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Application Information

How do I apply?

The first step is to create an account at theihs.org or log in to your existing account. Once you are logged in to your account, you can find a link to the Scholarship & a Free Society application by clicking on the tab “Applications.” The application asks for your contact and education information and a few short essay questions. You may save your application at any time and return to it later.

When will I be notified about the status of my application?

All applicants will be notified of the status of their application no later than the end of April.

Can I begin my application, and come back later to complete it?

Yes, you can save your application by clicking 'Save for Later' at the bottom of the application page. When you return to the website, login to your account, go to the Applications tab, and click on the application marked 'In Progress'.

Can non-US citizens apply?

The program is open to graduate students and post docs of all nationalities. Applicants are not required to be U.S. citizens, nor are they required to have studied in the U.S.

Please note, however, that IHS cannot assist international students with their visa applications. Applicants will need to contact the appropriate U.S. embassy to complete that process. However, IHS can provide an accepted student with a signed letter of acceptance, which could help with the visa application process. If you would like to receive an acceptance letter, please notify us IMMEDIATELY after you have been accepted to our program. The earlier you begin the visa application process, the better.

How are applications reviewed?

In reviewing applications, IHS’s Seminar Review Committee carefully evaluates academic ability, career interests, demonstrated interest in the seminar topics, and any specific requirements. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide information about the Committee's evaluation of individual applications. 

What other materials can I send to increase my chance of acceptance to a seminar?

IHS does not accept additional materials for review with the seminar application.

How strict is the word count for the essay?

Each essay should be around 300 words; if you are a little under or a little over it will be accepted, but please try and keep as close to the word limit as possible.

Participation Information

Is participation at Scholarship & a Free Society really free?

The seminar is provided at no charge to the participants. We provide lodging, food, books, materials, and lectures; we ask only for your time and thoughtful participation in exchange. However, participants must cover the cost of their own travel to and from the seminar location. and a meal is not provided on the Tuesday evening of the seminar to give students a half-day of free time.

Though the seminars are free of charge for students, the $1,000 tuition, room and board is made possible through the generous contributions of individual donors, corporations, and foundations. IHS is a non-profit educational organization.

What if I have a summer job or teaching commitment?

You could apply anyway, and then ask for the time off after you have been accepted to a seminar. If needed, IHS can assist you by sending your employer a letter describing the seminar experience and requesting that you be able to attend. However, if you are not able to get the time off and will therefore no longer be able to attend the seminar, please notify IHS immediately so your seat can be offered to someone else.

I was accepted to another IHS seminar, can I attend both seminars?


Travel Information

Can IHS help me pay for travel expenses?

Unfortunately, IHS cannot provide any travel assistance or insurance coverage to Summer Seminar participants. This includes international participants. Participants are responsible for all expenses incurred while traveling to and from the seminar.

We recommend that you research low-cost travel options well in advance. Also, once you are accepted to a seminar, you can join a seminar Facebook group and contact other seminar participants and possibly share information about travel ideas, carpools, and other ways to save on travel.

How do I get to the seminar?

A few weeks prior to your seminar, you will receive a travel guide via email, including maps and links regarding travel to the seminar. Please be sure to keep your contact information up to date so you will receive our communications. If you do not receive it or need another copy, contact us or check the seminar Facebook group.

General Seminar Information

What happens at an IHS seminar?

IHS seminars are packed with interesting lectures, lively discussion, and opportunities to socialize. You will hear from distinguished faculty and have a chance to further discuss your lingering questions during meals, breaks, and evening discussion sessions. Most importantly, you will be encouraged to think for yourself as we explore questions of freedom and social order.

It will begin on a Saturday afternoon and end with breakfast the following Friday. There are a couple hours of free time every afternoon, and no sessions are scheduled on Tuesday after lunch. Many students use the Tuesday afternoon to relax or see nearby attractions. Dinner is not provided on Tuesday night.

Where is the seminar held?

Scholarship $ a Free Society will be held at Bryn Mawr college outside Philadelphia, PA. The campus provides comfortable dorm housing accommodations, excellent lecture and discussion facilities, convenient travel options, and interesting local attractions.

Who are the seminar faculty?

IHS assembles top-notch faculty from colleges and universities around the United States, and occasionally from other countries. We choose our faculty for their enthusiasm, excellence in teaching, expertise, and diverse academic backgrounds. Take a look at the seminar faculty from last year.

Who attends Scholarship & a Free Society?

Graduate students in beginning and culminating phases of study attend the seminar. Early-stage graduate students receive ideas, guidance, and inspiration for dissertation topics; late-stage students and post-docs have the opportunity to present papers, build a professional network, and strategize about next steps toward careers in academia.

Why does IHS offer seminars? Who pays for them?

The Institute for Humane Studies sponsors the attendance of students at its summer seminars to encourage the discussion and understanding of the principles of a free society. IHS is an independent, non-profit, educational organization. It was founded in 1961 by Dr. F. A. Harper to foster research and education about freedom. The Institute offers a variety of programs of financial assistance, education, and career development to students who are interested in the study of liberty. These programs are funded through contributions to IHS from individuals, corporations, and foundations.

How do I apply to present a paper?

The seminar application allows you to upload a CV, and to enter a paper title and abstract. Please do both if you are interested in presenting at the seminar.

If you have a question not addressed on this page, please contact us.


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