Postdoctoral Fellowships

About this fellowship

The Buffett Institute invites applications for two-year postdoctoral fellowships in the study of global, comparative, or international affairs. Up to three fellows will be selected. Applications are welcome from scholars from any range of social science or interdisciplinary perspectives whose research addresses global, international, or transnational social processes, problems, governance, or conflicts.

Each fellow will be affiliated with the Buffett Institute and an appropriate department in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences (political science, history, sociology, anthropology, etc.), the School of Communication (performance studies, radio/television/film, communication studies, and theater), or the School of Education and Social Policy.

Applicants should not contact the department or any faculty at this time.

Fellowship details

Fellows will pursue a program of independent scholarship and teach one quarter-long undergraduate class each academic year. They will work with their affiliate departments to determine course subject matter and scheduling over the two years of the fellowship.

Fellows will deliver one public lecture at Buffett, and they will help organize and run select Buffett Institute programming. In general, they are expected to be active participants in the intellectual activities of both the Buffett Institute and their affiliated disciplinary departments.

Fellows will also work with an assigned faculty mentor. Intended to serve as professional advisers, faculty mentors will help fellows integrate into the Buffett intellectual community.

The salary is $55,000. In addition, fellows are eligible for $5,000 per year to fund research and conference travel and up to $2,000 in reimbursement for allowable relocation expenses in the first year.

This is a full-time, benefits-eligible position.


Applicants must have received their PhD between December 14, 2015, and August 31, 2018. We do not grant exceptions.

Application details

The application is now closed. Decisions will be announced in March.

Required materials:

  • Cover Letter:  Briefly situate your work in relation to your discipline(s), and explain why the Buffett Institute is a particularly good place to pursue your research. Be sure to identify your proposed departmental affiliation.
  • Faculty affiliate mentor preferences: Identify one to three Buffett Institute faculty affiliates who could serve as your mentor during the Buffett Postdoctoral Fellowship.
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Research Statement: A two-page summary of your dissertation.
  • Research Proposal: A two-page research plan for the fellowship period. This may include, but should extend beyond, revisions to the dissertation.
  • Teaching Materials: One-page teaching statement and the titles, short descriptions, and full syllabi for two undergraduate courses that you could teach under the auspices of your proposed departmental affiliation.
  • Writing Sample: Equivalent to a single journal article, book chapter, or dissertation chapter; it may be published or unpublished. Only one sample may be submitted. It must be in English. The maximum length is 50 pages.
  • Graduate Transcript. A transcript from your doctoral degree-granting institution. An unofficial transcript is acceptable. If your doctoral program did not include formal graded classes, submit a statement to that effect instead.
  • Three Letters of Recommendation: The online application system will ask you to provide contact information for three recommenders. Once you submit your application, your references will automatically be emailed instructions for uploading a letter of recommendation. It is helpful if at least one letter comments specifically on your teaching experience and abilities. If you have not yet defended and submitted your dissertation, please advise your chair that their letter must specifically discuss what work remains to be completed and when you will complete all the requirements to receive your degree. Please convey these specific instructions to your references, as the instructions they will receive by email are generic. 


When will decisions be announced?


I am having difficulties with the application system. Who should I contact for help?

Please contact Interfolio support at or 877-997-8807.

If you are unable to solve the issue with Interfolio, email

Because my work is interdisciplinary, I could affiliate with multiple departments at Northwestern. Is it possible to state more than one department?

Please focus your answers on no more than two departments/programs.

I plan to do field research away from the Chicago area. Will that be a problem?

Postdocs are generally expected to be in residence and full participants in the scholarly community during the nine-month academic year (late September through mid-June), with the exception of the winter break and spring break. Short trips to conduct research, attend conferences, give talks, etc., are normal and are typically scheduled so as not to conflict with teaching or other important responsibilities.

If I am offered a postdoc, may I defer for a year or postpone the start date?

No postponements or deferrals are permitted.

I am a foreign student. Will Northwestern provide a visa?

International scholars are eligible to apply for the postdoctoral fellowship. If necessary, a J-1 exchange visitor visa or an H-1B employment visa may be offered for the successful candidate, but the postdoctoral fellowship does not cover expenses for an eligible spouse or family members’ visas. In addition, approvals of visas may take quite a long time. In the event that a visa is not ready by the time the postdoc begins, the contractual start date will have to be delayed, resulting in a shortened postdoc term. For more information, see the Northwestern University International Office J-1 Visa page or the H-1B Visa page.


If you, or your recommenders, are having difficulties with the application system, contact Interfolio support at or 877-997-8807.

Email with questions about the fellowship.

Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.

Applicant and Employee Notice of Rights