Calihan Academic Fellowship


The Calihan Academic Fellowships provide scholarships and research grants to future scholars and religious leaders whose academic work shows outstanding potential. Graduate students and seminarians currently studying theology, philosophy, economics, or related fields must demonstrate the potential to advance understanding in the relationship between theology and the principles of the free and virtuous society. Such principles include recognition of human dignity, the importance of the rule of law, limited government, religious liberty, and freedom in economic life.

Fellowship Details:

  • Selection Process: Shortly after a given deadline, applications are reviewed and recipients selected by the research staff of the Acton Institute. Award decisions by the Acton Institute are final and not subject to appeal.
  • Agreement: Recipients must respond to an award notification within one month and adhere to fellowship conditions listed below.
  • Grant Amounts: Fellowships and grants do not exceed $3,000, but typically range from $500-$1,000.
  • Duration: Fellowships are not renewable but all applicants are eligible to reapply.
  • Deadlines: To be considered for a scholarship, applications must be postmarked by the following deadlines:

    Fall Term Fellowships
    Application deadline: July 15

    Spring Term Fellowships
    Application deadline: October 15


  • Awards are open to current seminarians or graduate students in theology, philosophy, religion, economics, or in related fields.
  • Strong academic performance is essential.
  • Candidates must have a demonstrated interest in the themes of the Acton Institute.
  • Candidates must display the potential to advance the themes of the Acton Institute.
  • Awards are open to all qualified persons irrespective of race, sex, national or ethnic origin, age, citizenship, religious affiliation, or disability.

Application Requirements:

A completed application consists of:

  1. A completed application form.
  2. A 1-page proposal that outlines what you intend to accomplish with this scholarship (upload in application form).
  3. A 2-page essay that describes your intellectual development, future plans, and career goals. This statement should elaborate on the source and development of your interest in the ideas listed above, including how you expect to contribute to a better understanding and application of these ideas (upload in application form).
  4. A recent paper you have already written relevant to the themes promoted by the Acton Institute. If it is not in English, please provide an English abstract or summary (upload in application form).
  5. Official transcripts from your current university and each university where you have received a degree. Notarized copies are also acceptable. Upload in application form or email to Scholarships.

Important Notes:

  • Award Communication: All award decisions are communicated via e-mail.
  • Application Submission: Applications may be mailed, faxed, or emailed. All application materials should be submitted in the same package and be written in English.
  • Limited Funding: Since this is a competition in which many worthy applicants participate, no one should presume funding. We attempt to be as generous as possible in making awards, but also must convey that funds are limited and demand is high.
  • Visa Application (if applicable): Applying for or receiving a grant does not guarantee that you will be provided with a travel visa. Nor should a scholarship notification be used as a substitute for a visa for entry into another country. You may, however, use a grant letter as a supporting reference in applying for the appropriate visa from the relevant consulate or embassy.
  • Award Selectivity: Scholarships are typically not extended to those students who are not future religious leaders or scholars, or whose work is not connected to the mission of the Acton Institute. Those students whose work is closely tied to that of the Acton Institute have a greater likelihood of receiving a fellowship.
  • Performance Assessment: Like the vast majority of universities, scholarship programs, and research institutes, the Acton Institute does not enter into discussions with unsuccessful applicants concerning the particular reasons for their denial.
  • Supplemental Funding: The Calihan fellowships are designed to be supplemental in nature. As such, when planning educational financing, we encourage applicants to secure multiple sources of funding.

Fellowship Conditions:

If an applicant is chosen to receive a fellowship, he or she must comply with the following conditions:

  • Report Due: Submit a 1-2 page report documenting the activities, research, and results of your fellowship. The report should include comments for the scholarship's donors about how the fellowship influenced you, your education, and your career.
  • Funds Use: These funds are to be used for the academic, research, or travel purposes indicated on your application. If you are not able to use these funds for the stated purpose(s), all of the grant money must be returned.
  • Acknowledgement: Any published work drawn out of the research conducted during this fellowship must be submitted and given by-line acknowledgement to the Acton Institute and the Calihan Fellowships.
  • Publicity: The Acton Institute may publicize a recipient’s fellowship and has permission to identify a recipient as a Calihan Fellow.
  • Tax Compliance: Recipients who are United States citizens must submit a W-9 tax form.

Legal Information:

All qualified individuals will be considered for the Calihan Academic Fellowship program without regard to race, sex, national or ethnic origin, citizenship, religious affiliation, or disability. Award decisions by the Acton Institute are final and are not subject to appeal.

Online Application Form