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The Scholars at Risk (SAR) Program at Tufts is dedicated to helping scholars, artists, writers, and public intellectuals from around the world escape persecution and continue their work by providing ten-month-long academic fellowships at Tufts University. Tufts has been a member of the international Scholars at Risk (SAR) network, which is chaired by Tufts Trustee Lisa Anderson, since 2011. Tufts has hosted several scholars in the past in both Medford and Boston. These scholars have made positive contributions to our academic life and offered important perspectives to our students and faculty.

About the Fellowship

The Scholars at Risk fellowship is intended to provide a safe environment for a scholar to pursue research and scholarly or artistic interests; it is not envisaged as an opportunity to mobilize political support on the issues giving rise to the scholar's predicament (though such activity is not excluded).

At present, Tufts’s Scholars at Risk fellowship offers two options. The residential fellowship lasts for a maximum of ten months, and provides stipend, insurance coverage, and travel (depending on the location of the scholar and the number of dependents). At the end of the fellowship period, fellows will have to return to the home country or seek placement elsewhere. From the time of arrival, Tufts SAR engages with fellows to explore possibilities for next steps and to work towards securing accommodation for the post-fellowship year.

Non-residential fellowhips will be based on shorter term projects or outputs, including but limited to providing lectures, conference presentations, university-wide addresses, or co-collaborations with researchers at Tufts.

U.S. Citizens and permanent residents of the U.S. are ineligible. For more information, see the Frequently Asked Questions section below.

Any scholar who faces a risk of persecution on account of belief, scholarship, or identity is eligible. SAR fellows need not be refugee scholars. Only scholars that meet appropriate academic standards in their own fields are considered. Writers, artists, thinkers, and independent intellectuals who pursue scholarly work may count as "scholars," even if they are not employed at an academic institution. "Risk" includes the threat of repression and/or punishment arising out of the scholar's work, their prominence, and/or their exercise of fundamental human rights. General insecurity and instability affecting the whole population of a country indiscriminately will not normally qualify. The decision about what counts as sufficient risk, and who meets the criteria for being considered a "scholar" in practice, will be made by the Scholars at Risk Committee, whose members will determine each year's selection/s from among the nominations received. The committee reserves the right to check credentials and accounts of the risks faced.


Who can nominate? If you are a Tufts staff member, faculty member, or student, and you know or have heard of someone who might benefit from this program, please consider submitting a nomination. Nominations are also accepted from concerned persons outside of Tufts 

Required Nomination/Application Materials: Please see the nomination/application form for information about the required materials and documents. 

For additional information, please consult the Frequently Asked Questions section below or contact the Tufts Scholars at Risk team

For questions regarding visas, please consult the Tufts International Center. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Applications are confidential; information is viewed only by the Office of the Provost, the Scholars at Risk Committee, and the department or faculty member with whom the scholar may be placed.

Applications are accepted by nominators and applicants (self-nominators) alike. The same application form is used for an application or a nomination. Anyone can nominate a scholar. Anyone can apply on their own behalf.

The primary deadline is January 15, for residential fellowships at Tufts that will begin in September. If funding is available, emergency applications will be considered outside of the January deadline. Non-residential applications will be considered on a rolling basis, and are more output oriented, such as finishing an article or book, guest lectures, or co-collaborating with Tufts researchers. 

The program defines "scholar" broadly to include candidates from any academic discipline represented at Tufts, including the arts. Post-docs are also welcome to apply. Professional persons, activists and human rights defenders must have scholarly records or the equivalent.

Applications from journalists are less likely to advance as there is no school of journalism at Tufts. 

Tufts SAR is not able to provide admission into degree programs and/or to accommodate persons wishing to continue their studies or training at Tufts.


Yes, a scholar from any country may apply.

U.S. citizens and permanent residents of the U.S. are not eligible. If a candidate has legal residency in a safe country outside of the home country, assessment of risk will be made with this in mind. All applicants are required to disclose all countries of citizenship and/or permanent residency on nomination/application form.

Tufts SAR prioritizes candidates who have been out of their home country for less than two years.

Scholars will typically enter the US on a J-1 exchange visa, and must satisfy visa requirements for English language. Specifically, the scholar must demonstrate sufficient proficiency in the English language to participate successfully in his or her program and to function on a day-to-day basis. The scholar may demonstrate their English language proficiency with one of the following: 

  • A recognized English language test
  • Signed documentation from an academic insitution or English language school
  • A documented intervew conducted with the sponsor (in-person or videoconference, or by telephone if videoconference is not available)

Tufts SAR supports travel and insurance for the scholar, their spouse and unmarried children under 20 of the scholar.

Yes, SAR Program fellows will typically come to Tufts on J-1 research-scholar visas. Candidates with pending asylum applications must have work authorization prior to starting a fellowship. For more information, visit the Tufts International Center.

Fellowships include stipend, insurance, travel (for the scholar, their spouse and unmarried children under 20 of the scholar), and visa support. Stipend amounts may vary depending on terms of host department, availability of housing, and in-kind forms of support included in the fellowship package. 

Residential fellowships run the course of the academic year: September 1 - June 30. 

No, depending on discipline, fellows are hosted by academic departments, centers, or institutes within Tufts. The SAR Program selects and supports fellows and faciliates appointments in host departments.

Selections are made by the Provost, in consultation with school deans and on the recommendation of a Scholars at Risk committee comprised of Tufts faculty and staff. 

 Because of the volume of applications for the residential fellowship, applicants for the January 15 deadline will be notified by early April.

Yes, all applicants will be notified by email, unless another means of communication has been requested via nomination/application form. 

The complexities involved in creating a fellowship package can delay the preparation of a formal offer. Offers will be issued as soon as possible, and we appreciate your patience.