Division of Research Programs
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The Public Scholars program offers grants to individual authors for research, writing, travel, and other activities leading to the creation and publication of well-researched nonfiction books in the humanities written for the broad public. Writers with or without an academic affiliation may apply, and no advanced degree is required. The program encourages non-academic writers to deepen their engagement with the humanities by strengthening the research underlying their books, and it encourages academic writers in the humanities to communicate the significance of their research to the broadest possible range of readers. NEH especially encourages applications from independent writers, researchers, scholars, and journalists.
What's New for 2022
Changes since last year include the following:
- The deadline has been moved up from mid-December to November 30.
- The rules about the length and format of the required writing sample have been revised.
- Two new sample applications have been posted (see below, under the bold heading "Sample Application Narratives").
The program continues to offer special encouragement to independent writers, researchers, and scholars and others who have no long-term affiliation with an academic institution.
Watch a Recording of the Online Information Session
A live online information session was held on Wednesday, October 12, 2022. The session explained the goals of the NEH's Public Scholars program, the eligibility requirements, how to apply, how applications are reviewed, and how to write an effective application.
To watch a recording of the session, please click here or on the image below. The main presentation is about thirty minutes long. It is followed by a thirty-minute question and answer period. The recording will remain available through the November 30, 2022 application deadline.
Read the Notice of Funding Opportunity to ensure you understand all the expectations and restrictions for projects delivered under this program and are prepared to write the most effective application.
Public Scholars Notice of Funding Opportunity, 2022 and 2023 (PDF)
Public Scholars Grants.gov application package
Public Scholar Frequently Asked Questions, 2022 and 2023 (PDF)
List of recently funded Public Scholar projects
Sample Application Narratives
The Best Years of Our Lives (Cinema History)
Sister Novelists Before the Brontes (British Literature)
How the West was Won (American Civil War)
The Sacred Band of Thebes (Ancient Greek History)
The Doctors Blackwell (Dual Biography)
Ashley's Sack (African-American History)
Origins of European Genocide
A Biography of the American Architect Louis Kahn
A History of America through 100 Maps
A Grants.gov account is vital to the grants process; register as soon as you know you are going to apply for this grant. If you are already registered, make sure your registration is current.
Follow the instructions outlined in the Notice of Funding Opportunity and Grants.gov instructions.
You will receive a confirmation from Grants.gov when you've successfully submitted your application.
After you submit your application, Grants.gov will send you up to five e-mail messages confirming receipt of your application. These messages represent different stages in the application acceptance process. You should verify that you have received all confirmation messages. Please note that email filters may send these messages to your spam or junk folder.
The Public Scholars program staff will request letters of reference from your recommenders on or about January 9 (a little over one full month after the application deadline). You will be notified by e-mail when each of your letters of reference has been received. After you have received the fifth message from Grants.gov (confirming that NEH received your application), you may check the status of your letters by logging in to the secure area of NEH’s website. Enter your NEH application number and your Grants.gov tracking number. You will be able to see the names and e-mail addresses of your letter writers and whether their letters have arrived. If necessary, you may send reminders to your letter writers (including the upload link) from this site. You are responsible for ensuring that your letter writers have received the solicitations from NEH and submitted their letters.