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Public Scholars Fellowship:
Frequently Asked Questions

Am I eligible if I do not hold a PhD?

Yes. The Moynihan Public Scholars Fellowship is open to academics, public service practitioners, and writers or journalists. However, academic applicants must hold a PhD by the time of application.

Do I have to be a US resident or citizen to be a Fellow?

Applicants need not be citizens to apply. However, they must be able to relocate within a commutable distance to the City College Campus, and must have legal authorization to work in the United States. CCNY will not sponsor fellows for visas.

Can I apply as part of a group/team?

No. The Moynihan Public Scholars Fellowship competition only welcomes proposals from individual applicants.

Is there an age limit?

No. However, preference will be given to early- to mid-career applicants. Academic applicants must hold faculty or research positions and are expected to have a PhD at the time of application.

What kinds of projects can applicants propose?

The Moynihan Public Scholars Fellowship is primarily intended to support individuals interested in producing written outputs based on their professional or research expertise. The specific form of writing is likely to vary by applicants’ careers or backgrounds, but may include: a book (academic or trade press), a series of journal articles, or a series of essays. Applicants are welcome to propose other kinds of outputs consistent with the broader aims of the Fellowship.

What should be included in the proposal?

Strong applications will identify a problem and propose an intellectual approach to the problem informed by expertise gained through research or work experience. Applicants should indicate a production plan and demonstrate that they have already conducted the research necessary to produce the outputs (either formally or through professional work experience). Finally, applicants should articulate how they expect they would benefit from a) time dedicated to writing and b) the opportunity to engage their ideas in new intellectual communities.

What are the selection criteria for Moynihan Public Scholars Fellows?

Moynihan Public Scholarship Fellows will be selected according to the following five (5) criteria:

  • Heterodox or Cross-Partisan Ideas. Strong applications will propose bold, creative, and heterodox approaches to pressing public issues, especially those mired by partisan division. Cross-partisan approaches–those that elude partisan categorization–will be given priority.
  • Subject Expertise. Strong applications will demonstrate subject expertise gained either through rigorous research or professional experience.
  • Public Service. Strong applications will demonstrate a principled commitment to serving the public or the public good.
  • Popular Communication. Strong applications will demonstrate experience communicating their work to broad, non-expert audiences.
  • Transformative Potential. Strong applications will demonstrate why they expect that this fellowship will have a transformative impact on their professional career.

What themes or topics are more likely to be successful?

All themes and topics related to public affairs are welcome, but those engaged with the issues that animated Senator Moynihan’s career will be given priority. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Democratic Culture and Cross-Partisan Cooperation
  • Institutional Transparency and Reform
  • Social and Welfare Policy
  • Racial Justice in a Multi-Ethnic Society
  • Environmental Politics and Climate Change
  • Public Space, Design, and Art

The strongest applications will propose bold, creative, and heterodox approaches to these subjects. In particular, cross-partisan approaches–those that elude easy partisan categorization–will be given priority.

How many fellows are selected each cycle?

The inaugural cohort will include 3 fellows. In subsequent years, cohorts will be expanded to include up to 9 fellows per year.

Do I need to answer all of the questions on the application form?

Yes. Only complete applications will be considered.

May I submit my application by fax or email?

No. Applications sent by fax or email will not be accepted. Applicants must use the Moynihan Public Scholars Online Application Portal to supply the necessary information.

How can I find out whether the program has received my application?

An acknowledgment of receipt will be sent automatically via email upon successful submission of the application. If you do not receive an automatic email confirmation after submitting your application, please contact and specify “Public Scholars Fellowship” in the subject line.

If I submit my application before the deadline, can I change it?

No alterations will be accepted after the application has been submitted.

When are applications due?

Complete applications are due no later than January 12 at 11:59 pm ET. For further information, please direct inquiries to

Do I have to complete the application all at once?

Yes. Applicants may not save an open application. Applicants should prepare each component of the application and submit it prior to the deadline. 

What is the Fellowship Term?

The Fellowship term is 12 months. The Fellowship term will commence in September 2023 and end in August 2024.

What is the expected time commitment for Fellows?

The Fellowship requires full-time commitment, and prospective Fellows will be expected to take a leave of absence from other employment during the fellowship year. However, the Fellowship operates according to an academic calendar, in which in-person commitments primarily occur during the months of September - December (Fall Semester) and February - May (Spring Semester). Fellows will continue to have access to the campus and to City College resources, but the expectation during the Winter (January) and Summer (June - August) months will be that fellows work independently on their respective writing projects.

Are remote fellowships allowed?

No. The Moynihan Public Scholars Fellowship is a residential fellowship, and in order to fully participate in community activities–including in-person teaching during the second semester–fellows are expected to live within a commutable distance to City College’s campus.

Is housing available through City College?

No, housing is not available through City College. However, Moynihan Center staff can assist fellows who need to relocate to find housing nearby.

Are there limitations to how fellows may use their award?

Moynihan Public Scholars receive unrestricted awards of up to $100,000. These awards are primarily intended to subsidize the cost of housing, relocation, and other costs of living, but there are no restrictions on how the award may be used and fellows are neither required to submit budgets nor spending reports.

Does the Fellowship provide health insurance?

Health insurance is not included as an additional benefit. However, Public Scholars are eligible to receive health insurance through City College, and fellows may use their award stipend to subsidize the cost of health insurance.