Visiting Scholars

The application window for the Fairbank Center’s 2023 – 2024 Visiting Scholars cohort has passed. Applications for the Fairbank Center’s 2024 – 2025 Visiting Scholars will become available in Fall 2023 and will be due in February 2024.

The Fairbank Center hosts visiting scholars from other universities or research institutes throughout the world. Scholars come to the Center for one year to develop their own research in various disciplines of Chinese Studies, broadly defined. Visiting scholars 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. The visiting period shall correspond with Harvard’s academic calendar, either for autumn semester, spring semester, or one year from August 1 – July 31. An administrative fee of $1,000 will be charged to visiting scholars. Individual desk space is not provided.

Visiting Scholar-Practitioner 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 August 1 – July 31. An administrative fee of $5,000 per semester will be charged, and desk space may be provided as available.

Invited visiting scholars will need to demonstrate adequate self-funding for U.S. visa purposes. Visiting scholar appointments are unpaid.

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 call or Zoom/Skype 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

The next application deadline is February 15, 2023, for affiliation during the 2023-24 academic year. Please make sure that all your application materials are submitted by the application deadline. A faculty committee will review applications and select the strongest applicants 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 Scholar 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 Harvard faculty or 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.

Letters of recommendations 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 instructions for how to upload their letter.

The online application for the 2023-24 Fairbank Center Visiting Scholars Program is now available.

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.

Questions? Please email