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NEH Summer Seminars
For College and University Teachers

Application Information and Instructions

Please review the eligibility criteria for participation in Summer Seminars

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

Prior to completing an application to a specific seminar, 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.

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


Selection Criteria

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. The Seminar selection committee for Elizabeth Bishop and the Literary Archive will consist of the project director and two colleagues.

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;
  3. special perspectives, skills, or experiences that would contribute to the seminar;
  4. the likelihood that the experience will enhance the applicant's teaching and scholarship; and
  5. the conception and organization of the applicant's independent project and its potential contribution to the seminar.

At least three seminar spaces will be reserved for non-tenure-track/adjunct faculty members. Recent participants are eligible to apply. When choices must be made among equally qualified candidates, however, NEH charges the selection committees to give preference to applicants who have not participated in an NEH-supported Seminar or Institute and to those who would significantly contribute to the diversity of the seminar or institute.


Stipend, Tenure, and Conditions of Award

Individuals selected to participate in three-week projects will receive $2,700. 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 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.


Application Instructions

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.


Checklist of Application Materials

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, save 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 most important part of the application is the essay of 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 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. In your essay, please discuss an independent study project you propose to take up or complete during the Seminar. Projects can include, but are not limited to, an extended analysis of a particular topic geared toward a scholarly or general audience, a bibliographical essay on relevant and new sources, a digital humanities project, a new or revised syllabus, or any other research project that draws from the methods and perspectives explored in Elizabeth Bishop and the Literary Archive. Participants will have sufficient time to work on independent projects using the archives and library collections of Vassar College.


Submission of Applications and Notification Procedure

Completed applications should be submitted electronically to the project director, not the NEH, and should be submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. eastern standard time on March 1, 2017. (Please note that we do not need applicants to send hard copies of their applications in addition to the electronic submission). Application materials sent to the NEH will not be reviewed. The subject line of the e-mail including your application materials should read “Summer Seminar Application.” Supporting documents should be attached as PDF documents and titled in the following manner:

  • Lastname Coversheet.pdf
  • Lastname CV.pdf
  • Lastname Essay.pdf

Email your application to Dr. Bethany Hicok at:

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.

For a printable pdf version of this document, please click here.


Equal Opportunity Statement

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).