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Summer Seminars and Institutes

Division of Education Programs

Receipt Deadline February 22, 2018

The deadline for this program has passed.

Updated guidelines will be posted in advance of the next deadline. In the meantime, please use these guidelines to get a sense of what is involved in assembling an application.

Brief Summary

NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes grants broaden and deepen understanding of the humanities in supporting professional development programs, specifically designed for a national audience of K-12 educators or college and university faculty. The programs provide one- to four-week opportunities for participants (NEH Summer Scholars) to explore a variety of topics relevant to K-12 or undergraduate education in the humanities.

NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes

  • focus on the study and teaching of significant texts and other resources;

  • provide models of excellent scholarship and teaching;

  • contribute to the intellectual growth of the of participants; and

  • build lasting communities of inquiry.

    An NEH Summer Seminar or Institute may be hosted by a college, university, learned society, center for advanced study, library or other repository, cultural or professional organization, or school or school system. The host site must provide facilities for collegial interaction and scholarship. The program must be held only in the United States and its territories.

    Seminars and Institutes are designed either for K-12 educators or for college and university faculty. Programs for K-12 educators must involve someone with significant K-12 experience in both project planning and implementation and must respond to K-12 curricular needs.


    A Seminar provides an intimate and focused environment in which sixteen participants study a specific humanities topic under the guidance of one or two established scholars. Seminars have few, if any, visiting faculty. They emphasize sustained interaction among the participants and director(s) through discussion of common readings, conversations about teaching, and advising on independent projects.


    An Institute allows twenty-five to thirty-six participants to pursue an intensive program of study under a team of scholarly experts, who present a range of perspectives on a humanities topic. Participants and scholars mutually explore connections between scholarship about and the teaching of the topic.

    Information about Preliminary Draft Proposals

    Prospective applicants may submit a draft of their proposal for staff comment (note that submission of draft proposals is optional) no later than January 22, 2018.

    Recent Changes to the Program

    Staffing: For school teacher projects, both project planning and implementation require at least one faculty or staff member with a background or significant experience in K-12 education.

    Participants: Seminars and Institutes for school teachers must reserve three and five spaces, respectively, for teachers who are new to the profession (those who have been teaching for five years or less).

    Participants: Seminars for college faculty must include among the participants three or more non-tenured/non-tenure-track faculty; they may include up to two spaces for advanced graduate students. Institutes for college and university faculty must include among the participants five or more non-tenured/non-tenure-track faculty; they may include up to three spaces for advanced graduate students.

    Reference Letters: The instructions for submitting reference letters (required only for project directors who have not previously directed an NEH summer program) have changed.

Program Statistics

In the last five competitions the Summer Seminars and Institutes program received an average of 144 applications. The program made an average of 49 awards per competition, for a funding ratio of 34 percent.

The number of applications to an NEH grant program can vary widely from competition to competition, 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 sem-inst[at]neh[dot]gov.


Contact the staff of NEH’s Division of Education Programs at 202-606-8471 or sem-inst[at]neh[dot]gov. Applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing can contact NEH via Federal Relay (TTY users) at 800-877-8399.

Guidelines Resources

Download Application Materials

Budget Resources

Program Resources

Sample Application Narratives