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Humanities Initiatives at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Division of Education Programs

Receipt Deadline June 22, 2017 for Projects Beginning January 2018

Brief Summary

NEH Humanities Initiatives at Historically Black Colleges and Universities are intended to strengthen the teaching and study of the humanities, in subjects such as history, philosophy, literature, religion, and the interpretation of the arts. These grants may be used to enhance existing humanities programs, resources, or courses, or to develop new ones. Applicants are encouraged to draw on the knowledge of outside scholars who would contribute expertise and fresh insights to the project. Each project must be organized around a core topic or set of themes.

NEH Humanities Initiatives may

  • support new humanities programs (which may include but are not limited to new humanities minors, first-year seminars, and capstone courses), and enhance existing ones;
  • support curricular development that integrates humanities approaches with professional training (in such fields as business, law, science, technology, and nursing and medicine);
  • integrate substantial humanities content or texts in required or developmental courses that focus on close reading, analytical writing, and/or effective speaking;
  • develop or substantially enhance bridge programs for first-year, first-generation, at-risk, and/or nontraditional students;
  • create opportunities for faculty members to study together, in order to improve their capacity to teach the humanities;
  • help institutions create or enhance humanities resources for teaching, such as oral histories and historical or literary collections (projects incorporating podcasts, mapping tools, and other digital components are especially encouraged); and
  • support collaborative projects in the humanities between the applicant institution and another institution, such as a college or university, a school or school system, a museum or library, or a historical or cultural society.

Program Statistics

In the last five competitions the Humanities Initiatives at Historically Black Colleges and Universities program received an average of 27 applications per year. The program made an average of three awards per year, for a funding ratio of 11 percent.

The number of applications to an NEH grant program can vary widely from year to year, as can the funding 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 202-606-8471 and Applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing can contact NEH via Federal Relay (TTY users) at 800-877-8399.