Study in USA: Harvard Academy Scholars Program for Postgraduate Students of All Nationalities

The Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, an academy of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University, sponsors the Academy Scholars Program. This program is open to all recent PhD recipients and doctoral candidates.

The Academy Scholars Program identifies and supports outstanding scholars at the start of their careers whose work combines disciplinary excellence in the social sciences (including history and law) with a command of the language, history, or culture of non-Western countries or regions. Their scholarship may elucidate domestic, comparative, or transnational issues, past or present.

Applications are welcome from qualified persons without regard to nationality, gender, or race.


The Academy Scholars Program is open to scholars from all countries and citizenships.

The program considers applicants who are already enrolled in or who have recently completed a PhD or equivalent doctoral program in the social sciences. Predoctoral candidates must have finished all field research and be in the writing stage of their dissertation at the time of application. If you have completed a PhD program, the PhD completion date must be within three years of the October 1 application deadline.

Those in possession of a PhD longer than three years are ineligible.

It is not necessary to apply specifically as a predoctoral or postdoctoral candidate, as the Selection Committee considers all applicants in one applicant pool. Do, however, indicate your anticipated completion date to the Committee.

Finalists must be available to travel for a personal interview on the December 15, 2015 interview date. The Harvard Academy will arrange and pay for all travel and hotel accommodations for the finalists to interview in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.


Eligible groups
Citizens of ALL countries


Participating Institutions
Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, University of Harvard; USA


Fields of study
The founders considered area studies expertise in non-Western parts of the world to be a valuable addition to the social science disciplines. Accordingly the Harvard Academy looks for outstanding applicants in PhD programs or with PhD degrees in disciplines normally represented as in the social sciences in universities, where most of the Academy Scholars find employment.


The program defines non-Western as any country other than the US, Canada, and Western Europe (as defined by the former Iron Curtain). Also, research that covers non-Western interaction with the Western region is transnational and thus eligible.


For the complete list of accepted and non-accepted fields of study, please see this page.

Number of awards
Each year four to five Academy Scholars are named


Sponsorship duration
Scholars are named for two-year appointments.


Academy Scholars are expected to reside in the Cambridge/Boston area for the duration of their appointments unless traveling for pre-approved research purposes.


Scholarship benefits
Academy Scholars are appointed for two years by the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies and are provided time, guidance, and access to Harvard University facilities. They receive substantial financial and research assistance to undertake sustained projects of research and/or acquire accessory training in their chosen fields and areas.


The Senior Scholars, a distinguished group of senior Harvard University faculty members, act as mentors to the Academy Scholars to help them achieve their intellectual potential.


Postdoctoral Academy Scholars will receive an annual stipend of $67,000, and predoctoral Academy Scholars will receive an annual stipend of $31,000. This stipend is supplemented by funding for conference and research travel, research assistants, and health insurance coverage.


Some teaching is permitted but not required.


Method of Application
Interested applicants must submit all application materials by the stipulated deadline. The completed application will include:

  1. Cover letter
  2. Curriculum vitae (CV) or resumé
  3. Research proposal (2500 word maximum)
  4. Official PhD program transcript
  5. Three letters of recommendation


The online application is accessed thru the homepage of the Academy’s website. All parts of the application are submitted online except for the official PhD program transcript which must be mailed to the Academy.


It is important to visit the official website (link to it is below) to apply and for complete information on how to apply.


All application materials need to arrive by the deadline of October 1

The program does not accept late applications.

The competition for these awards is open only to recent PhD (or comparable professional school degree) recipients and doctoral candidates. Those still pursuing a PhD should have completed their routine training and be well along in the writing of their theses before applying to become Academy Scholars.


Founded in 1984, the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies is dedicated to increasing our knowledge of the culture, history, and institutions of the world’s major regions and countries. To accomplish this goal, it sponsors the Academy Scholars Program, organizes seminars and conferences, and supports Harvard faculty research and publications.


The Academy Scholars are a select community of individuals with resourcefulness, initiative, curiosity, and originality, whose work in non-Western cultures or regions shows promise as a foundation for exceptional careers in major universities or international institutions.


Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, established in 1636. Its history, influence and wealth have made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.


Established originally by the Massachusetts legislature and soon thereafter named for John Harvard (its first benefactor), Harvard is the United States’ oldest institution of higher learning, and the Harvard Corporation (formally, the President and Fellows of Harvard College) is its first chartered corporation.


Application Deadline: 1 October 2018
Open for International Applicants: Yes