Call for Applicants



Summer Seminars and Institutes for College and University Teachers are offered by the National Endowment for the Humanities to provide college and university faculty members and independent scholars with an opportunity to enrich and revitalize their understanding of significant humanities ideas, texts, and topics. These study opportunities are especially designed for this program and are not intended to duplicate courses normally offered by graduate programs. On completion of a seminar or institute, participants will receive a certificate indicating their participation. Prior to completing an application, please review the letter/prospectus from the project director (available on the project’s website, or as an attachment) and consider carefully what is expected in terms of residence and attendance, reading and writing requirements, and general participation in the work of the project.

Each seminar includes 16 participants working in collaboration with one or two leading scholars. Participants will have access to a major library collection, with time reserved to pursue individual research and study projects. Institutes are for 25 participants, and provide intensive collaborative study of texts, topics, and ideas central to undergraduate teaching in the humanities under the guidance of faculties distinguished in their fields of scholarship. Institutes aim to prepare participants to return to their classrooms with a deeper knowledge of current scholarship in key fields of the humanities. Please note: The use of the words “seminar” or “institute” in this document is precise and is intended to convey differences between the two project types.


These projects are designed primarily for teachers of American undergraduate students. Qualified independent scholars and those employed by museums, libraries, historical societies, and other organizations may be eligible to compete provided they can effectively advance the teaching and research goals of the seminar or institute. Applicants must be United States citizens, residents of U.S. jurisdictions, or foreign nationals who have been residing in the United States or its territories for at least the three years immediately preceding the application deadline. Foreign nationals teaching abroad at non-U.S. chartered institutions are not eligible to apply.

New this year: Up to two seminar spaces and three institute spaces are reserved for current full-time graduate students in the humanities.

Applicants must complete the NEH application cover sheet and provide all of the information requested below to be considered eligible. An applicant need not have an advanced degree in order to qualify. Adjunct and part-time lecturers are eligible to apply. Individuals may not apply to study with a director of a seminar or institute who is a current colleague or a family member. Individuals must not apply to seminars directed by scholars with whom they have studied. Institute selection committees are advised that only under the most compelling and exceptional circumstances may an individual participate in an institute with a director or a lead faculty member who has guided that individual’s research or in whose previous institute or seminar he or she has participated.

New this year: An individual may apply to up to three projects in any one year (seminars, institutes or Landmarks workshops), but may participate in only one. Please note that Landmarks Workshops are designed for community college faculty.


The selection committee reads and evaluates all properly completed applications in order to select the most promising applicants and to identify a number of alternates. (Seminar selection committees typically consist of the project director and two colleagues. Institute selection committees typically consist of three to five members, usually drawn from the institute faculty and staff members.) While recent participants are eligible to apply, selection committees are charged to give first consideration to applicants who have not participated in an NEH-supported seminar, institute or Landmarks workshop in the last three years (2007, 2008, 2009).

The most important consideration in the selection of participants is the likelihood that an applicant will benefit professionally. This is determined by committee members from the conjunction of several factors, each of which should be addressed in the application essay. These factors include:

1. quality and commitment as a teacher, scholar, and interpreter of the humanities;

2. intellectual interests, both generally and as they relate to the work of the seminar or institute;

3. special perspectives, skills, or experiences that would contribute to the seminar or institute;

4. commitment to participate fully in the formal and informal collegial life of the seminar or institute;

5. the likelihood that the experience will enhance the applicant's teaching and scholarship; and

6. for seminars, the conception and organization of the applicant's independent project and its potential contribution to the seminar.

When choices must be made among equally qualified candidates, several additional factors are considered. Preference is given to applicants who have not previously participated in an NEH seminar, institute, or Landmarks workshop, or who significantly contribute to the diversity of the seminar or institute.


Individuals selected to participate in six-week long projects will receive a stipend of $4,500; those in five-week projects will receive $3,900; those in four-week projects will receive $3,300; those in three-week projects will receive $2,700; and those in two-week projects will receive $2,100. Stipends are intended to help cover travel expenses to and from the project location, books and other research expenses, and living expenses for the duration of the period spent in residence. Stipends are taxable. Applicants to all projects, especially those held abroad, should note that supplements will not be given in cases where the stipend is insufficient to cover all expenses.

Seminar and institute participants are required to attend all meetings and to engage fully in the work of the project. During the project's tenure, they may not undertake teaching assignments or any other professional activities unrelated to their participation in the project. Participants who, for any reason, do not complete the full tenure of the project must refund a pro-rata portion of the stipend.

At the end of the project's residential period, participants will be asked to submit online evaluations in which they review their work during the summer and assess its value to their personal and professional development. These evaluations will become part of the project's grant file and may become part of an application to repeat the seminar or institute.


These general application instructions from the NEH should be accompanied by a “Dear Colleague Letter” from the project director that contains detailed information about the topic under study; project requirements and expectations of the participants; the academic and institutional setting; and specific provisions for lodging, subsistence, and extracurricular activities. If you do not have such a letter/prospectus, please request one from the director of the project(s) in which you are interested before you attempt to complete and submit an application. In many cases, directors have websites for their projects and the “Dear Colleague Letter” may be downloaded. All application materials must be sent to the project director. Application materials sent to the Endowment will not be reviewed.


A completed application consists of three copies of the following collated items:

* the completed application cover sheet,
* a detailed résumé, or brief biography, and
* an application essay as outlined below.

In addition, it must include two letters of recommendation as described below.

The application cover sheet

The application cover sheet must be filled out online at this address: <>

Please fill it out online as directed by the prompts. When you are finished, be sure to click on the “submit” button. Print out the cover sheet and add it to your application package. At this point you will be asked if you want to fill out a cover sheet for another project. If you do, follow the prompts and select another project and then print out the cover sheet for that project. Note that filling out a cover sheet is not the same as applying, so there is no penalty for changing your mind and filling out cover sheets for several projects. A full application consists of the items listed above, as sent to a project director.


Please include a detailed résumé or brief biography (not to exceed five pages).

The Application Essay

The application essay should be no more than four double spaced pages. This essay should include any relevant personal and academic information. It should address reasons for applying; the applicant's interest, both academic and personal, in the subject to be studied; qualifications and experiences that equip the applicant to do the work of the seminar or institute and to make a contribution to a learning community; a statement of what the applicant wants to accomplish by participating; and the relation of the project to the applicant's professional responsibilities.

* Applicants to seminars should be sure to discuss any independent study project that is proposed beyond the common work of the seminar.
* Applicants to institutes may need to elaborate on the relationship between institute activities and their responsibilities for teaching and curricular development.

Reference Letters

The two referees may be from inside or outside the applicant’s home institution. They should be familiar with the applicant's professional accomplishments or promise, teaching and/or research interests, and ability to contribute to and benefit from participation in the seminar or institute. Referees should be provided with the director's description of the seminar or institute and the applicant's essay. Applicants who are current graduate students should secure a letter from a professor or advisor. Letters may be sent by e-mail attachment (preferred) or by regular mail to the address listed in the "Dear Colleague" letter. If you wish to include the letters with your own mailed applications, please ask each of your referees to sign their name across the seal on the back of the envelope containing their letter.


Completed applications should be submitted to with the subject line “SI Application.” If you choose instead to submit your materials by regular mail, the mailing address is:

Ms. Angela Zemonek

Center for the History of Political Economy

Duke University

Box 90097

Durham, N. C.


Attn. NEH Summer Institute

It should be postmarked no later than March 2, 2010.

Successful applicants will be notified of their selection on April 1, 2010, and they will have until April 5 to accept or decline the offer. Applicants who will not be home during the notification period are advised to provide an address and phone number where they can be reached. No information on the status of applications will be available prior to the official notification period.


Endowment programs do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age. For further information, write to the Equal Opportunity Officer, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20506. TDD: 202/606‑8282 (this is a special telephone device for the Deaf).