in the broadest sense is someone who is
an equal or a comrade. The term fellow is also used to describe a
person, particularly by those in the upper social classes. It is
most often used in an academic context: a fellow is often part of
an elite group of learned people who work together as peers
(regardless of gender) in the pursuit of knowledge or
The title of research fellow is used to denote an academic research
position at a university or similar institution.
The title of Teaching fellow is used to denote an academic teaching
position at a university or similar institution.
Emeritus title in the UK
The title fellow might be given to an academic member of staff upon
retirement who continues to be affiliate to a university
institution in the United Kingdom.
Oxford, Cambridge and Dublin
Colleges of the Universities of
and Trinity College,
Dublin, full fellows form the governing body of the college, although they
may elect a Council to handle day-to-day management.
fellows are entitled to certain privileges within their college,
which may include dining at High Table
(free of charge) and possibly the right to a room in college (free
There are a number of types of fellow:
- Research fellows are
researchers, whose salaries or stipends are
paid by a college from the income of its endowment. Some of the less affluent
colleges do not pay their research fellows a salary, instead award
fellowships to researchers already employed by the university.
- At Oxford, college tutors are fellows, who are paid to
provide small-group teaching to a college's undergraduates. The
position is typically a joint appointment (there are a variety of
types) with the university.
- At Cambridge, teaching officers (lecturers, reader, and professors) are entitled to a college fellowship.
For lecturers and readers, the process is competitive – generally
the most able academics get fellowships at the richest and most
prestigious colleges. Professors are allocated to colleges by a
centralised process to ensure fairness. These fellows may or may
not provide small-group teaching to undergraduates in the college,
for which they would be paid by the hour. College fellows at
Cambridge (except for research fellows) have no duties as such and
are not paid. They will typically have a salaried post either with
their college or the university.
- At Cambridge, a praelector
is a fellow of a college, who formally presents students during the
matriculation and graduation
Most Cambridge colleges grant fellowships for life after a
qualifying period. Retired academics may therefore remain as
fellows. In Oxford on retirement a Governing Body fellow would
normally be elected a 'fellow emeritus' and would leave the
Governing Body. Distinguished old members of the college, or its
benefactors and friends might also be elected 'Honorary Fellow',
normally for life; but beyond limited dining rights this is merely
an honour. Most Oxford colleges have 'Fellows by Special Election'
or 'Supernumerary Fellows' who may be members of the teaching
staff, but not necessarily members of the Governing Body.
US medical training
In US medical institutions, a fellow refers to someone who has
completed residency training (e.g. in internal medicine,
pediatrics, general surgery, etc.) and is currently in a 1 to 3
year subspecialty training program (e.g. cardiology, pediatric
nephrology, transplant surgery, etc.).
Graduate school fellowships
context of graduate school in the
States and Canada, a fellow is
a recipient of a fellowship.
Examples are the
NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
, Guggenheim Fellowship
, Rosenthal Fellowship
At Harvard and some other universities in the United States,
"fellows" are members of the Board of
who hold administrative positions as non-executive
trustee rather than academics.
Cambridge and Oxford Colleges
Some senior administrators of a college such as bursars
are made fellows, and thereby become members
of the governing body, because of their importance to the running
of a College.
Teaching fellows in the US
The term used, in the United States, the high school and middle
school setting for students or adults that assist a teacher with
one or more classes .
Learned or professional societies
Fellows are the highest grade of membership of most professional societies
(see for example,
Institute of Arbitrators
. Lower grades are referred to as
members (who typically share voting rights with the fellows), or
associates (who may or may not, depending on whether "associate"
status is a form of full membership).
How a fellowship is acquired varies for each society, but may
typically involve some or all of these:
- A qualifying period in a lower grade
- Passing a series of examinations
- Nomination by two existing fellows who know the applicant
- Evidence of continued formal training post-qualification
- Evidence of substantial achievement in the subject area
- Submission of a thesis or portfolio of works which will be
Exclusive learned societies
the Royal Society
have Fellow as the
only grade of membership, others like the Faculty of Young
Musicians (now defunct) have members holding the post of Associate
and posts Honoris Causa
Appointment as an honorary fellow in a learned or professional
society can be either to honour exceptional achievement and/or
service within the professional domain of the awarding body or to
honour contributions related to the domain from someone who is
professionally outside of it. Membership of the awarding body may
or may not be a requirement.
Large corporations in research
-intensive industries (IBM
in information technology
, and Boston Scientific
in Medical Devices for
example) appoint a small number of senior scientists and engineers
as fellows. Fellow is the most senior rank or title one can achieve
on a technical career
, though some fellows
also hold business titles such as vice
. Examples are:
Notes and references
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