Applying to the Seminar

Although I would love to accommodate everyone with an interest in Dickens, there is only enough space in the seminar for 16 participants. To increase your chances of being selected, you’ll want to follow very carefully the application procedures and submit a very thoughtful—and carefully edited—set of documents.


A complete application consists of


  1. the completed application cover sheet (submitted online at the NEH website)

  2. a résumé or brief biography with contact information for two professional references, and

  3. an application essay as outlined below. 


You may submit your completed application electronically, via the Document Submission Portal on this website OR as an email attachment. Follow the steps below. 


All application materials must be submitted no later than 1 March 2016.



Step 1. Submit Your Application Cover Sheet

Complete the online Application Cover Sheet on the NEH site. (Note: You MUST submit the Cover Sheet on the NEH site. This Cover Sheet is NOT the same as the Document Submission Portal, described below. If you do not complete the Application Cover Sheet on the NEH website, your application will not be considered).


When you have completed the form on the NEH website, print and scan the completed Cover Sheet OR save the completed Cover Sheet to PDF (On your web browser, click on the "Print..." option and select "PDF" on the "Print to..." options list). If you cannot print and scan or save your cover sheet to PDF, don't worry: I can access it directly from the NEH website.



Step 2. Write Your Application Essay

The most important part of the application is the essay of no more than four double spaced pages. This essay should include your reasons for applying to the specific project; your relevant personal and academic information; your qualifications to do the work of the project and make a contribution to it; what you hope to accomplish; and the relation of the study to your teaching. in drafting the essay, think about

  • your reasons for applying to this particular seminar,

  • your relevant personal and academic information,

  • your qualifications to do the work of the project and make a contribution to it,

  • your objectives for the seminar,

  • your prior experience with Dickens,

  • and the relation of the seminar to your teaching.

Remember that the essay is your opportunity to convey not only your interest in the seminar but also your particular qualifications. It will tell the selection committee what you are prepared to contribute to the seminar and what you hope to take away from the experience. 



Step 3. Submit Your Essay and Resume Via the Document Submission Portal

Be sure you have completed your resume and application essay. You should save these documents as separate files that include your last name ("lastname resume" and "lastname essay" are ideal file names). Save your documents as .pdf, .rtf, .doc, or .docx


When your documents are ready, complete the contact information on the Document Submission Portal. At the bottom of the page, be sure to attach all three documents (Cover Sheet, Essay, and Resume) before you submit the form. Applications that are missing any of the required documents won't be considered.


Should you experience any difficulties with the short Document Submission form email me at If, for any reason, you wish to submit your materials as a hard copy rather than electronically, please email to request instructions and a mailing address. Be sure to submit your application materials before the deadline (1 March 2016)



Step 4. Arrange for References

Your resume should include the names and contact information (including a current email address) of two professional references (a supervisor or colleague). If you have have recently participated in an NEH Summer Seminar, Institute, or Workshop, the director of that program should be listed as a reference. 


You should tell your references that they may be contacted and invited to complete an online Reference Survey. This Reference Survey should be submitted as soon as possible after they receive the link. Alternatively, your reference--if contacted by the selection committee--may choose to submit a formal letter of recommendation (via email to or snail mail (to the Dickens Project):

Dickens Project

UC Santa Cruz

1156 High St.

Santa Cruz CA 95064

Attn: NEH Seminar


Step 5. Wait for Notification

Successful applicants will be notified of their selection on Thursday, 31 March 2016, and they will have until Thursday, 7 April 2016 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. Those not selected for the seminar will be notified via email.