Visiting Lecturer in the Humanities/Ferris Professor of Journalism/McGraw Professor of Writing

The Humanities Council and the Program in Journalism welcome proposals from journalists and writers who wish to teach seminars in journalism as visiting Ferris Professors of Journalism, or seminars in other kinds of nonfiction related to journalism as visiting McGraw Professors of Writing.

Full-time and part-time positions available for one semester only: fall 2019 (September 1 through January 31) or spring 2020 (February 1 through June 30).

Full-time visiting professors take a leave from daily journalism to devote themselves fully to teaching. They must be present on campus at least four days each week (on average) and participate fully in University life.

Part-time visiting professors must commute to campus at least once per week for the 12-week term, as well as the week of Reading Period.

Applications must be received via AHIRE by 11:59pm EST on Monday, October 22, 2018. The selection committee aims to complete its work by the end of January 2019.

Salary is competitive.

Seminars meet once per week for three hours, with enrollment limited to 16 students. Students are expected to devote four to six hours per week to class preparation. Every one or two weeks they submit assignments, which are critiqued by the professor during mandatory one-on-one writing conferences. Professors often invite guest speakers and arrange a class visit to a newspaper or magazine.

Applicants should submit: a résumé or CV that includes employment history, recent publications, and at least one reference we may contact; a proposal for a seminar related to journalism or nonfiction writing; and a cover letter that describes your interest in teaching and states your preferred type of appointment. Include in your cover letter one link to a favorite published article that you have written. You may also include one link to an audio or video file.

Most seminars fall under one of these broad course rubrics:

  • The Literature of Fact
  • Investigative Journalism
  • Politics and the Media
  • The Media and Social Issues
  • International News
  • Audio Journalism
  • Computer-Assisted Journalism
  • Visual Journalism (video, photography, multimedia, and/or data visualization)
  • Writing about (Culture, Film, Ideas, Law, Medicine, Science, etc.)

Seminar proposals should include:

  • A short course description for the course catalog (75 words)
  • One or two paragraphs about the focus of the course
  • Specific topics for each of the 12 weeks of the course
  • A sample reading list of no more than six titles (books, articles, websites, etc.)
  • Possible writing assignments (typically 5–8 short pieces, one of which might be developed into a longer project to be submitted during the Reading Period)

Former Ferris and McGraw Professors are eligible to propose seminars that include leading a class trip over fall or spring break, during which students do on-the-ground reporting from an off-campus site (domestic or international).

Essential Qualifications
  • Applicants should have achieved distinction in journalism or other kinds of nonfiction writing
  • Must be able to communicate their experience effectively to students, peers, and members of the community
  • Must be a practicing journalist—a reporter, editor, producer, journalistic historian, cultural critic, or documentarian
  • Must have at least five years’ experience working at a news organization or writing regularly for major news publications, including in the year immediately prior to submitting application
  • Must not have a tenure-track or administrative position at an academic institution
  • Must have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience
Additional Notes
  • We cannot confirm receipt of applications nor can we accept applications after the deadline
  • Questions may be addressed to Margo Bresnen, Journalism Program Manager, at

Ferris Prizes for Outstanding Undergraduate Projects in Journalism

Prizes of $250 that recognize excellent projects submitted by students in journalism seminars during the academic year, on any topic and in any medium of journalism, including audio and video presentations.

Journalism professors are invited to nominate the best papers or other work produced in their courses. The selection committee consists of faculty members and journalists. The prizes will be awarded during the summer to projects nominated in the previous fall and spring semesters.

Criteria for Judgment
  • Originality
  • Depth of insight
  • Skill of presentation
  • Contribution to a reader’s understanding of the topic
  • Short pieces receive equal consideration with longer ones

John McPhee ’53 Awards for Summer Projects in Independent Journalism

Awards of up to $3,000 meant to recognize promising student journalists and to help underwrite the cost of long-form, nonfiction writing projects of at least six weeks in duration.


Princeton freshmen, sophomores, and juniors who have completed at least one journalism course at Princeton may apply.

How to Apply

Prepare the following:

  • An official transcript confirming that the applicant has completed at least one journalism course at Princeton;
  • A résumé or CV;
  • Two journalism writing samples (published or class work);
  • A proposed budget outlining specifically how the applicant would expect to spend the award funds (include travel and living expenses, if appropriate);
  • The name(s) of one or more references, including at least one member of the Princeton faculty who would advise the applicant on the project from inception to completion;
  • A letter of commitment from the applicant’s faculty advisor, confirming that the advisor will meet or video conference with the applicant once pre-departure, two or three times during reporting, and once for a post-project writing conference;
  • A letter of commitment to publish from an executive at a news outlet, on company letterhead (optional); and,
  • A proposal letter of no more than 1,000 words. Subjects that would be appropriate to touch on in the letter include:
    —The general topic matter the proposed article would cover, and why the subject would be of interest to readers and of importance to society;
    —The maximum story that reasonably could result from the applicant’s efforts and, if unforeseen challenges arise, the minimum story the applicant is confident would result;
    —Human sources the applicant would seek to interview, and why;
    —Primary documents and data the applicant would seek to gather and review, and why;
    —Places the applicant would travel to during his or her reporting, and why; and,
    —Where the resulting article might be published and the size of the publication’s readership.

Submit the application through the Student Activities Funding Engine (SAFE).


Application deadline in 2019 is May 13.

A committee of faculty and journalists from the Humanities Council will review applications and select recipient(s).

Post-Project Requirement

Award recipients are required to submit a two-page report on their project along with a copy of the resulting article.

Summer 2017 Recipients

In 2017, John McPhee ’53 Awards for Summer Projects in Independent Journalism provided funding to three students to pursue long-form, nonfiction writing projects:

  • Mohammad Adnan, Class 2019, “Italy’s South Asian Diaspora”
  • Julia Case-Levine, Class of 2018, “Refugee Communities in Sweden”
  • Jack Lohmann, Class of 2019, “Politics of Refugees”

Ferris Summer Grants for Student Internships in Journalism

Grants of up to $3,000, funded by the endowment of Edwin F. Ferris, Class of 1899, to support summer internships in writing, publishing, and journalism, in both print and digital media. The goal is to help students acquire experience in news organizations, including television networks, and in companies that publish books, magazines, or journals. Since many internships are unpaid or only modestly remunerated, these grants are designed to help defray some of the expenses associated with these summer experiences.

Internships must take place in a recognized organization for at least six weeks, typically eight weeks.


All Princeton freshmen, sophomores, and juniors may apply.

How to Apply

Submit the application through the Student Activities Funding Engine (SAFE).

In the documents section of the application, upload the offer letter from the organization providing the internship. The offer letter should include details of the internship and the amount of financial support, if any, the organization will provide.


There are two rounds of awards. Application deadlines in 2019 are April 28 and May 19.

A committee of faculty and journalists from the Humanities Council will review applications and select recipients. In assessing proposals, the committee weighs financial need, academic standing, and the potential benefits of the internship.

Post-Project Requirement

Grant recipients are required to submit a two-page report after their internship. The grants are paid in two installments: 90% (up to $2,700) in June, and the 10% balance in September after submission of the report about the internship.

Summer 2017 Recipients

In 2017, Ferris Summer Grants for Student Internships in Journalism went to 19 Princeton undergraduates:

  • Mashad Arora, Class of 2020—Forbes India (Mumbai)
  • Eli Berman, Class of 2020—PRI’s Afropop Worldwide (New York City)
  • Christian Bischoff, Class of 2019—research with The New Yorker‘s Evan Osnos (Washington, D.C.)
  • Rohana Chase, Class of 2019—Bellevue Literary Press (New York City)
  • Robert Cortes, Class of 2019—Nikkei Asian Review (Tokyo)
  • Marina Finley, Class 2019—American Chamber of Commerce (Taipei)
  • Katherine Fleming, Class of 2019—Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society (Boston)
  • Carolyn Kelly, Class of 2018—Booklist Publications (Chicago)
  • Megan Laubach, Class of 2018—David R. Godine, Publisher (Boston)
  • Arthur Li, Class of 2020—The New York Times (Beijing)
  • Lavinia Liang, Class 2018—TIME, Inc. (New York City)
  • Crystal Liu, Class of 2019—Exberliner (Berlin)
  • Alice Longenbach, Class 2018—PEN America (New York City)
  • Kevin McElwee, Class of 2018—The GroundTruth Project (Moscow and Washington, D.C.)
  • Briana Pagano, Class of 2018—Emma Sweeney Agency (New York City)
  • Ben Perelmuter, Class of 2019—The New York Review of Books (New York City)
  • Iris Samuels, Class of 2019—research with The New York Times’ Elaine Sciolino (Paris)
  • Logan Sander, Class of 2018—China Post (Taipei)
  • Khaled Tinubu, Class of 2019—The Paideia Institute (Rome)


Humanities Council Logo
Italian Studies Logo
American Studies Logo
Humanistic Studies Logo
Ancient World Logo
Canadian Studies Logo
ESC Logo
Journalism Logo
Linguistics Logo
Medieval Studies Logo
Renaissance Logo
Film Studies Logo