Visiting Scholars

The Fairbank Center hosts visiting scholars from universities throughout the world and visiting fellows of practice with relevant professional expertise. Scholars and fellows come to the Center for one year to develop their own research in various disciplines of Chinese Studies, broadly defined. Visiting scholars and fellows have access to Harvard libraries and other resources and participate in Fairbank Center activities and events.

Specific Expectations

Academic Visiting Scholar applicants must have a doctoral degree and be in a ladder faculty position at their home institution. The visiting period shall correspond with Harvard’s academic calendar, either for autumn semester, spring semester, or for one full year from August 1 – July 31. An administrative fee of $1,000 will be charged to visiting scholars.

Visiting Fellow of Practice applicants must be professionals with specialized and extensive China knowledge. The visiting period shall correspond with Harvard’s academic calendar, either for autumn semester, spring semester, or for one year from August 1 – July 31. Visiting Fellows of Practice will be subject to a higher administrative fee of $10,000 per semester, totaling $20,000 for a full year.

Visiting scholar/fellow appointments are unpaid. Invited visiting scholars/fellows will need to demonstrate adequate self-funding for U.S. visa purposes and provide a signed statement of interest in the unpaid appointment with no expectation of funding from Harvard.

The United States government requires that visiting scholars have sufficient English proficiency to be able to function effectively in the U.S. The Fairbank Center is required to certify that a scholar has adequate command of English before their visa application can be processed. This will be determined via a phone or Zoom interview. Note that this is a U.S. government requirement over which neither the Fairbank Center nor Harvard University has any discretion.

The intellectual life of the Center is greatly enriched by the active participation of its affiliates. Visiting scholars are expected to undertake a clearly defined research project that draws upon Fairbank Center and Harvard University resources. They are also expected to be in residence in the greater Boston area during the period of affiliation and to engage actively in Center activities.

How to Apply

We are no longer accepting applications for visiting affiliation during the 2024-25 academic year. The deadline to apply was February 15.

A faculty committee will review all applications in this cycle and select the strongest applications for a visiting position at the Fairbank Center. Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to accept all qualified applicants to this program.

Applicants to the Visiting Scholars & Fellows program are required to submit the following materials:

  • Online Application form (see directions below)
  • Research proposal (in English) for the period of your affiliation. Indicate if there are specific Fairbank Center faculty members or Harvard resources you intend to work with.
  • Curriculum Vitae (in English) listing your academic degrees (with dates), disciplines, and any publications.
  • Work sample (an article or paper) in either English or Chinese.
  • Name and email address of two references willing to provide a letter of recommendation.

Proposal, CV, and work sample must be separate pdf files uploaded to your online application.

Two letters of recommendation are required. Letters are to be sent directly to the online application by each of your references. When you submit your application, your references will receive an email invitation with directions to upload their letter of recommendation.

IMPORTANT: To access the online application in Harvard’s system (CARAT), please follow these steps:

  1. Create a “HarvardKey” login (if you are a “Non Harvard applicant” – i.e. a new user with no HarvardKey or Harvard email address)
    • Enter your name and email address
    • You will receive an email from inviting you to register
    • Follow the link in the email to set up your account and choose a password
    • You will receive another email confirming you have successfully created your HarvardKey account.
  2. Log in to CARAT using your HarvardKey
    • Go to
    • Log in with your HarvardKey email and password
    • As a new “X ID” user, you will be asked to provide some basic personal information. Complete the Personal Information form for CARAT.
    • Once logged in to CARAT, search for the “Fairbank Center Visiting Scholars Program” opportunity
      • Or use the direct link to the application (copy the url below)

Direct link to the Visiting Scholar application:

Start working on your application in CARAT. You can save your work and log in again later to make changes and complete your application.

Submit your application by February 15 at 11:59pm Eastern Time. Early submission is recommended to give your references time to submit their letter of recommendation. They will receive an invitation email from CARAT with a link to upload their letter.

Questions? Please email