Fellows are the major category of fellowship at the Academy. They are scholars who have 'attained distinction in any of the branches of study which it is the object of the Academy to promote' – ie, the humanities and the social sciences. Election is a mark of distinction, as only a very small number of scholars in any field are elected. Scholars must be habitually resident in the UK at the time of election.
Up to 52 elections are made in each year to the fellowship. There are now over 1,000 Fellows.
Corresponding Fellows are scholars outside the UK who have 'attained high international standing in any of the branches of study which it is the object of the Academy to promote'. Some familarity with research in the UK is valuable, in order to facilitate a contribution to the work of the Academy, eg through assessments of candidates for election.
Up to 20 elections are made in each year to the Corresponding Fellowship. There are now over 300 Corresponding Fellows.
Honorary Fellows are expected to have 'contributed signally to the promotion of the purposes for which the Academy was founded', either as persons of academic distinction in other fields whose work has a bearing on the humanities or social sciences; or as leading figures or philanthropists who have themselves done distinguished work in the Academy's fields of interest or promoted or advanced the causes for which the Academy was founded.
Up to four Honorary Fellows may be elected in any one year. There are currently 31 Honorary Fellows.