College Summer Institute in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

College Summer Institute

The College Summer Institute in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences provides selected undergraduates the opportunity to undertake intensive intellectual training and research with accomplished scholars and peers at the University of Chicago. Summer Institute Scholars will collaborate closely with a small cohort of faculty across humanistic disciplines in an environment that encourages creative academic inquiry, rigorous discourse, and helps them to develop the research tools necessary for further engagement with their own disciplines. The Summer Institute will allow students to develop original research projects centered on the interdisciplinary theme of the Institute and collaborate with one another and their faculty mentors.

The Summer Institute is aimed at rising 4th-year College students. While the primary audience are majors and minors in the arts, humanities and the humanistic social sciences (e.g., History, Anthropology, Political Science, etc.), it is open to all students interested in pursuing original humanistic inquiry with a demonstrated ability to fulfill the objectives of the program. Building on the critical reading and writing skills that students have acquired in their coursework, the Summer Institute will introduce participants to conducting archival research, acquiring the essential philological tools, engaging with material artefacts, learning to assess and apply different theoretical and methodological approaches, and using bibliographical and textual databases and other digital tools, to name only a few practices and techniques of humanistic inquiry. The Summer Institute will help prepare students conduct original research toward their BA theses, generating new projects and honing existing ones. 

Three faculty and fifteen students will come together at the Neubauer Collegium in plenary and seminar-style sessions to discuss issues around the theme of the Institute, and work in smaller break-out sessions under the guidance of one faculty director. The Summer Institute will conclude at the end of the summer with a celebratory symposium, providing students with the opportunity to present their research to the University community. 

Deadline Information

Deadline: Monday, February 3, 2020

Eligibility Requirements


  • Must be a full-time, rising 4th-year College student in good standing; 
  • Must demonstrate the ability to engage fully with the learning objectives of the College Summer Institute; 
  • Ability to articulate the value of undertaking research and scholarly work with a small community of faculty and peers; 
  • Can provide evidence of previous preparation for a rigorous research experience (strong writing skills, previous experience with methodological tools a plus); 
  • No minimum GPA but evidence of academic success is imperative; 
  • Ideally suited to students in the arts, humanities, and humanistic social sciences (eg History, Anthropology, Political Science), but is open to all students interested in pursuing original humanistic inquiry. 

Application Process

Application Process (2-step process): A complete College Summer Institute Application includes basic candidate data, two faculty reference forms, a 500-word statement of purpose, an updated curriculum vitae, and a current, unofficial transcript (please do not submit screen shots). A complete application, including your faculty reference forms, must be submitted by February 5, 2018.

Step One: 

  • Complete and submit Step One of the online application available here
  • Required for Step One: 
    • Basic information about you (major, contact information, year of study, etc.); and, 
    • Names and contact information for your two faculty references. Once you enter their information and hit 'submit step one', an automated email will be sent to them providing details on how to complete an online reference form on your behalf. Do not submit Step One of the application until you have confirmed with your faculty that they are willing to provide a reference for you.
    • Further guidance regarding faculty references:
      • Faculty references can be from UChicago faculty (including lecturers, faculty fellows, assistant, associate, or tenured) or from faculty at other universities but should not be academic or career advisors, post-docs, or graduate students. Faculty will not be required to submit formal letters but will instead receive an email invitation to complete on online reference form. You should provide your reference writers with your updated curriculum vitae (CV) and a draft of statement of purpose so they are aware of the program to which you are applying. Your reference forms are due on the same deadline as your own application. Late reference forms will not be accepted.
  • Once you have submitted Step One, you will receive a confirmation with a link to complete Step Two. You cannot proceed to Step Two without first submitting Step One. 

Step Two: 

  • Only after you have completed Step One, will you be able to proceed to Step Two.
  • Required for Step Two:
    • You will upload your statement of purpose in response to the following prompt: Based on your close reading of the College Summer Institute description, please provide a statement of purpose that addresses the following questions (500 words maximum):
      • 1) Why are you interested in participating in the Summer Institute? What do you hope to gain? What will you contribute to the scholarly community?
      • 2) Based on the theme of the Summer Institute, what types of questions and lines of inquiry might you consider pursuing?
      • 3) How will your summer research experience with the College Summer Institute contribute to your broader undergraduate education and potential post-UChicago experiences (e.g., BA thesis efforts, developing research methodologies, learning new approaches to research questions, and as preparation for professional experiences and further academic and creative pursuits such as long-form journalism, narrative non-fiction, museum curation, graduate school, television and screenwriting, grant writing, book editing and publishing)?
  • Upload your current curriculum vitae (2-pages); please include everything of relevance since beginning your undergraduate career; and, 
  • Upload an unofficial copy of your current transcript (please submit a digital file/pdf, not a screen shot).