Applications Open: Nov 1, 2017
Application Deadline: March 1, 2018
Notification: March 28, 2018

Note: Applications are now closed.

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.

Eligibility & Selection

Please review the complete eligibility criteria for participation in NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes HERE.

As an NEH Summer Institute, A Reverence for Words: Understanding Muslim Cultures through the Arts is designed principally for full-time and part-time classroom teachers and librarians in public, charter, independent, and religiously affiliated schools, as well as home schooling parents. While open to all classroom teachers, we most recommend this institute for educators at the middle and high school level, and primarily for teachers of world history and global studies, English language arts, humanities, creative writing, social studies, religion, visual arts, and music. Other school personnel, including administrators, substitute teachers, and classroom professionals, are also eligible to participate.

Our institute allows 30 participants, or Summer Scholars. Please note that 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. In any given year, an individual may apply to two Seminars or Institutes, but may attend only one.

Applications are open to teachers at schools anywhere in the United States or its territories or Americans teaching in foreign schools where at least 50% of the students are American nationals.

For the complete eligibility criteria, please click HERE.


Teachers selected to participate as NEH Summer Scholars in A Reverence for Words will receive a stipend of $2,100. Stipends are intended to help cover travel expenses, accommodations, meals, and basic academic and daily living expenses. Please be advised that your stipend may not be enough to cover all of the costs associated with this institute. Summer airfares are high, and New York is an expensive city. We expect participants to spend $500 – $1,500 above the stipend, even more for lavish spenders. A portion of the stipend may be used for a deposit on accommodations. Payment will be by two checks, one at the beginning of the institute and one at the end. Stipends are taxable.

Expectations & Final Projects

Summer Scholars 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. The opportunity provided by this NEH Summer Institute is academic and professional, not recreational or touristic. Those who, for any reason, do not complete the full tenure of the project will receive a reduced stipend.

At the conclusion of the Institute, each Summer Scholar will submit a final project: a lesson or series of lessons based on the content of the Institute. Project Directors will hold office hours and at least two formal conferences with each Scholar to discuss their final projects. Summer Scholars will be given time during the Institute to work on and complete their final projects.

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


Educators are often interested in earning in-service credit through participation in summer programs. Unfortunately, we are not able to offer credit for participation. Summer Scholars will receive a certificate of completion from the NEH.


A selection committee is comprised of the two project directors 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.

Personal essays should explain how the specific program will benefit the participant professionally. They should, therefore, should demonstrate 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.

Please see below for further details on the personal essay.

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 the Equal Opportunity Officer, National Endowment for the Humanities, 400 7th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20024. TDD: 202.606.8282 (this is a special telephone device for persons who are deaf).

Application Guidelines & Submission

Applications for this institute are accepted online or by postal mail.

For online applications, please visit our Submittable page HERE. 

For applications by postal mail, please include 4 COPIES of the following documents:

  • Mail-in application form (see below)
  • A completed NEH cover sheet (see below)
  • A professional résumé & 3 references (see below)
  • A personal essay (see below)
  • Preliminary project ideas (see below)

Please send 4 COPIES of your completed print application (postmarked by March 1, 2018 to City Lore (Do NOT send your application to the NEH):

City Lore
ATTN: NEH Institute
56 East 1st Street
New York, NY 10003

Mail-in Application Form: Complete this Google Form HERE. But BEFORE you hit “submit,” save and print the form.

NEH Cover Sheet: Please include a completed NEH participant sheet. Complete the cover sheet online HERE. Follow the prompts. Before you click “submit,” print and save the cover sheet and add it to you application packet. Then click “submit”. You will be asked if you want to fill out a cover sheet for a second project. If you do, repeat the process. Do not use the same cover sheet for different projects.

Professional Résumé & References: Please include a professional résumé or curriculum vitae (not to exceed five pages). Include the name, title, phone number, and e-mail address of three references, at least two of whom should be professional references.

Personal Essay: Please include a personal essay, which is the most important part of your application. Your essay should address: 1) your reasons for applying; 2) your relevant personal and academic information; 3) your qualifications to do the work of the project and make a contribution to it; 4) what you hope to accomplish; and 5) and how it relates to the subjects you teach and/or your other capacities as an educator. (Up to 3 pages double-spaced max)

Preliminary Project Ideas: Please include your preliminary project ideas. Describe some possible project ideas for a lesson plan or series of lessons for your final project. Projects will be due at the conclusion of the institute, so they will need to be manageable within this time frame. Your project idea may change over the course of the institute, but we would like to hear your preliminary ideas so we can think about what resources you may need. (1 page double-spaced max)

If you have any questions about the application process, please email:

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.