I hope that you will consider applying for this exciting program in Istanbul, Turkey.

The 2015 Summer Institute in Istanbul is designed for middle and high school teacher participants who are serious about the Institute’s topics of study and this location. It is for teachers who want an intense academic experience and are willing to dedicate the time and energy to this project (as opposed to vacationing in Istanbul with family or friends).  This requires investment in our learning community and commitment to the project mission as we will be living and working together for three weeks.    In addition, this program requires substantial walking in usually hot weather.  Istanbul is hilly, the streets are often cobble-stoned and uneven, and steps and stairs are ubiquitous, while ease of access is definitely not.    Thus, keep in mind both the seriousness of the endeavor and the physical challenge of the on-site experience before applying. Lastly, review the NEH eligibility criteria for participation.

Summer Seminars and Institutes for School Teachers are offered by the National Endowment for the Humanities to provide teachers an opportunity for substantive study of significant humanities ideas and texts. These study opportunities are especially designed for this program and are not intended to duplicate courses normally offered by graduate programs. On completion of an NEH Summer Seminar or Institute, NEH Summer Scholars will receive a certificate indicating their participation.

Prior to completing an application to a specific seminar or Institute, please review the project website and consider carefully what is expected in terms of residence and attendance, reading and writing requirements, and general participation in the work of the project.

A Summer Institute for school teachers, led by a director and a team of core faculty and visiting scholars, is designed to present the best available scholarship on important humanities issues and works taught in the nation’s schools. The 25 NEH Summer Scholars compare and synthesize the various perspectives offered by the faculty, make connections between the Institute content and classroom applications, and often develop improved teaching materials for their classrooms.

Please note: An individual may apply to up to two projects (NEH Summer Seminars, Summer Institutes or Landmarks Workshops), but may participate in only one.


A selection committee will read and evaluate all properly completed applications in order to select the most promising applicants and to identify a number of alternates. The selection committees consists of the Institute director and a faculty member and two teachers.

The most important consideration in the selection of participants is the likelihood that an applicant will benefit professionally and personally. Committee members consider several factors, each of which should be addressed in the application essay. These factors include:

  1. Effectiveness and commitment as a teacher/educator;
  2. Intellectual interests, in general and as they relate to the work of the project;
  3. Special perspectives, skills, or experiences that would contribute to the Institute;
  4. Commitment to participate fully in the formal and informal collegial life of the project; & the
  5. Likelihood that the experience will enhance the applicant’s teaching.

Recent participants are eligible to apply, but project selection committees are charged to give first consideration to applicants who have not participated in an NEH-supported Seminar, Institute or Landmarks Workshop in the last three years.   When choices must be made among equally qualified candidates, several additional factors are considered. Preference is given to applicants who have not previously participated in an NEH Summer Seminar, Institute, or Landmarks Workshop, or who significantly contribute to the diversity of the seminar or Institute.


Teachers selected to participate as NEH Summer Scholars in three-week projects will receive $2,700. Stipends are intended to help cover travel expenses to and from the project location, books and other research expenses, and ordinary living expenses. Stipends are taxable. Applicants to all projects, especially those held abroad, should note that supplements will not be given in cases where the stipend is insufficient to cover all expenses. [Note: For the Institute in Istanbul, the full $2,700 stipend will not be issued to NEH Summer Scholars, as one half will be withheld to cover the pre-arranged lodging in Istanbul.  Of the remainder, half will be issued after selection and the other half upon successful completion of the Institute].

Institute participants are required to attend all meetings and to engage fully as professionals in the work of the project. During the project’s tenure, they may not undertake teaching assignments or any other professional activities unrelated to their participation in the project. Participants who, for any reason, do not complete the full tenure of the project must refund a pro-rata portion of the stipend.

At the end of the project’s residential period, NEH Summer Scholars will be asked to submit online evaluations in which they review their work during the summer and assess its value to their personal and professional development. These evaluations will become part of the project’s grant file.


Before you attempt to complete an application, please study the project website, which contains detailed information about the topic under study, project requirements and expectations of the participants, the academic and institutional setting, and specific provisions for lodging and subsistence. All application materials must be sent to the project director at the address listed on the project website. Application materials sent to the Endowment will not be reviewed.


A complete application consists of three copies of the following collated items:

  • the completed application cover sheet,
  • a résumé or brief biography with contact information for two professional references, and
  • an application essay as outlined below.

In addition, the application requires:

  • Two (2) letters of recommendations (three copies are preferred, but not required).

Application Cover Sheet

The application cover sheet must be filled out online at this address:

Please follow the prompts. Before you click the “submit” button, print out the cover sheet and add it to your application package. Then click “submit.” At this point you will be asked if you want to fill out a cover sheet for another project. If you do, follow the prompts to select the other project and repeat the process.

Note that filling out a cover sheet is not the same as applying, so there is no penalty for changing your mind and filling out a cover sheet for several projects. A full application consists of the items listed above, as sent to the project director.

You must submit a separate cover sheet online for each project to which you are applying in order to generate a unique tracking number for each application. Do not copy and paste a new cover sheet.


Please include a résumé or brief biography detailing your educational qualifications and professional experience.

Application Essay

The application essay should be no more than four double‑spaced pages. It should address reasons for applying; the applicant’s interest, both academic and personal, in the subject to be studied; qualifications and experiences that equip the applicant to do the work of the Institute and to make a contribution to a learning community; a statement of what the applicant wants to accomplish by participating; and the relation of the project to the applicant’s professional responsibilities.

Reference Letters

The two referees should be familiar with the applicant’s professional accomplishments or promise, teaching and/or research interests, and ability to contribute to and benefit from participation in this specific Institute.  References should address the strengths of the applicants and how s/he will enhance the learning community.   Applicants who are current graduate students should secure a letter from a professor or advisor.  Please ask your referees to sign across the seal on the back of the envelope containing the letter.  Enclose the letters with your application.    We are concerned less with a person’s title than with how well they can attest to your suitability for this program.


Completed applications must be submitted to the Institute Director (and not the NEH) and must be postmarked no later than March 2, 2015.   Mail applications to:

Matthew T. Herbst, Assoc. Teaching Professor

Director, MMW & NEH Summer Institute in Istanbul

UC San Diego – E. Roosevelt College

9500 Gilman Dr., MC 0546

La Jolla, CA 92093-0546

Successful applicants will be notified of their selection on Monday, March 30, 2015, and they will have until Friday, April 3 to accept or decline the offer.

Once you have accepted an offer to attend any NEH Summer Program (NEH Summer Seminar, Institute or Landmarks Workshop), 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, sex, disability, or age. For further information, write to NEH Equal Opportunity Officer, 400 7th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20024. TDD: 202/606‑8282 (this is a special telephone device for the Deaf).


27 thoughts on “Apply

  1. Carol Truesdell

    Will it be possible to earn any graduate hours after completion of the Seminar?

  2. Richard Kirstein

    Dr. Herbst- Hello, Rich Kirstein here. I am deeply interested in this Institute, particularly since I have heard that the NEH will no longer support international study opportunities after this year. The fly in the ointment is my participation in an NEH trip within the last three years. As you no doubt appreciate, assembling an application is a significant investment in time and effort, and applying to the Istanbul Institute limits my other application opportunities. Under these circumstances, can you give me any further indication as to whether Is it worthwhile for me to apply? Thanks.

  3. B. Katherine McBrien

    Dr. Herbst – Do you require a paper or project of some kind at the conclusion of the course?

  4. Hello, I accidentally submitted my cover letter with out saving it. is there a way I can have it6 emailed to me? or can I resubmit it?
    Thanks, Vanda

  5. Bob

    Hi, Do you need three copies of the reference letters in sealed envelopes, or just a single one?

    • Reference letters do not need to be in triplicate. IF they are, great; if not, that is ok. Applications, on the other hand, do need to be in triplicate.

  6. Carol Truesdell

    Dr. Herbst-I noticed you will keep half the stipend for housing and the rest at the end of seminar. This is stressful as it could cause teachers a problem with getting their airfare. We will need the funds for airfare? Is that possible. Other seminars are saying they will keep half for housing and give the other half for airfare????????? Airfares are so high now that not having the funds could cause a problem.

  7. Carol Truesdell

    Is it true they will no longer fund International study after this year?

    • The institute will provide lodging, sites, in-country transportation, many meals, but does not cover all costs. I realize that your stipend may only cover a portion of your costs which will include: airfare, required books, your visa, some meals, and incidentals. Yet, most costs will be covered.

  8. This is correct. NEH will put International institutes on hold after 2015. Let’s hope for a more supportive political atmosphere for the humanities and things international down the line. Politics drove this decision, not need.

  9. Carol Truesdell

    I am so sick of Wash and what they do to Fulbright and NEH.

  10. Carol Truesdell

    I am trying to find the project study plans. What am I missing? Thanks

  11. Carol Truesdell

    the project website; This is what I am looking for?

  12. Jeremy

    Dr. Herbst, one of my references says she has an electronic signature and was wondering if she could send it in by email. Is there a way to make that work?

  13. Yes, this will be ok.

  14. Carol Truesdell

    review the project website and consider carefully what is expected in terms of residence and attendance, reading and writing requirements, and general participation in the work of the project.

    Dr. H- I am looking for this? Where will I find?

  15. Erin M. Kochanek

    Prof Herbst,

    I am a high school history teacher in Massachusetts and I am interested in applying to participate in this program. The application checklist says “Two (2) letters of recommendations (three copies are preferred, but not required).” I actually have three recommendation letters, should I ask two of my references to make a few copies to send along with my application. Please advise.


    Erin M. Kochanek

  16. Erin M. Kochanek

    Thank you kindly!

  17. Phil

    As I am new to NEH opportunities, should I expect additional out-of-pocket costs, or should I expect the stipend to cover the associated expenses? Additionally, how much should I anticipate for the fees for the credits through San Diego, roughly? $500 a credit, or $1500/credit, and how many credits are possible? (I would be an out of state resident, if that matters.) Thank you.

    • The $1350 stipend will not cover all of your expenses. Airfare can run $1400-1600 and the Turkish Visa is $20. In addition, you will need to budget $600 (on the modest side) for the three weeks. The cost of the 1 credit of CEU is much lower than you expect.

  18. Susan b barry

    I have never received a letter of rejection. I believe I was sent a letter of receipt of my application. I figured by this point it wasn’t happening but notice would have been appreciated. Hope this was an oversight. My application was sent early. Good luck with program but I am diappointed to hear nothing especially since i bothered colleagues for recommendations. Please advise what happened.

    • I apologize. All applicants were sent response messages, but there was a glitch in the system which caused a problem.

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