Public Scholar Program (NEH)

Deadline Date: 02/07/2018

Agency: National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

The Public Scholar Program supports well-researched books in the humanities intended to reach a broad readership. Although humanities scholarship can be specialized, the humanities also strive to engage broad audiences in exploring subjects of general interest. They seek to deepen our understanding of the human condition as well as current conditions and contemporary problems. The Public Scholar Program aims to encourage scholarship that will be of broad interest and have lasting impact. 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. They must address significant humanities themes likely to be of broad interest and must be written in a readily accessible style. Making use of primary and/or secondary sources, they should open up important and appealing subjects for a wide audience. The challenge is to make sense of a significant topic in a way that will appeal to general readers. Applications to write books directed primarily to scholars are not appropriate for this program. By establishing the Public Scholar Program, NEH 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 independent scholars or researchers. Projects may be at any stage of development. Program Statistics In its first two competitions the Public Scholar Program received an average of 402 applications per year. The program made an average of 33 awards per year, for a funding ratio of 8 percent. The number of applications to an NEH grant program can vary widely from year to year, as can the funding ratio. Information about the average number of applications and awards in recent competitions is meant only to provide historical context for the current competition. Information on the number of applications and awards in individual competitions is available from

The Public Scholar Program supports continuous work over a period of six to twelve months. Awards may be held part time or full time (or part time for some months and full time for other months). Successful applicants receive a stipend of $4,200 per full-time month. The maximum stipend is $50,400 for a twelve-month period. Awards will be reduced to reflect the smaller time commitment when recipients work part time or for less than twelve months. Recipients must work at least half-time on their projects for the entire period of the grant. No grant may exceed twelve months. Recipients who work full-time on their projects must forgo other major activities, including teaching. Applicants should request award periods that suit their schedulesand the needs of their projects. Requesting an award period shorter than twelve months will not improve an applicants chance of receiving an award.

Recipients may begin their awards as early as September 1, 2017, and no later than September 1, 2018.

Grantees agree that they will allow NEH, in consultation with their publishers, to post excerpts from their books on the NEH website and/or in Humanities magazine.