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Enduring Questions

Division of Education Programs

Receipt Deadline September 10, 2015 for Projects Beginning May 2016

Updated guidelines will be posted at least two months in advance of the deadline listed above.

In the meantime, please use the guidelines for the previous deadline, to get a sense of what is involved in assembling an application.

Brief Summary

The NEH Enduring Questions grant program supports faculty members in the preparation of a new course on a fundamental concern of human life as addressed by the humanities. This question-driven course would encourage undergraduates and teachers to join together in a deep and sustained program of reading in order to encounter influential ideas, works, and thinkers over the centuries.

What is an enduring question? The following list is neither prescriptive nor exhaustive but serves to illustrate.

  • Are there universals in human nature?
  • What is the source of moral authority?
  • What is evil?
  • Can war be just?
  • How do we differ from other animals?
  • Is peace possible?
  • What is worth dying for?
  • What is the value of education?
  • Can greed be good?
  • What is good government?
  • What is progress?
  • Am I my brother's keeper?

Program Statistics

In its last five annual competitions, the Enduring Questions program received an average of 194 applications per year. The program made an average of nineteen awards per year, for a funding ratio of 10 percent.

The number of applications to an NEH grant program can vary widely year to year, as can the success ratio. Information about the average number of applications and awards in recent competitions is meant only to provide historical context for the current competition. Information on the number of applications and awards in individual competitions is available from


Contact the staff of NEH’s Division of Education Programs at and 202-606-8380. Hearing-impaired applicants can contact NEH via TDD at 1-866-372-2930.