Application Process


The 2019 Summer Institute application period is now closed. 
The NEH Division of Education Programs will announce Summer 2020 programs in Feb. 2020 on their website.
Please refer to the NEH website by then. Best wishes!


Please review the eligibility criteria for participation in Summer Seminars and Institutes at:

NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes allow K-12 teachers an opportunity to enrich and revitalize their teaching through the study of humanities topics that bear upon K-12 education. Participants will receive a certificate upon completion of the program, but the programs are not intended to duplicate graduate- level courses.

Each seminar provides an intimate and focused environment in which sixteen participants (NEH Summer Scholars) 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.

Each institute allows twenty-five to thirty-six participants (NEH Summer Scholars) 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 and teaching of the topic.

In any given year, an individual may apply to two Seminars or Institutes, but may attend only one.

Selection Criteria

A selection committee is comprised of the project director and two or more colleagues, at least one of whom is a K-12 teacher. They evaluate all complete applications to select a group of NEH Summer Scholars and identify alternates.

Application essays should explain how the specific program will benefit the participant professionally. They should, therefore, address the following:

1. your effectiveness and commitment as a teacher/educator;
2. your intellectual interests as they relate to the topic of the seminar or institute;
3. your special perspectives, skills, or experiences that would contribute to the program; and
4. evidence that participation will have a long-term impact on your teaching.

Three seminar spaces and five institute spaces may be reserved for teachers who are new to the profession (those who have been teaching for five years or less). First consideration is given to those who have not previously attended an NEH Seminar or Institute. When choices must be made between equally qualified candidates, preference is given to those who would enhance the diversity of the program.

Our goal, as directors, is to create and support a community of highly-motivated educators who are interested in understanding the Chihuahuan Desert, its people, and its culture. For two weeks, during the duration of the Summer Institute, we will be immersed in historical and literary narratives about the borderlands.

Some topics may be of a sensitive nature and we urge all participants to be open-minded, conscientious, and willing to engage their colleagues and our invited scholars.

Stipend, Tenure and Conditions of Award

Each participant will receive a stipend according to the duration of the Seminar or Institute, whether one ($1,200) two ($2,100), three ($2,700), or four ($3,300) weeks. The stipend is intended to help cover travel, housing, meals, and basic academic expenses. Stipends are taxable.

Seminar and institute participants must attend all meetings and engage fully as professionals in the work of the project. During the project, participants may not undertake teaching assignments or professional activities unrelated to their participation in the project. Those who, for any reason, do not complete the full tenure of the project will receive a reduced stipend.

At the end of the project's residential period, NEH Summer Scholars are expected to submit online evaluations of the seminar or institute.

Application Instructions

Prior to applying to a specific seminar or institute, please study the project website and carefully consider the project’s requirements.

If you are interested in applying to our Summer Institute, applications will only be accepted electronically, so please make sure you follow these FIVE STEPS:

1. The Application Cover Sheet

a. Compete the cover sheet online at:

b. Follow the prompts.

c. Before you click the “submit” button, print the cover sheet and add it to your application package. Then click “submit.” 

d. You will be asked if you want to fill out a cover sheet for a second project. If you do, repeat the process.

e. Do not use the same cover sheet for different projects.

2. A Professional Résumé

Please include a résumé or curriculum vitae (not to exceed five pages). 

3. The Application Essay

The application essay should be no more than four double-spaced pages. It should address your interest in the subject to be studied; qualifications and experiences that equip you to do the work of the seminar or institute and to make a contribution to the learning community; a statement of what you want to accomplish by participating; and, if appropriate, description of an independent project and its relation to your professional responsibilities.  To that end, your personal essay should communicate your commitment as a teacher/educator to understanding the larger issues related to the following items (a–f):

a. study of identity and binationalism;
b. your intellectual interest in the subject matter (history and narratives);
c. any unique skills or experiences that may add insight to the Institute;
d. a commitment to participate fully in the life of the project;
e. your ability to work with others in a group-like setting; and
f. the likelihood that the experience will enhance your teaching.

4. Two Letters of Recommendation as References

The two references should be chosen carefully. They should be familiar with the applicant's professional accomplishments or promise, interests, and ability to contribute to and benefit from participation in the institute. This includes the applicant’s physical stamina and ability to work with others.

Referees should address these issues in their references. References from colleagues who know the applicant's teaching and from those outside the applicant's institution who know his or her scholarship can be particularly useful. Referees should be provided with the director's description of the NEH Summer Institute and the applicant's essay.

If an applicant has previously participated in an NEH summer seminar or institute, a recommendation from the director or lead scholar of that program would be useful. Please provide each of your referees with the URL of the Institute website.

References must include the names, addresses, email addresses, and telephone numbers of the referee. References should be signed by the referee and on letterhead.

5. Electronic Submission Only

Each applicant must submit a complete e-application (cover sheet, resume, essay, and two letters of recommendation as references) as ONE readable e-file (PDF) for uploading and submission BEFORE March 1, 2019. Participants will be notified by March 29, 2019 of their selection.

*If you are unable to attach the letters of recommendation, you may ask the letter writers to send the e-letter of recommendation (as e-mail text or a PDF) with your full name included to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

*If you need to merge documents, there are several free, online options: or 

Please do not send full applications to the email address, since we are using a secure application portal system for your confidential information.

Submission Deadline and Notification Procedure

Applications must be submitted to the project directors, not the NEH, and must be e-postmarked no later than March 1, 2019, 11:59 PM (Mountain Time). Applications sent to the NEH will not be reviewed.

Send your e-application as ONE COMPLETE PDF via the online submission portal to: Drs. Ignacio Martínez and R. Joseph Rodríguez, Project Directors 

Successful applicants will be notified of their selection on Friday, March 29, 2019. They will have until Friday, April 5, 2019 to accept or decline the offer.

Note: Once you have accepted an offer to attend any NEH Summer Program (NEH Summer Seminar or Institute), you may not accept an additional offer or withdraw in order to accept a different offer.



Equal Opportunity Statement

Endowment programs do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or age. For further information, write to:

Equal Opportunity Officer, National Endowment for the Humanities
400 7th Street, SW
Washington, D.C., 20024

TDD: 202/606-8282 (this is a special telephone device for the Deaf).