As an unrestricted fellowship, the MacArthur Fellow allows total freedom for awardees to purse their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations. The award is given directly to individuals who show extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. They must show exceptional creativity, a history of accomplishments that promise future achievement, and the potential for the fellowship to facilitate creative work.
MacArthur Fellows are chosen from many fields of study. Among IU fellows, there are experts in Tibetan studies, microbiology, and music composition, as well as many other fields. The open nature of a MacArthur Fellowship aligns with the value IU places on a broad liberal arts education.