Tuesday, October 28, 2014 - 19:07

Membership Levels & Qualifications

Membership in NCIS provides an affiliation and an identity for independent scholars worldwide. By independent scholar, we mean someone who is actively engaged in scholarly research or a comparable peer-reviewed artistic endeavor (for example, a juried art exhibition or a finalist in a music competition), but who is not a tenure-track or tenured professor (or, in some countries, does not have a permanent contract at a university) and is not employed elsewhere for the purpose of completing the qualifying research or artistic activity.

NCIS offers two types of membership: Full and Associate, which are described in detail below. Generally speaking, we expect all members to either have earned or be pursuing a graduate-level academic degree, although we also recognize those unique individuals whose peer-reviewed work proceeds successfully despite the lack of graduate degrees. Examples of eligible scholars may include the following (these include both Full and Associate levels):

  • contingent or part-time faculty members at a university or college
  • those tangentially associated with or employed by academic institutions who do not receive ongoing financial support for their scholarly activities, One example is employment in a university staff or administrative position that does not include support for academic research as part of its job description.
  • those employed by a business or other non-university institution who are pursuing independent research interests
  • senior scholars who have recently retired
  • experienced researchers who are changing their field of scholarly interest and may not yet have peer-reviewed publications in their new area
  • graduate students
  • scholars who have had peer-reviewed publications accepted but not yet published

All candidates must complete an application form, available here, and submit payment for at least one year of membership dues. Please read the information below about the distinction between Full and Associate membership before making your payment.

Evidence of scholarly research, juried artistic exhibits, comparable musical presentations, etc. must be demonstrated by uploading a current CV (as a .doc., .docx, or .txt file) at the time of application. This CV should offer the following information:

  • your name and address
  • your field(s) of independent scholarly research
  • a list of your peer-reviewed publications or juried artistic activities
  • your post-secondary education
  • your recent employment history, including self-employment and consulting

A sample CV and additional information can be found here .

The NCIS Membership Committee reviews each application and makes a final decision about granting Full or Associate membership. Each application will normally be reviewed within two weeks of its submission. The Committee reserves the right to request additional information of applicants and to reject applications that do not reflect an appropriate level of research activity as an independent scholar or that include credentials that cannot be verified. All dues paid will be refunded if an applicant does not meet the requirements for Full or Associate membership. If an applicant is accepted as an Associate member but paid dues for a Full membership, the difference will be refunded.

To start an application, visit Join NCIS.   Additional information can also be found at How to Join NCIS. Please contact membership@ncis.org with questions.


NCIS offers Full membership to those independent scholars who have demonstrated their scholarly involvement and commitment in any field through peer-reviewed publications, juried artistic endeavors, or similar activities that invite scholarly response from their peers. In most cases, a graduate-level academic degree is expected (for example, a Ph.D. or M.F.A.). NCIS looks for evidence that applicants for Full membership demonstrate critical analysis in their work and that their work is open to scholarly debate in whatever venues for knowledge dissemination they pursue. Further, service work with scholarly organizations is considered as evidence of commitment.


NCIS welcomes as Associate members those who are pursuing a graduate-level academic degree who have demonstrated evidence of independent research as well as those who have completed such a degree but do not yet have peer-reviewed publications or similar artistic activities. Proof of research may be demonstrated through journal articles that have been submitted to peer-reviewed scholarly publications but have not yet appeared in print or online format or a dissertation that is proceeding under the guidance of a university or college faculty member (please provide contact information for these individuals). Examples of typical Associate members are graduate students and early career scholars, although others may also qualify. NCIS reserves the right to request verification of scholarly activity, including through the submission of article drafts, transcripts, or dissertation chapters.

Associate members are eligible to attend NCIS conferences at a fee determined by the Board, to publicly identify as an Associate member of NCIS, to receive NCIS members-only communications, and to upgrade Associate membership at any renewal date by applying for Full membership. They may also apply for some of the grants offered by NCIS.


Members of partner groups affiliated with the National Coalition of Independent Scholars (NCIS) enjoy some of the benefits offered by NCIS. However membership in a partner (affiliate) group does not confer individual membership in NCIS. Membership in a partner group entitles new NCIS members to a $10 introductory discount on their first year's individual membership of NCIS.

Partner group members applying for individual membership in NCIS should indicate the name of the partner group to which they belong. Once NCIS confirms a new NCIS member's partner group membership, then NCIS will process a refund of $10 to them.

To start an application for partner group membership please visit Join NCIS.  Contact membership@ncis.org with questions.

For current partner groups see the side bar to the right of this page.

Nondiscrimination Policy

It is the policy of NCIS not to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, ancestry, marital status, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical disability, veteran status, political service or affiliation, color, religion, or national origin. Furthermore, the officers, directors, committee members, and persons served by this corporation shall be selected entirely on a nondiscriminatory basis with respect to age, sex, race, religion, national origin, and sexual orientation.


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