Explore the foundational ideas supporting civil society

Explore the foundational ideas supporting civil society

The Shaftesbury Fellowship provides an opportunity for prospective graduate students to develop their understanding and deepen their specialized expertise in a variety of academic fields including theology, philosophy, politics, law, economics, and history.

“It is the hardest thing in the world to be a good thinker without being a good self examiner.​”
– Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury

    State Nullification of the Biden Agenda

    Remembering Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

    JRCD Book Reviews

    Articles Published by Shaftesbury Fellows

    Articles Published by Shaftesbury Fellows

      Shaftesbury Downloadable Content

      Shaftesbury Downloadable Content

      What is the

      Shaftesbury Experience

      Shaftesbury Experience

      The Shaftesbury Fellowship is a highly selective summer-long fellowship for upper level undergraduate students and recent graduates who intend to pursue graduate study in any field related to the advance of liberty. During the Fellowship, Fellows will:

      1. Work one-on-one with an established scholar who will provide mentorship in the design and execution of a research project that will culminate in a publishable-quality paper that will be suitable for use as a writing sample for graduate admissions applications;

      2. Attend weekly reading seminars led by leading academics; and participate in two intensive colloquia focused on key themes in political theory, history, and philosophy.

      3. In addition to the formal aspects of the Fellowship, Fellows will enjoy informal opportunities to explore museums, libraries, and other cultural institutions in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. They’ll get to know the CRCD staff and research fellows and live in close community with their peers.

      Accepted applicants will need to be physically present in Plano, Texas from Sunday, May 19 to Wednesday, July 31. All Fellows will be provided schedules for seminars, presentations, and other required Fellowship events so that they may plan any other summer travel around those times.

      All Shaftesbury Fellows will receive:

          • Housing in the Dallas-area for the duration of the Fellowship;
          • A weekly stipend to offset their living expenses;
          • All seminar and colloquia readings.

      Who should apply?

      We welcome applications from high-achieving undergraduate students and recent graduates who intend to pursue graduate study in any field related to the advance of liberty.

      The ideal Fellow will:

      High GPA

      Have a high GPA in undergraduate and, if applicable, graduate coursework;


      Outstanding references from former instructors;


      Test Scores

      Competitive test scores (GRE, LSAT, GMAT, etc.); &

      Humanities & Society

      A broad undergraduate-level comprehension of the humanities and social sciences.

      The Fellowship is Named for

      Anthony Ashley-Cooper
      7th Earl of Shaftesbury

      The Shaftesbury Fellowship is named in honor of Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury. Lord Shaftesbury was a noted social reformer in 19th-century England who worked to improve working conditions for women and children, to alleviate the crushing poverty of the day, to reform the treatment of the mentally ill, to provide access to education for all, and to re-establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine. While an elected member of Parliament, Shaftesbury labored most notably to encourage the establishment of voluntary associations that mobilized citizens to address social issues at the local level where solutions would be most proximate to those impacted.

      Most dear to his heart was his work with the Ragged School Union, a voluntary association that promoted and supported the founding of schools that offered academic and vocational instruction to “ragged” (i.e., destitute) children. By the time of his death there were more than 350 ragged schools in England educating thousands of children. His Westminster Abbey funeral was attended by representatives of dozens of voluntary associations and thronged by thousands of the poor who waited for hours to pay their respects to the man who had become known as “The Poor Man’s Earl.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon eulogized him as “the best man of the age…[who] lived for the oppressed; …lived for London; …lived for the nation; [and] lived still more for God.” One biographer wrote of him, “No man has in fact ever done more to lessen the extent of human misery or to add to the sum total of human happiness.”

      The legacy of Lord Shaftesbury’s philanthropy and social action represents the spirit that this Fellowship seeks to inspire. Investment in civil society inspired by religious devotion is, in our view, the most effective and sustainable means of advancing liberty. It is our hope to see Shaftesbury Fellows in their academic, professional, and personal lives inspiring others to work for the common good according to the legacy and example of Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury.

      In 1893 the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain was erected in honor of the life of Lord Shaftesbury in London’s Piccadilly Circus. Placed at the top of the fountain is Alfred Gilbert’s statue, “The Angel of Christian Charity.” The silhouette of the statue serves as the inspiration for the logo for the Shaftesbury Fellowship.

      Ready to Apply?

      The Shaftesbury Fellowship is open to any student pursuing an undergraduate degree or recent graduate who intends to pursue graduate study in any field related to the advancement of liberty.

      Required application items include:

      •Completed online application


      •Letter of Recommendation

      •Writing Sample

      For questions regarding the application process, email

      Have a question?

      Feel free to send us your questions about the fellowship or application requirements.