Visiting Scholars Program


This program offers faculty members in the humanities and social sciences (not limited to China Studies or East Asian Studies) the opportunity to undertake 10 months of study and research at Harvard University and/or other appropriate universities.

The proposed research project should be related to the humanities and social sciences with an emphasis on culture. We seek outstanding scholars whose work is academic rather than applied. Scholars whose research focus is comparative, and includes one or more Asian countries, are especially welcome. Applicants do not have to be working on Asian studies topics to be eligible. Although there is no age limit for applicants, preference is given to scholars who are in the early stages of their academic career. Future promise is prioritized over past achievements.

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. In cases where qualifications are roughly equal, priority is given to candidates who have not recently spent substantial time at an American university.

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. 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.

Scholars are provided with a monthly stipend and individual medical insurance coverage while at the Institute. Each Scholar is required to make at least one public presentation in English on their proposed research project during their stay 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
  • 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, Geography, 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.

Visiting Scholar applicants should keep in mind that not all application reviewers are scholars in their specific field. It is important for candidates to present their research in a clear and coherent way so that scholars outside of their field of specialty will be able to understand.

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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