The American Academy offers residential fellowships to emerging as well as established scholars, writers, and professionals who wish to engage in independent study in Berlin. Around two dozen Berlin Prizes are conferred annually. Past Berlin Prize recipients have included historians, economists, poets, art historians, journalists, legal scholars, anthropologists, musicologists, public policy experts, and writers, among others. The Academy does not accept project proposals in mathematics and the hard sciences.
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 and general networks both in Berlin and beyond. The Academy’s public outreach, which facilitates the introduction of a fellow's work to a wider audience, serves its mission of fostering transatlantic ties through cultural exchange.
Fellowships are typically awarded for an academic semester or, in some cases, for an entire academic year. Only the Bosch Fellowships in Public Policy may be for shorter stays of six to eight weeks. Fellowship benefits include round-trip airfare, housing at the Academy, partial board, and a stipend of $5,000 per month. The Academy’s furnished apartments at the Hans Arnhold Center are suitable for individuals and couples; accommodations are available for families with children at the Hans Arnhold Center or at nearby apartments. All fellows are expected to reside at the Hans Arnhold Center during the entire term of the award.
Fellowships are restricted to candidates based permanently in the US. US citizenship is not required, and 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 fields – such as journalism, law, filmmaking, or public policy – must have equivalent professional degrees. Writers must have published at least one book at the time of application. Although it is helpful to explain how a Berlin residency would contribute to further professional development, candidates need not be working on German topics.
The selection for the Inga Maren Otto Berlin Prize in Music Composition and the Guna S. Mundheim Berlin Prize in the Visual Arts has taken place. It is based on nomination rather than application.