Public Scholar Program
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The Public Scholar Program supports well-researched books in the humanities intended to reach a broad readership. Some humanities scholarship is necessarily specialized, but the humanities can also engage broad audiences in exploring subjects of general interest. Such scholarship might present a narrative history, tell the stories of important individuals, analyze significant texts, provide a synthesis of ideas, revive interest in a neglected subject, or examine the latest thinking on a topic. Books supported by this program must be grounded in humanities research and scholarship, making appropriate use of primary and/or secondary sources. They must also be written in a readily accessible style, addressing significant humanities themes in a way that will appeal to a large audience of general readers. Applications to write books directed primarily to scholars are not appropriate for this program.
By establishing the Public Scholar Program, NEH has entered a long-term commitment to encourage scholarship in the humanities for general audiences. The program is open to both individuals affiliated with scholarly institutions and to independent scholars, researchers, and writers. Projects may be at any stage of development.
As soon as you know you're ready to apply for this grant, make sure you register for a grants.gov account as this is vital to the grants process. If you already have registered, make sure it is up to date.
Begin by reading the full grant guidelines and studying the application. The files are linked below. You want to ensure you understand all the expectations and restrictions for projects delivered under this grant and are prepared to write the most effective application.
Download Application Materials
Sample Application Narratives
Be sure to follow the instructions outlined in the guidelines and in the 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.
NEH requests letters of reference from your recommenders approximately seven to ten days 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.