Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

About Applying

After Applying


General Questions

What is life like at CISAC?

CISAC values its reputation as a highly collegial and collaborative environment. Fellows are expected to participate in research seminars, collaborate with other fellows, faculty, and research staff, and enjoy the myriad opportunities for formal and informal meals and discussions with professional colleagues. They are also encouraged to make use of the resources and opportunities afforded by one of the world’s foremost research institutions. Click here for more information about life at Stanford University.


Who funds CISAC fellowships?

Foundations including Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Flora Family Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Stanton Foundation, private donors, and, at times, governmental sources.


How long is the fellowship?

Fellowships range from nine to eleven months, and in certain circumstances may be renewable.


Does the fellowship come with a stipend, benefits, and housing?

CISAC predoctoral fellows receive stipends comparable to that awarded by the Stanford Graduate Fellowships program. The Center also pays non-matriculated student tuition for predoctoral fellows as required by Stanford University. Predoctoral fellows will be enrolled in Stanford's student medical insurance plan – Cardinal Care.

Postdoctoral fellows receive stipends commensurate with experience and with consideration given to Stanford established minimums. Postdoctoral fellows will attend a mandatory benefits orientation soon after they arrive on campus and are provided health benefits. Fellows have the option of purchasing additional coverage for dependents.

Junior faculty and professional stipends are commensurate with experience.

Stanford University policy requires evidence of medical insurance. CISAC will provide coverage for fellows without personal coverage.

Unfortunately, we cannot provide housing. We can, however, refer fellows to the housing information that Stanford provides.




About Applying

What needs to be included in the application?

Please click here for application requirements.


Are letters of recommendation confidential? 

Yes. Individuals submitting recommendations on behalf of applicants will receive email reminders to submit their recommendations online.


Can my recommender submit a letter via email? Can letters be sent via Interfolio?

It is strongly preferred that individuals upload their recommendations through the online system (SlideRoom). Recommenders will receive an email from Slideroom requesting the recommendation form and letter.


If an individual is unable to upload his/her recommendation through Slideroom, he/she may email the letters to, or send them via Interfolio.  It is not necessary to use both methods.  The preferred file name format (not the subject of the email) for emailed letters of reference is: [Last name of applicant] LoR [Last name of recommender]. For example: "Smith LoR Jones". All letters should be in .pdf format.


How do I know which fellowship program I am applying for?

If you are interested in a particular fellowship, you may indicate accordingly on your application. However, the CISAC fellowship selection committee will ensure that you are considered for every fellowship for which you are deemed eligible.


Do you need PhD transcripts?

All pre- and postdoctoral applicants must include a transcript. Junior faculty and professionals may include a transcript, but are not required to do so.


The application form requires me to upload a transcript, but I am a junior faculty member or professional. What should I do?

Please upload a document that states that "transcripts are not required for my fellowship level".


Do you require official transcripts?

You may upload unofficial transcripts with your application. We may ask you to submit official transcripts later.


Will you accept a diploma in lieu of a transcript?

We strongly prefer transcripts. If they are not available, however, diplomas may be considered on a case-by-case basis.


Do transcripts need to be translated into English? Yes. All application documents must be in English.


I attend a university that does not issue transcripts to doctoral students. What should I do?

Please send a certificate from the school stating that you are a doctoral candidate.  A list of the courses which you have completed would be helpful, as well as a degree or transcript from your masters program.


What are the differences between an abstract, a prospectus, and a writing sample?

The research abstract is a brief summary of that project.

The prospectus should focus on the work that you would like to undertake at CISAC if selected. If applicable, It can be an introduction or relevant portion of your dissertation.

The writing sample should be a demonstration of your writing and research skills. This is a document that you have already written.


May I apply as a postdoctoral applicant if I expect to have completed my PhD degree by the time the fellowship begins?

Yes. However, please note that the offer, stipends, and title for the postdoctoral fellowship are contingent upon finishing the PhD before you start the fellowship. The offer can be rescinded if the PhD is not finished. If you expect to finish during the year, apply as a predoctoral fellow. Some fellowships allow for conversion to postdoctoral status if all requirements are met by December 1. You should consult with Marisa MacAskill, fellowship manager, to see if it is permissible. 


If I do not need funding, should I apply for a fellowship?

Yes, you should. Non-stipendiary applicants are considered in the same pool as those requesting stipends.


May I apply for a fellowship if I am not a U.S. citizen? Yes.


Is a visa available through the CISAC fellowship? Yes.


Will CISAC accept DPhil degrees as PhD equivalents? Yes.


Does CISAC grant degrees? No.


Are CISAC fellowships available for non-Stanford students?

Yes. We very much welcome applications from non-Stanford students.


How many fellowships are granted per year? 

This number varies based on available funding and on the applicant pool. 


How do I know if my topic is compatible with current areas of study at CISAC?

Please review the CISAC website and the publications of current faculty and research staff. If you have further questions, please send an inquiry to


May mid- to late- career professionals apply?

CISAC occasionally has fellowships available for mid to late career professionals or those with a terminal professional  degree (law, medicine, or business). If you fall into one of these categories, please send an inquiry to before applying to see if a fellowship opportunity is available in this category for the coming academic year.


May I apply for a fellowship if I have a master's degree and do not intend to pursue a PhD?

CISAC does not make predoctoral fellowships available for those who are not enrolled in a PhD program.


Does CISAC award fellowships for studies to be conducted at other universities? No.



After Applying

How can I tell if a referrer has submitted my recommendation letter?

You can check the status of your letters of recommendation via Slideroom.


When can I expect to hear a decision?

You will be notified between mid-March and mid-April.