Professor Harleen Singh seated with two students

Associate Professor of Literature and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies Harleen Singh

Brandeis believes that close engagement with the humanities plays a critical role in preparing students for a rapidly evolving world. In that spirit, each year we select a small cohort of our most intellectually promising admitted students to participate in our Humanities Fellowship.

The global, interconnected nature of our society requires scholars who can think both critically and empathetically. We believe there is tremendous value in engaging with the ideas, texts, images, languages and cultures that have shaped human experience.

Students observing items in the ArchivesThe Humanities Fellowship Program exposes students to the rigors of academic research, and to the tremendous possibility and potential inherent in the humanities. Participants receive an annual scholarship, work directly with our humanities faculty and delve into leading-edge scholarship through special programming.

Fellows are given a unique opportunity to deepen their understanding of the human condition, sharpen their critical analysis skills and raise their academic profile. The program is particularly relevant for those interested in pursuing a graduate degree, but aims to go beyond the individual — cultivating a community of scholars who engage and collaborate across disciplinary boundaries.

Perks of the Program

  • A scholarship of up to $20,500 per year.
  • A $500 stipend toward an approved experiential learning opportunity in the humanities. This might include an internship, research or study-abroad experience.
  • A rigorous keystone seminar that bridges multiple disciplines within the humanities and examines classical texts from fresh perspectives. In the Fall 2022 semester, two courses will be offered: Drawing Upon Literature: First Year Seminar and Studio, co-taught by Professors Susan Lichtman and Robin Miller, and Challenges of Power and the Self: Visual Arts and Literature, co-taught by Professors Harleen Singh and Peter Kalb.
  • Mentorship and advising from some of our most respected humanities faculty.
  • Private, faculty-led tours of some of Boston's finest cultural institutions.
  • Access to student mentors serving as Humanities Undergraduate Departmental Representatives or undertaking honor theses in the humanities.
  • Priority advising from the Office of Study Abroad. This includes personalized information sessions and advising for students interested in applying to study at Oxford University or on the Brandeis in Siena summer study abroad program in fine arts.
  • Salon-style events that bring Fellows together for critical discussions with their faculty mentors, graduate students and visiting scholars.
  • Invitations to lectures and events at the Mandel Center for Humanities.
  • An optional spring semester humanities seminar course for first-year students.
  • An optional Senior Salon Capstone Course for senior Humanities Fellows, culminating with a poster session at our dinner in April.

Program Requirements

In order to maintain funding and membership in the fellowship, Fellows must:

  • Remain in good academic standing.
  • Maintain a minimum of a 3.0 GPA.
  • Participate in the Humanities Keystone Seminar during their first semester on campus.

How to Be Considered

All first-year applicants are considered for the Humanities Fellowship; no additional application is required. The Admissions Committee and departmental representatives automatically consider students during our review period. Recipients are selected based on a holistic review of their academic accomplishments and demonstrated commitment to the humanities. We cannot accept self-nominations.

Humanities Fellows Research Projects

How students used their $500 research stipends.

Yoo Ra Sung conducted research on intergenerational effects of trauma on Korean and Korean-American Women since the Korean War. Using Oral History Interviews and secondary sources, Sung studied the effects of war on subsequent generations who did not directly experience the war but are nevertheless haunted by it.

Sanjitha Subramaniam conducted a sociological research project that encompassed both the HIV/AIDS and COVID pandemic in South Asia and Africa. With the HUMF grant, Subramaniam specifically investigated the role of grassroots organizations, donor agencies, and other funding sources during the HIV/AIDS pandemic, while also making connections between this crisis to the current COVID pandemic. 

Through the Japanese department at Brandeis, Jeanine Bell’s research is allowing her to create a recreational reading course in Japanese for non-native speakers, with the goal to find a way of foreign language acquisition through a more intuitive and less stressful method.