraduate/Postdoctoral Fellowships in Conservation of Museum Collections Program

The Smithsonian Postgraduate/Postdoctoral Fellowship in Conservation of Museum Collections offers opportunities to conduct research and gain further training in the conservation of museum collection objects. This opportunity is open to recent graduates of masters programs in art and archaeological conservation (or the equivalent) and materials scientists (including those at the postdoctoral level).

George Burch Fellowship in Theoretical Medicine and Affiliated Theoretical Science

The purpose of the George E. Burch Fellowship is to support a distinguished scholar in residence at the Smithsonian. The fellow may work in any discipline, but the creative effort should, in accordance with the wishes of the donor, be related to human medicine. Dr. Burch’s goal is to permit the fellowship recipient time to think with freedom and creativity, and thereby stimulate new medically related theories in his or her discipline.

Smithsonian Mpala Postdoctoral Fellowship

The purpose of the Mpala Postdoctoral Fellowship is to promote the study of biology, anthropology, geology, hydrology, material science, social science, soil science or related areas. Projects must be tenable in residence at Mpala Research Centre. Over the past 25 years the Smithsonian Institution has engaged in a robust partnership with Kenya and Kenyan science through its role in the Mpala Research Centre. Central to this has been the on-going support for fellows and fellowships at Mpala.

James Smithson Fellowship

The James Smithson Fellowship Program was created to offer early career opportunities for post-doctoral researchers interested in gaining a better understanding about the interplay between scholarship and public policy through a Smithsonian lens.  While this fellowship provides an immersion experience working with Smithsonian researchers and relevant collections, it also affords fellows a hands-on opportunity to explore relationships between research and public policy through direct interaction with Smithsonian leaders, and with policy leaders throughout the Washington, DC network.

Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (SARF)

The Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (SARF) program was launched in 2007 to provide outstanding visual artists from across the world a unique opportunity to work with Smithsonian museums, research sites, collections, and scholars, so they may conduct research that inspires new artwork. SARF Fellows spend one to two months in residence at the Smithsonian immersed in its unparalleled collections and multidisciplinary scholarly expertise, building connections between art, science, history and culture. The program embodies the depth and breadth of the Smithsonian.

Big Ten Academic Alliance Smithsonian Fellowship

The Big Ten Academic Alliance established in 1958, is a consortium of research universities that collaborate on a wide range of academic and administrative initiatives to advance their academic missions, generate unique opportunities for students and faculty, and serve the common good by sharing expertise, leveraging campus resources, and collaborating on innovative programs.

Fulbright-Smithsonian Awards

The Smithsonian welcomes Fulbright Scholars from around the world to come to our facilities, engage with our colleagues, and conduct research of their own. Foreign Fulbright Commissions and Embassies conduct the application process and selection, but Foreign Scholars should engage with us to discover the unlimited possibilities for research and study.

Museums, Research Institutes, Centers, and Office's Fellowship Programs

Smithsonian Post-Graduate Paintings Conservation Fellowship with NMAAHC and MCI

The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) and Museum Conservation Institute (MCI) of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC is accepting applications for a one-year post-graduate fellowship in modern and contemporary paintings conservation.

A. Verville Fellowship

Due to continuing challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as administrative, schedule, and staffing difficulties, the National Air and Space Museum has suspended the application and selection process for the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Fellowships, the A. Verville Fellowship, and the Charles A. Lindbergh Chair in Aerospace History, and the Aviation/Space Writers Foundation Award for 2022. We will not be accepting proposals for those fellowships.

Charles A. Lindbergh Chair in Aerospace History

Due to continuing challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as administrative, schedule, and staffing difficulties, the National Air and Space Museum has suspended the application and selection process for the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Fellowships, the A. Verville Fellowship, and the Charles A. Lindbergh Chair in Aerospace History, and the Aviation/Space Writers Foundation Award for 2022. We will not be accepting proposals for those fellowships.

Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Fellowship

Due to continuing challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as administrative, schedule, and staffing difficulties, the National Air and Space Museum has suspended the application and selection process for the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Fellowships, the A. Verville Fellowship, and the Charles A. Lindbergh Chair in Aerospace History, and the Aviation/Space Writers Foundation Award for 2022. We will not be accepting proposals for those fellowships.

Engen Conservation Fellowship

The Engen fellowship will introduce the candidate to conservation techniques for a wide range of composite objects, metals, organic materials, and painted surfaces. This fellowship is intended to contribute to the education of recent graduates by allowing them to delve into the complexities of working with modern composite materials, refine treatment process, learn management, and conduct a small-scale research project. The Fellow's independent research will be derived from our diverse collection materials.

Lunder Fellowship

This fellowship provides opportunities to conduct research and work with the Lunder Consortium for Whistler Studies on programs and publications focusing on James McNeill Whistler and art of the Aesthetic movement. Both emerging and established scholars are invited to apply. The fellowship is offered through the generosity of the Lunder Foundation and administered through the Lunder Consortium for Whistler Studies (comprising the Freer Gallery, the Colby College Museum of Art, the University of Glasgow, and the Art Institute of Chicago). 

The Anne van Biema Fellowship

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. 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.

The J. S. Lee Memorial Fellowship

In honor of the late Dr. J. S. Lee, a distinguished Hong Kong philanthropist and lifelong supporter of the study of Chinese art, this 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. 

The Robert Frederick Smith Applied Public History Fellowship For HBCU Graduates

The Robert Frederick Smith Applied Public History Fellowship for HBCU Graduates offers a two-year appointment providing advanced training and scholarly support in public history, museum management, outreach programming, and partnership building.

Arthur Molella Distinguished Fellowship

The Arthur Molella Distinguished Fellowship is endowed by The Lemelson Foundation and supports the work of senior scholars in recognition of Dr. Arthur P. Molella, founding director of the Lemelson Center. The specific arrangement is flexible: the Molella Distinguished Fellow may use the funds as a sabbatical supplement; for several short-duration visits; for a single residency focused on research and writing; or for a series of lectures leading to a major publication.

Lemelson Center Fellowship Program

The Lemelson Center Fellowship Program 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 dissertations, publications, exhibitions, educational initiatives, documentary films, or other multimedia products.

Lemelson Center Travel to Collections Awards

The Lemelson Center offers support in the form of short-term travel awards for researchers to come to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History and use the Archives Center's 20,000 feet of archival materials.

Botany Travel Awards: Cuatrecasas / Funk / Robinson / Smith Fellowship Program

These awards are sponsored by the NMNH Department of Botany and support the study of botanical specimens housed in the U.S. National Herbarium, with preference given to students or researchers who work on tropical plants.

Deep Time Peter Buck Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

Deep Time Peter Buck Postdoctoral Fellows are invited for a two-year Research Fellowship (postdoctoral) in paleobiology relating to the goals of the Deep Time Initiative at the National Museum of Natural History.  This fellowship involves commitment to research and to advancing science education and outreach for the public.  

Kenneth Jay Boss Fellowship in Invertebrate Zoology

Kenneth Jay Boss fellowships provide financial support enabling graduate students to conduct independent collections-based research in the Department of Invertebrate Zoology (IZ) at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH).

Link Foundation Graduate Fellowship Program

Each year since 1998, the Link Foundation has awarded 12-week graduate student fellowships to conduct marine science research at the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce. Students work in association with members of the Smithsonian professional research staff - either resident Marine Station investigators, or marine scientists from other Smithsonian entities who carry out a part of their research at the Station.

Peter Buck Fellowship Program

The purpose of the Peter Buck Fellowship program is to support full-time, resident, independent research focused on utilizing the NMNH collections and facilities.  Awardees are expected to be actively involved in the scholarly activities of the Museum and the NMNH community in general.

Short Term Fellowships at the Smithsonian Marine Station, Fort Pierce, FL

The Short-Term Fellowship Program allows selected candidates to come to the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce, Florida at any time of the year and is an excellent resource to provide support for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the marine sciences. These fellowships enable selected candidates to work in the marine sciences and explore research possibilities at the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce.

The Robert D. Hevey, Jr. and Constance M. Filling Fellowship in Anthropology

This short-term fellowship provides support to a graduate student focused on anthropological studies related to contemporary indigenous communities, linguistics and endangered languages, or cultural diversity while in-residence in the Department of Anthropology at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) in Washington, DC.

The Robert D. Hevey, Jr. and Constance M. Filling Fellowship in Mineral Sciences

The Robert D. Hevey, Jr. and Constance M. Filling Fellowship in Mineral Sciences was established in 2018 to support short-term, resident, graduate student fellowships focused on geological studies in the Department of Mineral Sciences at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) in Washington, DC.

Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship

NMAI Andrew W. Mellon Postgraduate Fellowships in Objects and Textile Conservation of Native American ethnographic and archaeological items.

OCIO Biodiversity Genomics Postdoctoral Fellowship

The OCIO Data Science Lab was formed in response to the dramatic increase in all forms of digital data across the Smithsonian. We seek to build collaborations both across Smithsonian units, as well as universities and other institutions. Members of our group work on a variety of data-intensive research topics including biodiversity genomics and machine learning applications of digitized museum collections and archives.

OCIO Machine Learning Postdoctoral Fellowship

The OCIO Data Science Lab was formed in response to the dramatic increase in all forms of digital data across the Smithsonian. We seek to build collaborations both across Smithsonian units, as well as universities and other institutions. Members of our group work on a variety of data-intensive research topics including biodiversity genomics and machine learning applications of digitized museum collections and archives.

Smithsonian American Art Museum Fellowship Program

The Smithsonian American Art Museum and its Renwick Gallery welcome applications for research fellowships in the art, craft, and visual culture of the United States. Fellowships are residential and support full-time independent and dissertation research. Recipients will be part of the the oldest, largest, and premier residential fellowship program in American art.

CfA Postdoctoral Fellowship

The CfA Postdoctoral Fellowship is intended for recent Ph.D. recipients who do not already have extensive postdoctoral experience. The Fellowship supports innovative astrophysics research by offering to the next generation of researchers full access to the unique facilities, research staff and resources of the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA). Past CfA Postdoctoral Fellows have gone on to faculty and research positions at major universities and research centers, and have received some of astrophysics' most important awards.

Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Predoctoral Fellowship Program

Since 1985, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) Pre-doctoral Program has welcomed graduate students from universities around the world interested in carrying out all or part of their research under the guidance of SAO Scientists.

Latino Museum Studies Program (LMSP)

The Latino Museum Studies Program (LMSP) 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.

Baird Society Resident Scholar Program

The Baird Society Resident Scholar Program supports scholarly research in all 16 Special Collections of the Smithsonian Libraries in an extensive range of subject areas.

Neville-Pribram Mid-Career Educators Awards

The  Neville-Pribram Mid-Career Educator awardee will have many opportunities to explore, utilize, create, and share a project that contributes to continued learning and application of the history of neighborhoods and communities in education.

The Dibner Library Resident Scholar Program

The Dibner Library Resident Scholar Program supports scholarly research using the history of science and technology rare books and manuscripts at SLA's Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology.

Fellowships in Museum Practice (FMP)

The Smithsonian Fellowships in Museum Practice (FMP) program has awarded fellowships to professionals and scholars since 1993. We at the Smithsonian Office of Educational Technology (OET) are constant in our search for dedicated, forward-thinking individuals with outstanding expertise in the areas of museum education; education technology; and cultural heritage institutions and their use of digital technologies to further their missions, connect with audiences, and create new opportunities for formal and informal learning.

D. Ross Robertson fellowships for field research on neotropical shore-fishes

Supported by an endowment created to further the accomplishment of field research on the evolution, ecology, natural history and related taxonomic and systematic issues, of marine and brackish-water fishes found in nearshore, tropical and subtropical waters of North, Central and South America, and the Panama Canal. This includes research in neotropical countries other than Panama, although the fellow is expected to be based at STRI during at least part of the tenure of the fellowship.

Earl S. Tupper three-year postdoctoral fellowship

STRI’s most prestigious postdoctoral fellowship is awarded once a year to an outstanding candidate in one of the many research fields practiced at STRI. Successful candidate will conduct a three-year research program based at a STRI facility, typically in the lab of a staff scientist who serves as host or advisor on the project.

Short-Term Fellowships

The Short-Term Fellowship Program allows selected candidates to come to STRI at any time of the year 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.

Back to Top