Visiting Scholars Program


This program offers faculty members in the humanities and social sciences the opportunity to undertake 10 months of independent research at Harvard University. The proposed research project should be related to the humanities and social sciences with an emphasis on culture. Applicants do not have to be working on Asian studies topics to be eligible, however, Asian and comparative studies are especially welcome. Successful applicants join researchers at the Harvard-Yenching Institute, and have access to the Harvard University libraries.

Terms and Conditions

The Visiting Scholars program is exclusively for faculty members at our partner institutions in Asia, and candidates must be nominated through their university’s foreign affairs or international office. Preference will be given to scholars who are in the early stages of their academic careers. Applicants must have at least three years of teaching and research experience at their home institutions. Scholars who gained their PhD from an institution outside of Asia within the past five years (from the start date of the HYI program) are not eligible. Previous recipients of a Visiting Scholar fellowship from HYI are not eligible to reapply for this program. Former HYI Doctoral Scholarship recipients, HYI Visiting Fellow recipients, and HYI training program fellowship recipients are eligible to apply.

The applicant must be a ladder faculty member (full time, tenure-track position) at his or her home institution. The selection criteria include academic training, quality of research proposal, depth of subject knowledge, originality of the proposal as well as feasibility of conducting the research at Harvard and match with a Harvard faculty member. Scholars are provided with a monthly stipend and individual medical insurance coverage while at the Institute.

Eligible Fields

Fields of research in the humanities and social sciences to be considered are:

  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • Area and International Studies
  • Art and Architectural History
  • Geography
  • History (including economic and legal history)
  • Linguistics
  • Literature
  • Media and Film Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Sociology
  • Study of Religion
  • Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Scholars in the fields of Economics, Education, Law, Psychology, and Public Administration may be considered, but must check with the Institute before submitting applications. Applicants do not have to be working on Asian studies topics to be eligible.

Application Process

Only applicants whose universities are affiliated with HYI are eligible to apply. HYI can only accept applications submitted by the applicant’s international or foreign affairs office. Interested individuals should contact their International or Foreign Affairs Office for more information. The annual deadline for applications is September 15th. All applicants and university administrators will be notified of selection results by late February of the following year. The program begins on August 1st.

On the application form you will be asked to “List 1-2 faculty member(s) at Harvard University or any other major universities in the Unites States with whom you wish to consult during the fellowship if selected.” This information is for the HYI’s reference only.  Do not write directly to the faculty member(s) you list.  Writing to the faculty member(s) listed will have no bearing on your application. HYI will identify an appropriate faculty member as your mentor only if you are selected.

For information or inquiries, please contact our program office at

Helpful Information for Applicants

Please visit this page for more information on your research proposal, recommendation letters, interviews and the application review process.

Find information on how to prepare your Visiting Scholars application and interview

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