African Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

As one of the world’s leading academic institutions, Harvard University is committed to attracting and retaining top-quality Postdoctoral Fellows who will contribute to the University's mission of excellence in teaching and research, and who are interested in advancing new ideas and promoting enduring knowledge. Harvard offers access to intellectual and cultural resources that are as unique as they are unrivaled.

The Harvard University Center for African Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship Program enables promising young African scholars to spend time at Harvard’s Center for African Studies, in Cambridge and Johannesburg, to pursue scholarship and teaching. The program aims to provide an attractive fellowship opportunity for African job candidates who would otherwise accept jobs in the United States or Europe. It offers fellows mentoring by senior scholars at Harvard University, professional development and teaching experiences in Cambridge and South Africa. Selected fellows are integrated into a wider network of scholars in Africa, and internationally, through the collaborative research and public engagement component of the Africa Office. 

Postdoctoral fellows are expected to practically apply knowledge and resources gained through the program through scholarship on the Continent.

PLEASE NOTE: OUR POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW PROGRAM IS CURRENTLY ON HOLD. Please continue to check the website for updates in the near future.


Fellows of the Harvard University Center for African Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship Program are selected based on the demonstration of considerable academic talent in their fields and potential to significantly contribute to the Africa knowledge base as well as Harvard’s academic community. The program is intended for Africans who intend to return to work in African academia. While in residence, Fellows have an opportunity to work on their pedagogical skills and are provided with opportunities for professional development. Upon submission of their application, fellows must have completed a doctoral program related to Africa. 

Terms of Fellowship

Our postdoctoral program invites two African scholars whose Africa-related research corresponds to Harvard’s graduate and professional school programs to work in residence at Harvard University in Cambridge and in Johannesburg for a period of two years. During this period, postdocs teach an Africa-related course within the Department of African and African American Studies or another department at Harvard. They are empowered to pursue their own research, utilizing the breadth of faculty resources and support at Harvard. Our postdocs also participate in the activities of the Center for African Studies, including conferences and workshops, are expected to present their work publicly, and to contribute to the intellectual life of the campus. In addition, Fellows spend time in the Center’s Africa Office, where fellows participate in the development of online courses and other resources in African Studies and engage with African scholarly and intellectual communities through the Center for African Studies’ partnership with Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) in South Africa.

In addition to contributing to Harvard University’s academic community, fellows: 

  • Commit to a two-year fellowship experience, split equally between Cambridge and Johannesburg 
  • Meet regularly with faculty mentors to support academic growth at Harvard University and in Africa
  • Teach one course per semester, with guidance from faculty mentors 
  • Present their research work in public forums
  • Take part in selected programs at the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning to develop pedagogical skills

The Center for African Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship Program provides a monthly stipend to cover housing; cost of living including food and health insurance; taxes; books and supplies and other expenses.