Bodleian Visiting Fellowships

Bodleian Visiting Fellowships in Special Collections are awarded to promote research based on archival, manuscript, and printed books collections of the Bodleian Libraries. Approximately 25 awards are made each year to researchers external to the University of Oxford whose projects require use of these collections. Scholarship pursued within the fellowship research projects generates publications and may also be formally and informally disseminated through talks and presentations.

Fellowships may be awarded for a visit of one University of Oxford term, or for a shorter stay of at least one month.

Find out more about past awards.

For more information about the Bodleian Libraries' special collections, visit the online guides and finding aids for the collections.

Eligibility and selection criteria

Applications are welcome from both affiliated and independent scholars pursuing academic research at any postdoctoral level. 

Applicants who are current doctoral students should note that:

  • you must have submitted your thesis before the deadline for Visiting Fellowships applications
  • you must have been awarded the doctorate before taking up the fellowship

Applications are welcome from those pursuing research while employed in a library, museum, archive, or other collection-holding institution.

On occasion, fellowship opportunities are offered for musical or artistic residencies. These are clearly signposted.

In most cases, priority will be given to candidates residing outside of Oxford and to applicants who have not recently completed an Oxford degree.

In every case, the selection committee will consider:

  • the demonstrated need to consult specific items or collections within the Bodleian Libraries' special collections;
  • the potential of the candidate to contribute to the research culture of the libraries and the University, and especially the potential for future research collaboration with the Bodleian Libraries; and
  • the benefits of the award within the invited fellow’s research career.

Certain named fellowships are offered to researchers in particular professions or scholars from particular geographic areas. Please consult the descriptions of named fellowships.

Terms of the fellowship awards

Unless otherwise stated, funds of up to £2,200 per month are available to support the eligible costs of research visits. Depending on the method of disbursement and your UK tax status, award funds may be subject to UK tax and National Insurance and the actual amount disbursed may be lower.

An invitation to take up a fellowship will be made subject to agreement on the dates of the visit. Applicants should indicate their preferred dates on the application form. See term dates for advice on University of Oxford term times, where relevant. The fellowship year runs from 1 August to 31 July and fellowship visits of whatever duration must be made within this period.

In some cases, a visa may be required to travel to the UK. You should make yourself aware of the requirements before accepting the fellowship invitation. Please consult the University’s webpages for international visiting researchers for guidance, and check the UK government website. You are responsible for securing the appropriate UK visa.

Note that non-UK or non-Irish applicants who are not in full employment with an academic institution during the proposed visit period may require a sponsored UK visa and must apply for a visit of a minimum of 3 months.

Once a research proposal has been accepted for invitation, award of the fellowship will be conditional on fulfilling this requirement.

The Bodleian Libraries do not assume responsibility for securing housing for fellows. We will, however, offer assistance by providing guidance to local listings of rooms or houses for rent. Note that the cost of accommodation in Oxford is typically high.

Applicants who have held a named fellowship award will not be considered for the same named fellowship within a period of five years.

The Bodleian Libraries will receive printed acknowledgement in any and all publications resulting in whole or in part from research carried out during the period of the fellowship.

The fellow will provide the Bodleian Libraries with a written report on the completion of their fellowship.

A Bodleian Visiting Fellowship is not employment and should not be presented as such to outside parties.

How to apply

Applications must be sent by email, before the deadline of Friday 1 December 2023, 5pm GMT, to

Applicants should review the list of named fellowships. Any special conditions of eligibility or additional application requirements for particular named fellowships are clearly stated there and must be reflected in your CV or research proposal if you are to be considered for these. Unless otherwise stated, eligibility for all fellowships is described in ‘Eligibility and selection criteria’ and the application process is the same for all fellowships.

Applications must include:

In addition, your application will not be considered without the following documents, to be sent as separate PDFs by email to

  • Your curriculum vitae, no more than 3 pages.
  • The project description, not to exceed 1,200 words, to include:
    • The significance of the research project in your field of study or activity.
    • A detailed explanation of how research in Bodleian Special Collections will advance the project.
    • An indication of intended outputs, such as publication, exhibition or another publicly accessible form.
    • A statement of plans for engagement with the research community in Oxford and beyond. If you have no specific plans for seminar or conference presentations, please include a sentence confirming that you are willing to present your research materials and methods to a local academic audience, if invited.
    • A detailed list of the specific Bodleian Libraries materials to be consulted. (This is not included in the word count).
  • Two letters of recommendation: these must be tailored to your individual application for a funded research visit to the Bodleian Libraries. Recommendations may be emailed directly from the referees to the Bodleian Libraries at In all cases the applicant’s name must be in the subject line.

Please do not combine all the documents into one PDF or Word file.

List of Visiting Fellowships

Applications for 2025–26 will open in September 2024. Named visiting fellowships are described below.

African Studies Fellowship

Open to a scholar currently affiliated with a university in Sub-Saharan Africa to study the history of this region, making use of the Bodleian’s major holdings of African and Commonwealth archives, including papers from many who served in the Colonial Service. The archives also include papers of workers in agriculture, education and medicine, as well as engineers and missionaries. Organisational archives include those of the Anti-Slavery Society, the Africa Bureau, the Fabian Colonial Bureau and the Anti-Apartheid Movement. 

Ann Ball Bodley Fellowship in Women’s History

This fellowship encourages researchers to come to Oxford and use Bodleian Libraries collections to advance their scholarship in women’s history, of any geographical area and historical period. Fellows will normally be invited during one University of Oxford term. This fellowship is offered in association with Hertford College.

Albi Rosenthal Fellowship in Music

This fellowship provides support for research in the music special collections of the Bodleian Libraries. The Bodleian Libraries’ music collections are among the largest in the country and contain printed music from the 16th century onwards and large numbers of music manuscripts from medieval times to the present day. The fellowship is offered in memory of Albi Rosenthal, one of the greatest dealers in music manuscripts, archives and rare books of the 20th century.

Bahari Visiting Fellowship in the Persian Arts of the Book

This fellowship supports research using the Bodleian's Persian and Islamic Collections. Basic records for a large part of the Bodleian's Islamic manuscript collections may be found on the Fihrist website. Applicants for Bahari Fellowships must include with the application form and other materials an article-length example of their written work. 

Byrne-Bussey Marconi Fellowship in the History of Science, Technology and Communication

For research into any aspect of the history of science, technology and business innovation using the archive, manuscript, object and rare book collections of the Bodleian Libraries and the History of Science of Museum. Applications are especially encouraged from researchers investigating the history and science of wireless communication and the wireless industry. The fellowship is offered in memory of Douglas Byrne and of Gordon Bussey, FRHS, who worked to secure the preservation of the Marconi Archives, now in the special collections of the Bodleian Libraries.

Carr-Thomas-Ovenden Fellowship in English Literature

This fellowship supports a research visit by a scholar of English literature. Preference will be given to projects relating to the Romantic period, where the Bodleian’s collection of manuscripts, printed books and secondary literature is remarkable in its strength and depth.

David Walker Memorial Fellowship in Early Modern History

This fellowship supports a period of research into any aspect of Early Modern history, of broad geographical scope, using the archive, manuscript and rare book collections of the Bodleian Libraries. The fellowship is offered in memory of David Walker, whose postgraduate study was undertaken at Lincoln College, Oxford.

Humfrey Wanley Fellowship

Supporting a period of research in the rare books and manuscripts collections of the Bodleian Library. The fellowship is named after Humfrey Wanley (1672–1726), assistant librarian at the Bodleian from 1695 to 1700, founding member of the Society of Antiquaries, a pioneer in the study of palaeography and library-keeper to Robert Harley and Edward Harley, Earls of Oxford, two of the greatest book and manuscript collectors of their day.

Peter Selley Fellowship for Members of the Book Trades

The Peter Selley Fellowship provides support for a member of the rare book trades to carry out research in the special collections of the Bodleian Libraries. Applicants must be pursuing a career in book or manuscript auctions or the antiquarian book trade. The fellowship honours the memory of Peter Selley, a rare book specialist and auctioneer who worked at Sotheby’s in London for 28 years.

Eligibility note: Open to members of the book trades. If you are eligible for this award, please indicate this clearly in your CV. 

Queen Jadwiga Fellowship in Polish Studies

The Queen Jadwiga Fellowship in Polish Studies supports a research visit of one University of Oxford term, for research in Polish studies. Applicants are invited to submit research topics pertaining to any aspect of Polish culture and history which can be supported with reference to the collections of the Bodleian Libraries, including the Taylorian Library. The Libraries would particularly welcome applications which draw upon resources not readily available elsewhere.

Relevant collections connected with the history and culture of Poland include, for example, but not exclusively, medieval manuscripts, early modern documents, maps and letters, modern archives and the ‘Libri Polonici’ special collection of printed books, mostly of the 16th century. Polish studies at the University of Oxford are represented in the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages and in the Faculty of Modern History.

Richard Sharpe Memorial Fellowship

Funds of up to £2,500 are available to support a research visit to explore any aspect of the manuscripts of the Canonici Collection at the Bodleian Library. In line with Richard Sharpe's pioneering work on the Medieval Libraries of Great Britain, we especially welcome applications from those working on the medieval libraries of Italy. 

Sassoon Fellowship

Supporting scholarship in any field appropriate to the Bodleian Libraries' special collections.

Sassoon Fellowship in South Asian and Black History

This fellowship encourages researchers to come to Oxford and use resources collected by the Bodleian Libraries from any place or period to research the histories of the South Asian, African and Caribbean diasporas. The fellowship is offered in association with Somerville College.

Sloan Fellowship in Photography

This fellowship encourages researchers to come to Oxford and use Bodleian Libraries collections to advance their research in the history of photography and photographic books. The fellowship is offered in association with Trinity College, Oxford.