The Madeline E. Ehrman Fellowship in Second Language Acquisition (SLA) supports scholars whose work addresses efficient and effective second language training for adults.  The U.S. Department of State seeks accomplished scholars who can serve as innovators in fostering the creative, human-centered process of teaching and learning foreign languages.


Tenured, or similarly ranked, academic scholars with a focus on Second Language Acquisition (SLA) from institutions of higher learning, who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, are eligible to apply for the Madeline E. Ehrman Fellowship in Second Language Acquisition.

The Fellowship is a full-time position.  However, during the fellowship, the Fellow is expected to remain employed with his or her institution of higher learning, with all of the rights and privileges associated with that position, including salary and insurance benefits.  Fellows from outside of the Washington, D.C. area may be entitled to travel, relocation, and per diem payments from the Department of State to offset the cost of moving to the area, if authorized and available pursuant to the Intergovernmental Personnel Action, 5 U.S.C sections 3371 through 3375, and the related federal regulations.  Fellows may be required to attain a public trust, or higher, security clearance prior to beginning their assignment at the Foreign Service Institute.


Each Fellow will spend up to one year in the U.S. Department of State’s School of Language Studies, Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, Virginia.  Each Fellow’s assignment will be designed, taking into consideration both the interests and expertise of the Fellow and the needs of the School of Language Studies. Following the fellowship, the SLA Fellow will return to his/her academic career.


Application Instructions

Applicants are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the work of the School of Language Studies at the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute to ensure a strong fit for the fellowship.

A complete application package will include the following components, emailed to :

  1. Curriculum Vitae (limit 5 pages)
  2. Statement of Interest (1-2 pages)
  3. Essay (limit 2 pages)
  4. Letters of Recommendation (2-3)
Curriculum Vitae
  • Name and current institutional affiliation
  • Education (degrees, institutions, dates)
  • Academic employment history (dates, academic rank, tenure)
  • Honors and awards (up to 10)
  • Peer-reviewed publications (list the most recent and most significant; no limit in number)
Statement of Interest

The applicant should provide a concise (no more than 2 single-spaced pages, 12-point font, 1” margins) statement of interest in the Ehrman Fellowship in Second Language Acquisition. In this statement, the applicant should explain what benefits he or she hopes to contribute to the Fellowship program, as well as how the Fellowship will benefit the applicant, the applicant’s professional career, and his or her university


The applicant should address the following question:  How would you propose to contribute your expertise in Second Language Acquisition to the FSI School of Language Studies during the Ehrman Fellowship? (Limit to 2 single-spaced pages, 12-point font, 1” margins.)

Letters of Recommendation

The applicant should provide 2-3 letters of recommendation from peers and/or supervisors.  Letters of recommendation should address the qualifications of the applicant relative to the selection criteria listed above and are limited to 2 pages.

Selection Process Timeline:

November 1, 2019 – Application opens

February 28,  2020 – Application deadline (5 PM EST)

Early March 2020 – Review of applications

Mid-Late March 2020 – Finalists notified, and interviews and travel scheduled

Late August – Early September 2020 – Fellow begins at the Foreign Service Institute

U.S. Department of State

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