Pre-Doctoral Career Diversity Summer Workshops Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

Current Fellows

Future Applicants

General Information


What is the Humanities Without Walls Predoctoral Summer Workshop?

The Humanities Without Walls (HWW) Predoctoral Summer Workshop is an intensive three-week interactive experience for PhD students in the humanities. It is designed to help participants explore diverse future careers, particularly those outside of academia and/or the traditional tenure-track university system. Through a series of workshops, talks, and field trips, participants learn how to leverage their skills and training towards careers in the public humanities, the private sector, the non-profit world, arts administration, public media and many other fields.

Back to top

Is the workshop like a graduate seminar?

The workshop has been intentionally designed to be as unlike a graduate seminar as possible. There are no grades, no required reading, and no written assignments, though some presenters may ask participants to fill out a short worksheet or survey. The only required homework assignment is for each fellow to schedule an informational interview. All of this information will be provided in more detail for those accepted to the workshop.

Back to top

How is the workshop structured?

While the overall structure of the workshop stays the same from summer to summer, specific programming differs from year to year due to a variety of factors. These factors include the intellectual, academic, and professional interests of the incoming cohort. Some sessions that take place every year include panels on working at foundations, nonprofits, and making a career out of freelance or project-based work. Typically there are workshops on how to write a resume and cover letter, develop a social media presence, or expand a professional network. Field trips include visits to some of Chicago’s most iconic cultural institutions, including the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Theaster Gate’s Stony Island Arts Bank, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Please take a look at the 2017 syllabus and presenter bios to get a better sense of the workshop structure and content.

Back to top

Will I have time to work on my dissertation, journal articles, or other non-HWW related projects?

The workshop is intensive, running from 9:00am to 5:00pm every weekday (and longer on some days), and so participants will likely be too tired to do other work. Consequently past Fellows advise incoming participants not to plan to work on dissertations or papers. Participants are encouraged to block the full three weeks for the workshop. Arranging travel to conferences or to see family is strongly discouraged if it will involve missing any sessions. Fellows will, however, have time in the evenings and weekends to decompress, spend time with other fellows, and see Chicago.

Back to top

Can I bring my partner/family/children with me to Chicago? Is childcare provided?

You are welcome to bring whomever you want with you to Chicago. However childcare is not provided, and the workshop sessions are not open to non-Fellows. Allowing partners to attend social events that are part of workshop is at the discretion of HWW staff members, and partners are responsible for purchasing their own food, drinks, etc.

Back to top

Are meals provided? If so, can you accommodate dietary restrictions?

On several occasions throughout the workshop, lunches, dinners, and appetizer receptions are provided. A vegetarian option will be provided at each of these. Other food needs (e.g., vegan, Kosher, halal, gluten intolerance, etc.) cannot be accommodated. If you have allergies or other dietary restrictions, you are responsible for making sure you have what you need.

Back to top

What universities belong to the Humanities Without Walls Consortium?

Indiana University Bloomington, Michigan State University, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Penn State University, Purdue University; and the Universities of Chicago, Illinois at Chicago, Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Iowa, Michigan, Notre Dame, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin-Madison.

Back to top

How does Humanities Without Walls define the “humanities”?

Humanities Without Walls uses the definition of the humanities taken from the 1965 National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act:

“The term ‘humanities’ includes, but is not limited to, the study of the following: language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism and theory of the arts; those aspects of social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life.”

Back to top

Current Fellows


How should I list the fellowship on my curriculum vitae?

Please list this fellowship on your curriculum vitae as:

Fellow, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/Humanities Without Walls Pre-Doctoral Career Diversity Summer Workshop

Back to top

Where will I stay during the workshop?

HWW pre-doc fellows will stay at the DeWitt Hotel and Suites. The accommodations at the DeWitt are all fully furnished, private apartments with queen-size beds, sleeper sofas, eat-in kitchens, and wireless, high-speed internet access. More information on the lodgings may be found at the DeWitt website.

Back to top

How will I receive my stipend?

The University of Illinois will issue stipend checks directly to each of the PreDoctoral Fellows via U.S. mail. Stipend payments will be issued in late April or early May.

Back to top

Future Applicants


If my university is not part of the HWW consortium, can I still apply for the workshop?

Doctoral students at non-consortial schools may apply in spring 2018 for the 2019 summer workshop, a limited submission competition that draws upon a national applicant pool. Please check the eligibility section of the call for applications to learn more about the eligibility for the upcoming workshop.

Back to top

Can social scientists apply to the workshop?

Doctoral students in social sciences who use humanistic methods or who focus on humanistic subjects of research may apply for the summer workshops.

Back to top

Can international students apply to the workshop?

International doctoral students currently enrolled at educational institutions in the United States (who will also be enrolled at the time of workshop) can apply for the summer workshop.

Back to top

Do both letters of recommendation need to be from faculty members at my home university?

No. One of your letters of recommendations should be from your primary adviser or dissertation chair, but the second letter can either be from another faculty member from your home university or from an outside mentor who can speak to your present non-academic engagements. All such outside recommenders should explain who they are and their relationship to the applicant and provide contact information.

Back to top

Can I send additional updates to my CV or other application materials after my application has been submitted?

No. Application materials may only be submitted once. Please ensure that you submit the most up-to-date and accurate information.

Back to top

When will I hear if I have been awarded the fellowship?

Fellowship awards will be announced by February 2018 at the latest.

Back to top