Frequently Asked Questions

Research Fellowship Application FAQ

I’m having technical difficulties with the Interfolio platform. Can you help me?
For any techinical difficulties, contact Interfolio directly for assistance. 

How do I submit or request a letter of recommendation?
Letters of recommendation must be submitted directly through Interfolio by the letter writer. Letters of recommendation sent via email will not be accepted. Letters must be in English. The applicant must request the letter through Interfolio. In the Required Documentation section, select “Add file” and then “Request a recommendation.” Follow this link for detailed directions with screenshots for both applicants and letter writers.

My letter of recommendation may not be submitted before the application deadline. Is there a grace period?
Yes, the selection committee allows a two-week grace period for letters of recommendation. Please note that it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure letters are submitted. Applicants will not receive notification from fellowship program staff indicating that letters are missing from an application.

Can I submit my application without the letter of recommendation?
Applications can be submitted once you have made the recommendation request through Interfolio. The letter does not need to be received in order for an applicant to submit the remainder of their application by the deadline. If you have technical difficulties submitting your application, contact Interfolio directly for assistance.

Can I submit an application using materials that are not located in the Beinecke Library? Our fellowships support research in one or more of Yale Library’s special collections:

  • Arts Library Special Collections 
  • Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library (including Manuscripts & Archives and Fortunoff collections)
  • Divinity Special Collections
  • Lewis Walpole Library
  • Medical Historical Library
  • Music Library Special Collections

Please also consult these collection-specific opportunities:

What are the criteria used to evaluate applications?
Evaluators consider the following:

  1. ORIGINALITY: Is this an interesting project? Is the proposed question, methodology, or final project outcome original? Is this project utilizing material that has not been heavily researched before? Is the project description clear and compelling?  
  2. IMPACT: Will the project have an impact on how we understand the collections or the broader subject the fellow is engaging with? Is the project making a valuable contribution to a field? Are the reference letters strong?
  3. RESEARCH PLAN: Does the library have the material they are looking for? Is there enough material to support the extent of research they plan to conduct? Do the materials align with the questions/methodology of the proposal?
  4. CENTRALITY OF COLLECTIONS: Is it evident that working in the collections is essential to their larger project? Would this project be viable without the collections? Are the collections here poised to support this work?
  5. OVERALL QUALITY: What is the overall quality of the application (writing skills, organizational skills, prep work)? Do you have confidence they can complete the proposed research within the time proposed?

Can I submit a proposal for materials that are digitized?

Yes. However, you should make clear in your proposal why you need to see the materials in person.

Is there a required format for the proposal or materials list?
There is no specified format for application materials. Please format the documents in any way that supports your project goals and will be understandable to the evaluators. Ensure you have specified the length of your proposed research project and how that time will be spent consulting the materials on your list. 

What should be included in the materials list?
The goal of the materials list is to help the review committee understand how the materials you wish to consult relate to your project, which we evaluate through the criteria of “research plan” and “centrality of collections.” The level of specificity for each project will be different. If there are items that are critical to the project and they can be identified specifically, it is recommended that item-level descriptions are included in the materials list. If the project is exploratory, then a box listing may be enough. There is no requirement because of the variability of detail in finding aids and the way each project is conceived. However, we strongly encourage you to include links to the description of the item or collection in one of Yale Library’s research tools:

  • Archives at Yale– a database of descriptions of archival collections (also known as finding aids)
  • Quicksearch – a search tool that looks at multiple sources, including printed books, manuscripts, and archives
  • Orbis– online catalog of the Yale University Library

IMPORTANT: Proposals cannot be accepted for collections that are currently closed (for preservation, cataloging, exhibition, or other reasons). Contact beinecke.library@yale.edu with questions about closed collections. 

What should be included in the travel budget (Evans Fellowship only)?
The travel budget is only for travel to and from other repositories beyond Yale for research that complements research in Yale’s collections. The budget may include estimated air, train, car, or other transportation and accommodation costs. Per diem (daily incidental and meal costs) will not be awarded. Please note that this funding is subject to taxes as it is part of the total fellowship award.

I’m in my final year of my graduate program. Should I submit the graduate student application or the short-term application?

  • If you will be enrolled in a degree-granting program at the time the fellowship will be taken, please apply for the graduate student research fellowship.
  • If you will not be enrolled in a degree-granting program at the time the fellowship is to be taken, please apply for the short-term research fellowship. Make clear in your application that you will have graduated by the time of the fellowship award.

Are international applicants welcome to apply? What kind of visa do I need to travel on?
International applicants are welcome to apply. There is no specific visa requirement. However, we strongly recommend applying for a J-1 visa. The Beinecke Library is able to sponsor a J-1 visa but cannot guarantee visa approval or influence the timeliness of the process, which typically takes a minimum of 4 months. Please note it is the fellows’ responsibility to ensure they are compliant with all U.S. visa and tax requirements.  

When must the fellowship be taken? What are the onsite requirements?
Fellowships must be started between June 1, 2025, and May 31, 2026. We do our best to honor preferred dates for a fellowship visit, however dates will be approved based on availability in the reading room. We will do our best to accommodate requested changes in fellowship dates due to unforeseen circumstances but not all requests may be granted. We are not able to defer fellowship awards past May 31, 2026. Fellows are expected to be onsite and using materials for all the weeks of the fellowship period. Details are provided in the award letter.

Are there opportunities for fellowships to be taken before June 1?
There are no official channels for fellowship opportunities to be taken before the beginning of the award cycle on June 1. Interested researchers are welcome to conduct research in the collections without an official Beinecke fellowship. Yale special collections are open to all researchers. 

What if I want to extend my fellowship period past what I was awarded?
Yale special collections are open to all researchers. While fellows are welcome to extend their research period, fellowship privileges are limited to the appointed fellowship period. Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis depending on extenuating circumstances that may have shortened the appointed fellowship period. Contact Fellowship Program Director, Jae Rossman, to make a request for an extension.

I’m a Yale student. How does the funding work with my financial aid?
We encourage Yale students to be in contact with their DGS or department administrator for exact details as individual circumstances vary. In general:

  • Students enrolled in GSAS: One- or two-month fellowships are awarded on top of the usual stipend. Three or more months may be able to replace the GSAS stipend for that semester. Check with your department or student financial aid about your specific situation.
  • Students enrolled in a professional school: Payments will be made in one lump sum through the Student Employment Office at the beginning of the fellowship period.

I applied for a fellowship last year and was not selected. Can I talk to someone about how to strengthen my application?
Due to the volume of applications, we are not able to offer individual consultations for fellowship proposals. We are also not able to share past successful proposals or materials lists. These are competitive applications, however the pool changes every year, so re-application is welcome. Please consult the criteria we use to evaluate applications (listed above).

Can I speak with someone about the viability of my proposal?
We do not offer individual consultations about specific research proposals. Questions about the library’s collections and their contents can be directed to beinecke.library@yale.edu

If I received a fellowship previously, am I eligible to apply again?
Yes, having previously been awarded a fellowship does not exclude one from applying.