Eligibility and How to Apply



Please review the eligibility criteria for participation in Summer Seminars and Institutes at  


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, NEH Summer Scholars will receive a certificate indicating their participation.

Prior to completing an application to a specific seminar or institute, please review the project website 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 NEH Summer Scholars working in collaboration with one or two leading scholars.  Participants will have access to a significant research collection, with time reserved to pursue individual research and study projects.

Institutes are for 25-36 Summer Scholars, 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.

The use of the words “seminar” or “institute” in this document is precise and is intended to convey differences between the two project types.

Please note: An individual may apply to up to two projects (NEH Summer Seminars, or NEH Summer Institutes), but may participate in only one.


A 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.)

Special consideration is given to the likelihood that an applicant will benefit professionally.  It is important, therefore, to address each of the following factors in your application essay:

  1. quality and commitment as a teacher, scholar, and interpreter of the humanities;
  2. intellectual interests, in general 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. the likelihood that the experience will enhance the applicant’s teaching and scholarship; and
  5. for seminars, the conception and organization of the applicant’s independent project and its potential contribution to the seminar.

At least three seminar spaces and at least five institute spaces will be reserved for non-tenure-track/adjunct faculty members. Recent participants are eligible to apply, but selection committees are charged to give first consideration to applicants who have not participated in an NEH-supported Seminar or Institute in the last three years (2014, 2015, 2016).  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 Summer Seminar or Institute, or who significantly contribute to the diversity of the seminar or institute. 


Individuals selected to participate in the institute will receive a $2100 stipend. Stipends are intended to help cover travel expenses to and from the project location, books and other research expenses, and ordinary living expenses. Stipends are taxable.  Applicants to all projects 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 as professionals 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 will receive a reduced stipend.

At the end of the project’s residential period, NEH Summer Scholars 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.


Before you attempt to complete an application, please study the project website, which 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 and subsistence.


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

  • the completed application cover sheet,
  • a detailed résumé, curriculum vitae, or brief biography with contact information for two professional references, and
  • an application essay as outlined below.

The Application Cover Sheet

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


Please follow the prompts.  Before you click the “submit” button, print out the cover sheet and add it to your application package.  Then click “submit.”  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 to select the other project and repeat the process.

Do not use the same cover sheet for different projects.  You must submit a separate cover sheet online for each project to which you are applying in order to generate a unique tracking number for each application.

Résumé and References

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

Be sure the résumé provides the name, title, phone number, and e-mail address of two professional references.

The Application Essay

The application essay should be no more than four double spaced pages.  It should address your interest, both academic and personal, in the subject to be studied; qualifications and experiences that equip you to do the work of the seminar or institute and to make a contribution to a learning community; a statement of what you want to accomplish by participating; and the relation of the project to your 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.


Completed applications should be submitted to the project director, not the NEH, and should be postmarked or submitted via the online form below no later than March 1, 2017. Application materials sent to the NEH will not be reviewed.

Applications can be submitted in one of two ways:

  1. Via the on-line form, in which case the application must be completed by March 1; or
  2. Via snail mail, to the director’s address listed below, in which case applicants must ensure that their application is postmarked no later than March 1.

Successful applicants will be notified of their selection on Friday, March 31, 2017, and they will have until Friday, April 7 to accept or decline the offer.

Note: Once you have accepted an offer to attend any NEH Summer Program (NEH Summer Seminar or Institute), you may not accept an additional offer or withdraw in order to accept a different offer.

Please contact the director, Ann J. Cahill [cahilla@elon.edu] with any questions concerning the application process.


Endowment programs do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or age.  For further information, write to the Equal Opportunity Officer, National Endowment for the Humanities, 400 7th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20024.  TDD:  202/606‑8282 (this is a special telephone device for the Deaf).


Contact Us

If you have any questions concerning this Summer Institute, please contact the Director, Ann J. Cahill, directly:

Snail mail:

CB 2340

Elon University

Elon, NC 27244

Email: cahilla@elon.edu

Phone: 336-278-5703