A fellow 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 are awarded fellowship to work together as peers in the pursuit of knowledge or practice. The fellows may include visiting professors, postdoctoral researchers and doctoral researchers.

Research fellow

The title of research fellow is used to denote an academic research position at a university or a similar institution.

Teaching fellow

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

At Colleges
Residential college
A residential college is an organisational pattern for a division of a university that places academic activity in a community setting of students and faculty, usually at a residence and with shared meals, the college having a degree of autonomy and a federated relationship with the overall...

 of the Universities of Oxford
Colleges of the University of Oxford
The University of Oxford comprises 38 Colleges and 6 Permanent Private Halls of religious foundation. Colleges and PPHs are autonomous self-governing corporations within the university, and all teaching staff and students studying for a degree of the university must belong to one of the colleges...

, Cambridge
Colleges of the University of Cambridge
This is a list of the colleges within the University of Cambridge. These colleges are the primary source of accommodation for undergraduates and graduates at the University and at the undergraduate level have responsibility for admitting students and organising their tuition. They also provide...

, and Trinity College, Dublin
Trinity College, Dublin
Trinity College, Dublin , formally known as the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin, was founded in 1592 by letters patent from Queen Elizabeth I as the "mother of a university", Extracts from Letters Patent of Elizabeth I, 1592: "...we...found and...

, full fellows form the governing body of the college. They may elect a Council to handle day-to-day management. All fellows are entitled to certain privileges within their colleges, which may include dining at High Table
High Table
At Oxford, Cambridge and Durham colleges — and other, similarly traditional and prestigious UK academic institutions At Oxford, Cambridge and Durham colleges — and other, similarly traditional and prestigious UK academic institutions At Oxford, Cambridge and Durham colleges — and other, similarly...

 (free of charge) and possibly the right to a room in college (free of charge).

There are a number of types of fellow:
  • Research fellow
    Research fellow
    The title of research fellow is used to denote a research position at a university or similar institution, usually for academic staff or faculty members. A research fellow may act either as an independent investigator or under the supervision of a principal investigator...

    are researchers, whose salaries or stipend
    A stipend is a form of salary, such as for an internship or apprenticeship. It is often distinct from a wage or a salary because it does not necessarily represent payment for work performed, instead it represents a payment that enables somebody to be exempt partly or wholly from waged or salaried...

    s are paid by a college from the income of its endowment
    Financial endowment
    A financial endowment is a transfer of money or property donated to an institution. The total value of an institution's investments is often referred to as the institution's endowment and is typically organized as a public charity, private foundation, or trust....

    . 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 (lecturer
    Lecturer is an academic rank. In the United Kingdom, lecturer is a position at a university or similar institution, often held by academics in their early career stages, who lead research groups and supervise research students, as well as teach...

    s, reader
    Reader (academic rank)
    The title of Reader in the United Kingdom and some universities in the Commonwealth nations like Australia and New Zealand denotes an appointment for a senior academic with a distinguished international reputation in research or scholarship...

    s, and professor
    A professor is a scholarly teacher; the precise meaning of the term varies by country. Literally, professor derives from Latin as a "person who professes" being usually an expert in arts or sciences; a teacher of high rank...

    s) 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
    A praelector is a traditional role at the colleges of the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford. The role differs between the two universities.At Cambridge, a praelector is a fellow of a college...

    is a fellow of a college, who formally presents students during the matriculation
    Matriculation, in the broadest sense, means to be registered or added to a list, from the Latin matricula – little list. In Scottish heraldry, for instance, a matriculation is a registration of armorial bearings...

     and graduation ceremony.

Most Cambridge colleges grant fellowships for life after a qualifying period. Retired academics may therefore remain as fellows. In Oxford upon 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
Dining rights
Dining rights, in the United Kingdom, are the right to use the dining facilities offered to the members of certain organisations such as universities, clubs, colleges and bodies such as the House of Lords, and the Hawks' Club.They are typically offered to ex-members of such institutions, alumni,...

 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.).

Medical Education Systems in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

In these four countries the overarching responsibility of postgraduate specialist medical and surgical education is assigned to a number of Royal colleges. Examples of these colleges are: the Royal College of Surgeons, The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada ' , French: Collège royal des médecins et chirurgiens du Canada, is a national, private, nonprofit organization established in 1929 by a special Act of Parliament to oversee the medical education of specialists in Canada...

 and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists is the principal organisation representing the medical specialty of psychiatry in Australia and New Zealand and has responsibility for training, examining and awarding the qualification of Fellowship of the College to medical...

. When a graduate medical doctor completes the speciality training/examinations required by one of these colleges he or she is assigned the designation of Fellow of the corresponding college. This designation comes with a post-nominal designation such as FRCS (Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons), FRCP (C) (Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada) and FRANZCP (Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists).

Graduate school fellowships

In the context of graduate school
Graduate school
A graduate school is a school that awards advanced academic degrees with the general requirement that students must have earned a previous undergraduate degree...

 in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, a fellow is a recipient of a fellowship. Examples are the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program is an annual grant awarded by the National Science Foundation to approximately 2,000 doctoral-level students in the natural, social, and engineering sciences at US institutions...

, the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, the Guggenheim Fellowship
Guggenheim Fellowship
Guggenheim Fellowships are American grants that have been awarded annually since 1925 by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation to those "who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts." Each year, the foundation makes...

, the Rosenthal Fellowship
Harold Wallace Rosenthal
Harold Wallace Rosenthal , was a senior aide to then-Senator Jacob K. Javits when Rosenthal was murdered in a terrorist attack in Istanbul, Turkey....

 and the Presidential Management Fellowship.

Harvard University

At Harvard and some other universities in the United States, "fellows" are members of the Board of Trustees
Board of governors
Board of governors is a term sometimes applied to the board of directors of a public entity or non-profit organization.Many public institutions, such as public universities, are government-owned corporations. The British Broadcasting Corporation was managed by a board of governors, though this role...

 who hold administrative positions as non-executive trustee rather than academics.

Cambridge and Oxford Colleges

Some senior administrators of a college such as bursar
A bursar is a senior professional financial administrator in a school or university.Billing of student tuition accounts are the responsibility of the Office of the Bursar. This involves sending bills and making payment plans with the ultimate goal of getting the student accounts paid off...

s 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
Professional body
A professional association is usually a nonprofit organization seeking to further a particular profession, the interests of individuals engaged in that profession, and the public interest.The roles of these professional associations have been variously defined: "A group of people in a...

 or learned societies (see for example, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators is a London based membership organisation for arbitrators for the promotion and facilitation of dispute resolution...

. 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 professionally
  • 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 examined

Exclusive learned societies
Learned society
A learned society is an organization that exists to promote an academic discipline/profession, as well a group of disciplines. Membership may be open to all, may require possession of some qualification, or may be an honor conferred by election, as is the case with the oldest learned societies,...

 such as the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

 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.

Honorary fellow

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.

Industry / Corporate

Large corporations in research and development
Research and development
The phrase research and development , according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, refers to "creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of...

-intensive industries (IBM
International Business Machines Corporation or IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, and it offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas...

 or Sun Microsystems
Sun Microsystems
Sun Microsystems, Inc. was a company that sold :computers, computer components, :computer software, and :information technology services. Sun was founded on February 24, 1982...

 in information technology
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

, Bell Labs
Bell Labs
Bell Laboratories is the research and development subsidiary of the French-owned Alcatel-Lucent and previously of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company , half-owned through its Western Electric manufacturing subsidiary.Bell Laboratories operates its...

 or L3 Communications in telecommunications, and Boston Scientific
Boston Scientific
The Boston Scientific Corporation , is a worldwide developer, manufacturer and marketer of medical devices whose products are used in a range of interventional medical specialties, including interventional cardiology, peripheral interventions, neuromodulation, neurovascular intervention,...

 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
Career is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as a person's "course or progress through life ". It is usually considered to pertain to remunerative work ....

, though some fellows also hold business titles such as vice president
Vice president
A vice president is an officer in government or business who is below a president in rank. The name comes from the Latin vice meaning 'in place of'. In some countries, the vice president is called the deputy president...

 or chief technology officer. Examples are:

Nonprofit / Government

The title fellow can be used for participants in a professional development program run by a nonprofit
Nonprofit organization
Nonprofit organization is neither a legal nor technical definition but generally refers to an organization that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals, rather than distributing them as profit or dividends...

 or governmental organization. This type of fellowship is a short term work opportunity (1-2 years) for professionals
A professional is a person who is paid to undertake a specialised set of tasks and to complete them for a fee. The traditional professions were doctors, lawyers, clergymen, and commissioned military officers. Today, the term is applied to estate agents, surveyors , environmental scientists,...

who already possess some level of academic or professional expertise that will serve the nonprofit mission. Fellows are given a stipend as well as professional experience and leadership training. Examples are:
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