ARCE’s fellowship program has benefited more than 700 scholars over six decades whose research interests span Egypt’s periods and cultures.

ARCE Fellows at Edfu, 1991

ARCE offers funded fellowships and a research associate program for a wide range of scholars looking to conduct research in Egypt. Previous fellows have represented the fields of anthropology, archaeology, architecture, fine art, art history, Coptic studies, economics, Egyptology, history, humanistic social sciences, Islamic studies, literature, political science, religious studies and even music. Alumni include directors and faculty of Middle Eastern studies and history departments at leading universities, in the United States and abroad, and curators of Egyptian and Near Eastern art at major museums and research institutions. Publications produced by scholars through ARCE fellowship experiences contribute substantially to research on Egypt by Americans since 1957.

Decades of close collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities (MoA) and Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) enable ARCE to provide fellows with solid administrative support and advice that eases access to Egyptian museums, monuments, archaeological sites, research libraries, archives and Egyptian institutions of higher education. 

Listen to more ARCE fellows talk about researching and living in Egypt >>

ARCE Research Fellowship and Grant Opportunities

ARCE-CAORC Research Fellowships

This fellowship is open to U.S. citizen pre-doctoral candidates (ABD), postdoctoral scholars, faculty and senior scholars at museums, universities and institutions worldwide for a minimum stay of three months and a maximum stay of 12 months. The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs funds the fellowship through a grant to the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC).  

  • Four to six fellowships are funded annually. Per diem ranges from $2,200-$3,520 per month based on academic rank, plus round trip airfare. Guidelines are available here.

ARCE-NEH Fellowships

This fellowship is open to American postdoctoral scholars, faculty and senior scholars at universities, museums, and institutions worldwide and to foreign nationals who have been resident in the United States for three (3) consecutive years immediately preceding the application deadline. Advanced degree candidates must have completed all requirements -except for the actual conferral of the degree-by January 18, 2021. 

One four-month fellowship will be awarded. The per diem is $5,000 per month. Guidelines are available here.

Short-Term Research Grant for Postdoctoral, Adjunct Faculty and Independent Scholars 

This grant is open to U.S. citizen postdoctoral, adjunct, community college, HBCU/MSI faculty, and visiting or independent scholars whose access to institutional funding for research travel may be limited. For these scholars, ARCE will offer a short-term travel grant designed to support research travel to Egypt. Minimum stay is three weeks; maximum stay is six weeks. During this period the grantee will conduct research pertaining to a new or ongoing research project. Eligibility, field of study, application and selection processes mirror those of the ARCE fellowships already on offer. The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs funds the fellowship through a grant to the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC).

  • One $2,640 grant plus round trip airfare is awarded in years when qualified candidates apply. Guidelines are available here.

Pre-dissertation Travel Grant​​​​​​​

This fellowship is open to U.S. citizen pre-doctoral candidates who have completed all coursework prior to arriving in Egypt. S/he may have passed his or her comprehensive exams and/or been granted approval for the dissertation proposal. It is not necessary to have advanced to ABD status. The grantee will conduct exploratory research to identify sources, build professional networks and visit heritage sites, research libraries and archives in Egypt. The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs funds the fellowship through a grant to the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC).  Minimum one month, maximum two months stay.  

  • One $2,400 grant plus round trip airfare is awarded in years when qualified candidates applyGuidelines are available here.

Research Associates

This unfunded research status enables independent scholars with funding from private sources to affiliate with ARCE. Research associates receive the same administrative support in terms of clearances, permissions and mentoring as ARCE Fellows, but do not receive ARCE funding. U.S. citizens and foreign nationals at U.S. universities are eligible to apply. 

  • Guidelines are available here.

Theodore N. Romanoff Prize

The Theodore N. Romanoff Prize is open to doctoral candidates (ABD) and recent Ph.D. recipients (degree granted between 2016-2020) conducting research on the language or historical texts of ancient Egypt, including the Coptic language. American scholars worldwide and non-American scholars studying or teaching at an American university in the United States are eligible to apply. Research must be conducted in Egypt. Applicants may apply for this funding as a stand-alone fellowship or combine it with other funding sources. One $4000 fellowship will be funded annually. 

The Prize was created in tribute to Theodore Romanoff who received his M.A. from The Artemis A.W. and Martha Sharp Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World at Brown University. His thesis concerned hieroglyphic writing; he additionally studied Demotic and Coptic with dedication and passion. 

  • One $4,000 fellowship will be funded annually. Guidelines are available here.

William P. McHugh Memorial Fund

The William P. McHugh Memorial Fund encourages the study of Egyptian geo-archaeology and prehistory by providing a special award to a pre-doctoral student. Currently, the award is only offered in conjunction with an ARCE-CAORC Research Fellowship and therefore, is open to U.S. citizens at universities worldwide.

  • One $600 award annually. Guidelines are available here.

To apply click here. 

November 1, 2020 Applications will be available online and call for submissions will open
January 18, 2021 Deadline for all fellowship applications, including all references
February 2021 Fellowship Committee meets
March 2021 Candidates notified of acceptance
September 2021 Notification of clearances received, fellows authorized

Frequently Asked Questions

Applying for a Fellowship

How long will it take to complete the ARCE application? Previous fellows have indicated that they set aside 6-8 hours over the span of a week or two to complete the application, not including time for editing and revisions. Reference letters are also due on January 20, so make sure to request them early.

How do I fill out the Ministry of Higher Education Application and Security Forms? Click on these Tips for Filling out the MOHE forms for assistance in this task.

What is the selection committee looking for in my application?  ARCE does not require a specific structure for proposals, but key components should include your: 1) guiding research questions, 2) research methodology, 3) a clear thesis statement, and 4) a literature review. The committee is looking for academic achievement and promise. Strong reference letters that speak directly to your research and your capacity to carry it out successfully will also support your candidacy.   

What if my referrals don’t submit their recommendations on time? Planning ahead is the best strategy to ensure that your referrals have enough time to write a letter of recommendation. If an emergency arises for one of your referrals and s/he can’t make the deadline, contact: fellows@arce.org immediately (and ideally before January 20).

Who can I contact if I have questions about my topic or technical problems filling out the application? If you have any questions about the application process, your topic, or technical issues, please contact: fellows@arce.org.

The ARCE Fellowship Experience

Do all fellows conduct their research in Cairo? Most fellows conduct their research in Cairo because the largest number of museums and archives are found there. But fellows frequently visit archives, collections and heritage sites located in cities like Alexandria, Luxor, and Aswan. Less frequently fellows may need to consult archives or collections in other urban centers such as Port Said, Suez, and Minya.

How long will it take to find an apartment in Cairo? Most fellows find an apartment before the end of their first week in Cairo; others at the end of their first day. Cairo Scholars is a favored site for finding roommates. Some fellows also rent long-term using Airbnb or by contacting local rental agents. It should be noted that ARCE has no official ties to any of these platforms or agencies, and that fellows are expected to select and arrange their accommodation independently.

How affordable is living in Cairo/Egypt? The majority of ARCE’s fellows find living in Cairo to be very affordable. While costs have increased since the 2015 devaluation, the fellows’ stipend is more than adequate to live comfortably in Egypt. Vegetables and fruit are inexpensive and Egypt produces a wide range of dairy products, snack foods, and beverages. Imported products are also widely available. There is also a variety of restaurants to choose from, featuring everything from local Egyptian fare to sushi to Indian to standard fast food chains. In other words, there’s something for every budget, occasion, and appetite!

What do fellows do when they aren’t chasing down their research?  Cairo has a thriving music, art and café scene that many fellows seek out after their work hours. Local neighborhood gyms and wellness centers are also very common. The Red Sea and Alexandria are just a few hours from Cairo and offer a chance to leave the city behind and enjoy a change of scenery for a weekend or more. And then of course there are Egypt’s incredible monuments and heritage sites to visit!

I have a pretty structured exercise routine. How will I keep this up? There are local neighborhood gyms and international gym chains located across Cairo. Swimmers can also purchase pool memberships at major international hotels. Other groups that fellows commonly join include the Maadi Runners, Cairo Runners and Cairo Cyclists Club.

My research requires I visit collections and archives outside of Cairo, is that possible?  Absolutely. Fellows may travel to other urban centers by train, private driver or air for several days or weeks at a time.  ARCE assists fellows in organizing these visits.

Several of the archaeological sites I want to visit for my research are slightly off the beaten track. How do I arrange getting there?  ARCE staff will help you to organize this. If we don’t have contacts in the area you are visiting, we will consult one of our Research Supporting Member (RSM) expeditions to help identify local contacts. Additionally, we will refer you to the local Ministry of Antiquities inspectorate.

What kind of support does ARCE offer?  In addition to financial support, ARCE staff is always available to advise and guide you in your research and in navigating the ins and outs of life in Egypt.  ARCE provides personal introductions, letters of introduction, recommendations about how to pace or plan your research, where to get mobile and Internet services, apartment hunting tips, information on doctors and hospitals, and pretty much any other information you might need while living and researching in Egypt. In addition, the fellows’ cohort meets on a monthly basis to discuss research challenges and successes. Fellows are also invited to give and attend lectures and special events at the center. 

What do fellows do after their fellowships end? Fellows usually return to their universities to complete their dissertations, resume classroom teaching or continue their sabbatical. A large number of dissertation and postdoctoral fellows leave Egypt for follow-on fellowships. Recent fellows have been awarded fellowships with the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Institute for Middle East Studies, the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton), and the Historians of Islamic Art Association.


For Researchers