Academics & Courses
The Newberry Seminar: Research in the Humanities challenges you to immerse yourself in a semester-long research project with the support of a community of scholars and the collections of one of the world’s finest research libraries.
Led by distinguished faculty, you and your peers will explore a compelling, interdisciplinary theme in the humanities; develop your abilities as a researcher; and produce a substantial, well-documented research paper equivalent to a senior thesis or graduate-level work.
Work with Archival Materials
The seminar theme and a set of common readings create the context for your research. Early in the fall semester, you’ll discuss the readings, complete workshops and a variety of writing and research assignments, and meet with Newberry librarians and research staff to learn about the library’s resources. These activities refine your skills in working with archival materials, synthesizing a variety of sources, and writing effectively.
You’ll find inspiration for potential research topics as you explore every corner of the Newberry. As you peruse the rich collections of primary sources, you will engage your intellectual curiosity and pursue your individual interests to frame researchable questions, search for and critically assess potential source materials, and formulate a research proposal.
“The Newberry had a strong, positive influence on my professional and academic development. It shaped my primary academic interest in 20th century European and American empires and, more practically, gave me a sound methodological foundation for archival research. I really am grateful for the opportunity and the training the Newberry gave me; to say nothing of how lovely it was to live in downtown Chicago for a semester!”
—Tommy Jamison, Grinnell College, history
Work on Individual Projects
During the second half of the semester, the focus shifts to the individual projects. You’ll meet one-on-one with seminar faculty and intensively work on your research paper. The community you and your classmates build will continue providing mutual support. You’ll meet regularly to share the results of your research and to receive suggestions for revisions.
At the program symposium, you and your peers will present your projects to the Newberry community. Many students continue the research they began at the Newberry after they return from the program, such as in a senior thesis or in graduate school.
“I see the program as being the highlight of my college experience. I was treated as a serious academic researcher at one of the premier research libraries in the country and world. I remember the thrill that came from digging through the Newberry's collections and archives, all the assistance the librarians gave me, and living in the middle of Chicago during a beautiful autumn.”
—Melissa Klein, Ripon College, anthropology and history