skip to Main Content
Photo: Stefan Müller
Photo: Stefan Müller

The Berlin Prize Application

The American Academy will be accepting applications for the 2021/22 Berlin Prize from early July until the deadline of Friday, September 25, 2020, at 6 p.m. EST.

The American Academy in Berlin seeks to enrich transatlantic dialogue in the arts, humanities, and public policy through the development and communication of projects of the highest scholarly merit. Past recipients have included anthropologists, art historians, literary scholars, philosophers, historians, musicologists, journalists, writers, filmmakers, sociologists, legal scholars, economists, and public policy experts, among others. For 2020/21, the Academy will also award a Richard C. Holbrooke Fellow for a project that looks at diplomatic approaches to resolving major global issues, from armed conflicts to environmental challenges to the impact of new technologies.

For all projects, the Academy asks that candidates explain the relevance of a stay in Berlin to the development of their work.

Please note that artists, composers, and poets are invitation-only competitions.

Following a peer-reviewed evaluation process, an independent Selection Committee reviews finalist applications. All candidates will be notified in March 2021.

General Fellowship FAQs

The American Academy in Berlin is a private, independent, nonprofit institute for advanced study located in Berlin, Germany. Its fellowship program promotes advanced research in a variety of disciplines.

Each year the Academy welcomes about two dozen fellows to the Hans Arnhold Center, on Lake Wannsee. The Academy also hosts a small number of invited Distinguished Visitors for shorter stays of one to four weeks, and organizes a diverse public program that includes lectures and presentations by resident fellows, Distinguished Visitors, and guest speakers.

In addition to placing a high priority on the independent work of its fellows, the Academy is in a unique position to aid fellows in establishing professional networks, both in Berlin and beyond. The Academy’s public atmosphere, which actively encourages fellows to introduce their work to wider audiences, serves its mission of fostering transatlantic ties through cultural exchange.

Fellowship benefits include round-trip airfare, housing at the Hans Arnhold Center, partial board, and a stipend of $5,000 per month. Fellows are expected to be in residence at the Academy during the entire term of the award, generally one academic semester.

Academy fellows are comprised of established and emerging scholars, writers, and professionals who wish to engage in independent study. Berlin Prizes have been awarded to historians, economists, filmmakers, art historians, journalists, legal scholars, musicologists, public-policy experts, and writers, among others. They are appointed by an independent selection committee.

Fellowships are restricted to candidates based permanently in the United States. Limited periods spent outside the US, such as sabbatical, foreign assignment for American publications, etc., must be explained on the application. US citizenship is not required. American expatriates are not eligible.

Candidates in academic disciplines are expected to have completed a doctorate at the time of application. Applicants working in most other fieldssuch as journalism, filmmaking, or public policymust have equivalent professional degrees. Writers must have published at least one book at the time of application.

Candidates should explain how their projects will benefit from a residency in Berlin, but they need not be working on German topics.

The Academy does not accept project proposals in mathematics or the natural sciences. Candidates in the visual arts, music composition and poetry are chosen by nomination only.

Private furnished apartments, equipped with small kitchens, are provided at or near the Hans Arnhold Center, a villa on the shores of Lake Wannsee. The Wannsee train station (a stop for S-Bahn and regional trains) is less than a ten-minute walk away. Trains reach downtown Berlin in ten to twenty minutes.

Berlin Prize winners are typically in residence for a full academic semester. The fall semester begins in mid-August and ends in mid-December; the spring semester is from late January through late May. Fellowships are occasionally awarded for an academic year.

The American Academy offers accommodations for families with children at the Hans Arnhold Center and at apartments nearby. If the selection committee awards you a fellowship, and appropriate family housing is not available during your preferred semester, the Academy will try to accommodate you during a future semester. (Please note that pets are not permitted.)
No. Berlin Prizes for visual artists, composers, and poets are determined in invitation-only competitions.

Fellowship Application FAQs

The application period for the 2020/21 Berlin Prize was from May 29, 2019, until Monday, September 23, 2019, at 6 p.m. EST.

We now use SlideRoom for our online application. SlideRoom provides resources for applicants here. When the online application system opens, candidates will first need to create a login and password. Once you are logged into the system, the online application consists of three sections: forms, attachments, and references. It is possible to log out of your application and log back in later; your information will be saved for your next session. Required fields in the various forms are marked with an asterisk. Once you have gathered the necessary information and prepared your supporting materials, the application should take about 20 minutes to complete.

If you wish to send your application as a hard copy, please send an inquiry to Emma Lo at

We do not accept applications by fax or as email attachments. When sending, please plan adequate time for your package to arrive in Berlin by Monday, September 23, 2019, as the Academy will not consider late applications.

We require three letters of reference. Using the online application system, you will enter the contact information of your references and send them official requests to submit letters. They will then receive an email with instructions for how to upload their letters to a portal by Monday, September 30, 2019 (one week after the application deadline).
References should be familiar with your work, particularly your proposal, and be able to comment on your abilities, as well as career to date. Please have your references provide letters in English, so that the peer reviewers and selection committee members can read your complete application materials. Please request permission from each person you list as a reference before sending your request through the online application system.

All candidates will be notified in March 2020.

No. There is also no need to indicate your interest in these specially designated fellowships in the online application, as the entire applicant pool will be considered for these fellowship profiles. Projects that address migration, social integration, race, exile and return, and major global issues are also generally welcome.

Contact Fellows Selection

Carol Scherer

Manager, Fellows Selection

T: +49-30-80483 106
F: +49-30-80483 111

Emma Lo

Coordinator, Fellows Selection & Alumni Relations

T: +49-30-80483 153
F: +49-30-80483 111

Back To Top