Townsend Center for the Humanities

There are presently no open calls for submissions.

The Townsend Fellowships program for faculty and advanced graduate students at UC Berkeley supports research that significantly involves humanistic material or problems that have a significant bearing on the humanities. The purpose of the Fellowship is both to further the research of the individual recipients and to enable faculty and graduate students within the humanities to meet and work with colleagues in other disciplines and departments. However, projects need not be "interdisciplinary" by definition. Awards are based on the scholarly merit of the individual applications. The selection committee will also take into consideration the research project's potential interest to scholars in different fields of the humanities and the likelihood of the applicant’s contribution to interdisciplinary discussion.

Townsend Fellowships are awarded to assistant professors, associate professors, and graduate students completing their dissertation, as well as to library and museum professionals. Fellows meet in weekly discussions for interdisciplinary peer review of work in progress. Each year a number of senior faculty and visiting postdoctoral fellows are invited to join the discussions.

Townsend Dissertation Fellows will also be eligible to apply for the Professor Norman Jacobson Memorial Teaching Award, which supports innovative teaching efforts in the humanities and interpretive social sciences, and which provides the awardee with an additional stipend. Applications will be evaluated on the strength of the applicant’s teaching dossier and on the description of a teaching-related project to be carried out during the course of the academic year.


Assistant Professors: UC Berkeley assistant professors not under consideration for tenure currently or during the fellowship year are eligible to apply.

Associate Professors: UC Berkeley associate professors not under consideration for promotion to full professor currently or during the fellowship year are eligible to apply. Applicants must be tenured for at least one year prior to the year of the award. Priority will be given to faculty in the Arts and Humanities Division.

Graduate Students: Townsend Dissertation Fellowships are awarded to graduate students at UC Berkeley who have advanced to candidacy for the PhD degree by the time of application. Students whose dissertation projects significantly involve humanistic material or problems that have a significant bearing on the humanities are eligible to apply. Once selected, Dissertation Fellows are eligible to apply for the Jacobson Award.

Library and Museum Professionals: All full-time library and museum professionals at UC Berkeley whose research and experience significantly involve humanistic material or problems that have a significant bearing on the humanities are eligible to apply. Graduate students employed at UC Berkeley libraries or museums are not eligible but may apply through the Townsend Dissertation Fellowship. 

Grant Provision

Assistant and Associate Professors: 50% research leave (2 courses, assuming a 2-2 teaching load) from teaching responsibilities for the full academic year. Fellows make arrangements for course release, whether taken in a single semester or spread out over the year, directly with the chair of their department. As a consideration for this reduction in teaching, a faculty fellow’s department receives $30,000 in funds. The funds may be divided between two departments in the case of a joint appointment. 

Please note: Individual faculty members do not normally receive funding under more than one major Townsend Center research program per year.

Graduate Students: Townsend Dissertation Fellows receive a $30,000 stipend for the academic year. The Jacobson Award for innovative teaching provides an additional $2,500 stipend to one Townsend Dissertation Fellow. The Townsend Center will also provide payment of in-state tuition.

Townsend Dissertation Fellows may combine other fellowship awards, if also permitted by the terms of the other awards, up to the maximum amount set by the Graduate Division. Because the purpose of the Townsend Fellowship is to enable full-time research, Townsend Fellows are not eligible to hold teaching appointments in the academic year during which they hold the fellowship.

Library and Museum Professionals: Library and Museum Fellows receive a $3,000 research allowance that may be used for books, professional travel, computer equipment, or any other approved research expense.

The Fellows meet over lunch Tuesdays from 12 to 2 pm throughout the academic year. The award of a Townsend Fellowship carries with it the understanding that recipients will attend the weekly meetings throughout the year, present current research, respond formally to other fellows’ work, and participate actively in discussions.


Application Deadline

Friday, November 11, 2022 - Received by 11:59 pm.

For questions about the program, please contact the Townsend Center at 

For technical assistance, please contact Submittable at