How to Apply to the HCPDS Postdoctoral Fellowships

The call for applications for the 2024–2026 cohort of Harvard Bell Fellows is now closed.

The Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies is actively recruiting for the David E. Bell Postdoctoral Fellowship Program.

Before applying, please review all the related fellowship pages. The program is open to both U.S. and international scholars.

Note that all incoming scholars must complete their doctoral requirements, and provide proof to HCPDS, by August 16, 2024. The following forms of proof will be accepted:

    1. Copy of Diploma (Preferred); or
    2. Letter from Registrar’s Office noting that all doctoral requirements have been completed; or
    3. Letter from chair of thesis committee noting that all doctoral requirements have been completed.

Recruitment cycle started on Wednesday, October 11, 2023, at 10:00 ET.

DEADLINE to apply is Thursday, November 30, 2023.

Candidate(s) will be chosen by March 2024.

Application Procedure

The HCPDS postdoctoral fellowship application consists of two parts: I) an online application form, which will ask the applicant to enter information and upload materials, and II) three letters of recommendation.

In order for an application to be considered complete, the online application form must be submitted by 12:00 PM Eastern Time (ET) on Thursday, November 30, 2023, and the letters of recommendation must be submitted by 5:OO PM Eastern Time (ET) on Thursday, December 7, 2023.

I. Online Application Form – Opens 10 AM EDT on Oct. 11, 2023

Click Here to Access the HCPDS Postdoctoral Fellowship Application Portal

The online application form contains the following components:

  1. Eligibility Questionnaire
  2. Applicant Information
  3. Contact Information for Three Recommenders — See below for recommendation letter instructions.
  4. Curriculum Vitae (PDF Upload)
  5. Research Proposal (PDF Upload) No more than 2,000 words addressing the following questions:
    • Describe your dissertation or other current research.
    • What questions are you interested in addressing as a fellow? How will this build on your work to date, fill gaps in your current knowledge, and change your career trajectory?
    • Describe your current methodological and analytical skills, and what advanced training you would hope to achieve in this area.
    • Describe which HCPDS faculty member(s) you would be interested in collaborating with. You may list a non-member but they must have a full-time Harvard appointment. You do not have to contact potential mentors/collaborators prior to applying for the fellowship.
  6. Writing Sample (PDF Upload) that demonstrates your writing and analytical skills, as well as your ability to generate interesting and original ideas. This can be a published article or a draft publication. The writing sample is limited to 20 pages (single or double spaced); pages beyond the first 20 will not be reviewed.

II. Letters of Recommendation – Opens 10 AM EDT on Oct. 11, 2023

Click Here to Access the HCPDS Letter of Recommendation Portal

Letters of recommendation are key components of the application and are weighed heavily. All letters must be submitted by 5:00 PM ET on Thursday, December 7, 2023. Applicants are responsible for reaching out to their recommenders about submitting letters ahead of the deadline; HCPDS will not be contacting recommenders to solicit letters.

Letters may be submitted before the applicant submits their online application form and will be held and later linked to the appropriate application by name. Applicants should indicate to recommenders how the applicant name appears (or will appear) on the online application form.

This HCPDS Letter of Recommendation Process Guide (PDF) provides comprehensive guidelines for writing and submitting letters of recommendation and may be shared with recommenders.

Letters should be written on institutional letterhead, if possible, and contain the following information:

    • How long the recommender has known applicant
    • Relationship to the applicant (e.g., advisor)
    • Quantitative ranking of applicant to others (e.g., top 10%)
  • In addition, the letter should comment on the applicant’s:
    • Writing skills
    • Analytical skills
    • Ability to form new and creative ideas and research questions
    • Ability to work in an interdisciplinary environment

Recommenders may provide any additional, related comments that they believe will help reviewers evaluate the merit of the applicant.


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