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Photo: Stefan Müller
Photo: Stefan Müller

The Berlin Prize Application

The application period for the Berlin Prize is now closed. The next application period will open in late May 2019. 

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 2019-2020, the Academy will in addition be awarding an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities for work that demonstrates an interest in such topics as migration and social integration, questions of race in comparative perspective, and the interplay of exile and return.

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. Recipients of 2019-20 Berlin Prizes will be notified in early March 2019.

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

We accepted applications for the next academic year from June 2018 until Friday, October 5, 2018, 12 (noon) EST. The next application period will open again in late May 2019.

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 form consists of six steps. 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 a red asterisk. Once you have gathered the necessary information and prepared your supporting materials, the application should take about 20 minutes to complete. Prior to beginning the application process, we encourage you to download and read the online applications instructions with screenshots.

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 Friday, October 5, 2018, as the Academy will not consider late applications.

The deadline for applying for a 2019-2020 Berlin Prize was October 5, 2018, 12 (noon) EST. The next application period opens in late May 2019.

The next deadline for letters of reference was Friday, October 5, 2018, at 12pm.

In the online application, you will be asked to provide the names and contact information of three references. For the Academy’s independent review process, please ask the individuals you list as references to email us their letters on your behalf by Friday, October 5, 2018, at 12pm, to Please note that our online application system does not send any automated request to references.

References should be familiar with your work, particularly your proposal, and be able to comment on your abilities, as well as career to date. Statements by references to the Academy will be read by the peer reviewers and selection committee, but are not released to the applicant.

If you are awarded a Berlin Prize, you will be notified in March 2019.

Contact Fellows Selection

Scherer, Carol (2) 1

Carol Scherer

Manager, Fellows Selection

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

Lo, Emma

Emma Lo

Coordinator, Fellows Selection

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

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