Skip to main content

General Process

General Information About the Fellows Nomination, Review and Appeal Process:


Fellowship Rosette

A member whose efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications are scientifically or socially distinguished and who has been a continuous member for the four year period leading up to the year of nomination, may, by virtue of such meritorious contribution be elected a Fellow by the Council. In a tradition stretching back to 1874, these individuals are recognized for their extraordinary achievements across disciplines. Examples of areas in which nominees may have made significant contributions are research; teaching; technology; services to professional societies; administration in academe, industry, and government; and communicating and interpreting science to the public. Fellows are elected annually by the AAAS Council from the list of approved nominations from the Section Steering Groups. 

Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor and all Fellows are expected to meet the commonly held standards of professional ethics and scientific integrity.AAAS strongly encourages nominating a full representation of communities that are underrepresented in science. This includes women, members of minority groups, and persons with disabilities.

Fellow nominations may be made by: 1) the Steering Groups of the Association's 24 sections, or 2) any three previously elected Fellows who are current AAAS members, so long as two of the three sponsors are not affiliated with the nominee's institution, or 3) the Chief Executive Officer of AAAS.

All nominees and sponsors must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  1. Eligibility for nomination requires an individual to have been a continuous member of AAAS for four years by the end of the calendar year in which they would be elected.
  2. No Fellow may serve as a sponsor, whether primary, secondary or tertiary, on more than two 3-Fellow nominations in one year.

Each 3-Fellow nomination submission must include the following: 1) The completed submission form; 2) a list of the nominee's top ten most significant publications; 3) a comprehensive CV, which includes a complete list of publications; 4) letters from each of the three sponsors, with an accompanying 'Letter of Recommendation Addendum" attached.

Please refer to the Current Nomination Cycle tab for more detailed instructions.

Review Process:

AAAS conducts a two-step review process for the honorary Fellows.

In the first step, responsibility for reviewing the Fellow nominations is assigned to the Steering Groups of the 24 Sections. Nominations undergo review by the appropriate eight-member Steering Group (comprising the Chair, Chair-Elect, Retiring Chair, Secretary, and four Members-at-Large of each section), which reviews all 3-Fellow and CEO nominations designated for its specific section.

Each nominee must receive the approval of a majority of the Steering Group members in order to be included in the slate of Fellow nominees that is presented to the Council for a final vote.

In 2017, the AAAS Council voted to approve a new change with respect to 3-Fellow nominations. The number of submissions by 3-Fellow sponsors remains unconstrained. However, each Steering Group may only move forward for Council consideration a number of nominees that does not exceed its section quota, which is equal to 0.4% of its section’s primary membership.* In other words, if a section has a quota of nine, it may only move forward for Council consideration up to nine 3-Fellow nominees.
       *Small sections with a quota of less than five may move forward for Council consideration up to five nominees.

The Council is the governing body tasked with reviewing and officially electing the Fellows. In the second step, the Council (comprising members representing each section plus the Board of Directors) reviews all nominations forwarded for consideration from all sections and casts an official vote. During this part of the process, nominations may be challenged by any member of the AAAS Council.

General Timeline:

Steering Group Review – Spring
Council Voting – Fall
Announcements – Late January


Sponsors of a rejected nomination have the option of appealing to the Committee on Council Affairs for possible reversal of the Steering Group's decision. A challenged nomination will be reviewed by the Committee on Council Affairs, which is the governing body responsible for final decisions.


Final decisions are generally announced in late January. New Fellows are honored at the AAAS Fellows Forum the following spring/summer and they receive a certificate and rosette. The names of the newly elected Fellows are also published in the journal Science and on the AAAS website in February.

Queries may be directed to the Executive Office  by emailing