The Fellowship

Often characterized as "midcareer" awards, Guggenheim Fellowships are intended for men and women who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.

Fellowships are awarded through two annual competitions: one open to citizens and permanent residents of the United States and Canada, and the other open to citizens and permanent residents of Latin America and the Caribbean.  Candidates must apply to the Guggenheim Foundation in order to be considered in either of these competitions.

The Foundation receives between 3,500 and 4,000 applications each year.  Although no one who applies is guaranteed success in the competition, there is no prescreening:  all applications are reviewed.  Approximately 200 Fellowships are awarded each year.

During the rigorous selection process, applicants will first be pooled with others working in the same field, and examined by experts in that field: the work of artists will be reviewed by artists, that of scientists by scientists, that of historians by historians, and so on. The Foundation has a network of several hundred advisers, who either meet at the Foundation offices to look at applicants' work, or receive application materials to read offsite.  These advisers, all of whom are themselves former Guggenheim Fellows, then submit reports critiquing and ranking the applications in their respective fields.  Their recommendations are then forwarded to and weighed by a Committee of Selection, which then determines the number of awards to be made in each area.  Occasionally, no application in a given area is considered strong enough to merit a Fellowship.

The Committee of Selection then forwards its recommendations to the Board of Trustees for final approval.  The successful candidates in the United States and Canada competition are announced in early April; those in the Latin America and Caribbean competition, in early June.

We guarantee our advisors and Committee of Selection members, as well as those who submit letters of reference, absolute confidentiality.  Therefore, under no circumstances will the reasons for the rejection of an application be provided.

Jane Ira Bloom, 2007, Fellow, Music Composition.  Photograph by Jean François Laberine.

Glen MacDonald and research assistant Christine Farris conducting research on long-term precipitation variability in northern British Columbia, Canada. Submitted by Glen MacDonald, 2008, Fellow, Geography & Environmental Studies.