National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

MissionBecause democracy demands wisdom, the National Endowment for the Humanities serves and strengthens our Republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans. The Endowment accomplishes this mission by providing grants for high-quality humanities projects in four funding areas: preserving and providing access to cultural resources, education, research, and public programs.”(source NEH Website)

Scope: What do they mean by “the humanities”?

“The term ‘humanities’ includes, but is not limited to, the study of the following: language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism and theory of the arts; those aspects of social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life.” (Source: NEH Website)

NEH Grant Opportunities for Individual Faculty

This page lists a variety of recurrent NEH grant opportunities that are likely to be of interest to individual Bates College faculty members. It does not include all NEH grant opportunities, nor is it intended as a substitute for official NEH grant guidelines. To review the full list and official guidelines, please visit

NEH Fellowships

The major means of funding humanities research is the fellowship program. Fellowships support continuous full-time work on a research project for periods ranging from six to twelve months, providing a stipend of $4,200/month. It is thus ideal for faculty planning major research projects in connection with an upcoming leave or sabbatical. The NEH Fellowships program usually opens for applications in late February, with a deadline on or around May 1, for projects that can begin as early as the following January (or as late as the September two years hence). Thus, for example, a faculty member anticipating taking a full-year sabbatical in the 2014-2015 academic year, should plan to submit their NEH Fellowship application in Spring 2013, whereas a faculty member planning for the 2015-2016 academic year has the option of submitting their application in either 2013 or 2014. For more information on the Fellowships program, please visit

There is a separate program of Fellowships for Advanced Social Science Research on Japan, but the timeline, terms and conditions are nearly identical to the general Fellowships program. For more information on this program, please visit

NEH Summer Stipends

NEH provides stipends of $6,000 to support two months of continuous, full-time work on meritorious research projects. While the dollar amount is small, Summer Stipend applications can serve as valuable preparation for future Fellowship applications, and Summer Stipend winners are often invited to serve on future NEH panels, an experience which gives an inside view of the peer review process. We therefore encourage application for Summer Stipends.

No more than two applications may be submitted by faculty at any one institution. Proposals from scholars affiliated with an institution must therefore include a nomination from their institution. Bates College faculty will be expected to prepare internal applications to compete for nomination before preparing and submitting their applications to NEH. The internal application process will be announced in May of each year, and the NEH deadline is usually in late September. For more information on the Summer Stipends program, please visit

Digital Humanities

The Office of Digital Humanities (ODH) represents a major area of NEH investment, seeking to improve both the infrastructure for digitally-enhanced humanities research and teaching, and the quality and scope of the research projects themselves. There are not presently any open requests for proposals from ODH, but we do recommend that faculty interested in the digital humanities review the resources available on the ODH website and contact the staff of ODH with any further questions.

Scholarly Editions and Translations

“Scholarly Editions and Translations grants support the preparation of editions and translations of pre-existing texts and documents that are currently inaccessible or available in inadequate editions. These grants support full-time or part-time activities for periods of a minimum of one year up to a maximum of three years.

“Projects must be undertaken by a team of at least one editor or translator and one other staff member. Grants typically support editions and translations of significant literary, philosophical, and historical materials, but other types of work, such as musical notation, are also eligible.”

This program typically opens to proposals in September, with a deadline early December, for projects that may begin as early as the following October. The possibility of part-time support means that such projects need not be coordinated with a planned leave or sabbatical, though such coordination may be desirable. For more information on the program, please visit

Collaborative Research Grants

Collaborative Research Grants are meant to enable joint projects by two or more scholars. The timetable, terms and conditions are very similar to those of the Scholarly Editions and Translations grants. For more information on this program, please visit

Curriculum Development: “Enduring Questions”

The NEH Enduring Questions grant program supports the development of a new course for undergraduate students that “will foster intellectual community through the study of an enduring question.” NEH goes on to explain that “Enduring questions are questions to which no discipline, field, or profession can lay an exclusive claim. In many cases they predate the formation of the academic disciplines themselves. Enduring questions can be tackled by reflective individuals regardless of their chosen vocations, areas of expertise, or personal backgrounds. They are questions that have more than one plausible or compelling answer. They have long held interest for young people, and they allow for a special, intense dialogue across generations. The Enduring Questions grant program will help promote such dialogue in today’s undergraduate environment.”

Enduring Questions grants do not support team-taught courses, though they can support courses developed by anywhere from one to four faculty members. The requirement is that each participating faculty member teach the course at least twice during the grant period. Enduring Questions grants have been capped at $25,000, to be used for faculty summer salaries and costs directly associated with the provision of the new course. Enduring Questions usually opens to applications in July, with proposals due in mid-September. For more information on the program, please visit

Summer Seminars and Institutes

Each year, NEH supports the development of a variety of Summer Seminars and Institutes for College and University Teachers. These Seminars and Institutes are hosted by a variety of academic institutions, museums, libraries, historical societies and other research organizations, at a host of national and international locations, and provide venues for rigorous individual and collaborative research in all humanities disciplines. Selected participants are provided with a fixed stipend, depending on the duration of the seminar or institute, to cover the costs of attendance. The list of the following summer’s seminars and institutes is usually announced in November, with applications usually due by March 1st. For lists of seminars and institutes, please visit

NEH selects Seminar and Institute sites through an open, competitive, peer-reviewed application process. In addition to seminars and institutes for College and University Teachers, NEH also seeks applications to host Seminars and Institutes for K-12 Teachers. For more information on the differences between Seminars and Institutes, and on the requirements for such applications, please visit Applications are usually due on or around March 1st, for the following year’s Summer Seminars and Institutes. Such applications require significant advance planning, so if you have an idea for a Seminar or Institute, please contact the Office for External Grants as soon as possible.

Landmarks of American History: Workshops for K-12 Teachers

Similar to the Summer Seminars and Institutes for K-12 Teachers, the Landmarks of American History program provides an opportunity for colleges and other humanities research organizations to host summer workshops. These must be focused on a particular historic landmark convenient to the hosting organization. The timeline, terms and conditions are otherwise very similar to the Summer Seminars and Institutes. For more information on this program, please visit If you have an idea for a historic landmark that could serve as the focus for a workshop hosted by Bates College, please contact the Office for External Grants so we can assist you with the advance planning.

NEH Proposal Preparation, Submission and Peer Review

The content and formatting requirements for NEH programs vary significantly from program to program. Reading the program guidelines and following them to the letter is therefore a must. As a general rule, page margins must be no less than 1” on all sides, and the font may not be any smaller than 12 point. Some programs require double-spacing, while others allow single-spacing, so always check the guidelines. Maximum page lengths are often challengingly short. NEH, unlike some other Federal agencies, does not specify which typefaces may or may not be used. (Hint: If you are having trouble meeting the page limits, try Garamond.)

All NEH proposals must be submitted via the electronic application system. However, some NEH programs (Fellowships and Summer Stipends) require that you submit your application individually, while most of the rest require that Bates College (i.e., the Office for External Grants) submit it on your behalf.

In either case, we ask that you notify the Office for External Grant ( early as possible of your intent to apply, so that we can provide all necessary support in assembling and submitting your application package.