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Program Structure

What you'll do in the EHI!

The EHI is a four-year program that exposes students to the humanities, supports student research in the humanities, and gives students a platform for sharing their work with the broader public.

To see what students will do in the EHI, click on the tabs below.

Enroll in HUM 120

Who can take it?

  • Anyone who’s a first-year student at UIC who’s eligible to take ENG 161 or who has earned a B or better in ENG 160 can sign up for HUM 120 in their first year. You do not need to be a humanities major!

What is it?

  • This seminar/workshop combination focuses on a particular topic of current concern.

What will I learn and do?

  • As a student in HUM 120, you’ll enjoy trips into the city of Chicago as well as class visits from community organizations and leaders. You’ll receive guidance on how to conduct research and write a 10-page research paper related to the course topic. Successful completion of HUM 120 earns you a General Education credit (Individual and Society) and satisfies your ENG 161 requirement.


Enroll in HUM 201

Who can take it?

  • Anyone who has taken HUM 120, who has transferred to UIC with credit for ENG 161, or who is in their second year at UIC. To request a spot in the course, email your request to:

What is it?

What will I learn and do?

  • You’ll read a variety of texts and learn more about how to conduct research in the humanities and connect the course material to your own life or community. You may also experiment with ways of communicating what you’re learning in class in forms other than a traditional research paper (such as websites, podcasts, or personal narratives).
  • If you’re taking HUM 201, you are eligible for $1000 in funding to attend lectures, workshops, and events (on and off campus), including the Mellon Lectures in the Engaged Humanities. Review the event FAQs to learn about your options.
  • In addition, you’ll work closely with the EHI Director and Program Director to identify and contact possible mentors and develop a research plan for the summer.

Participate in Summer Research Activity

  • Once your research plan is approved and you locate a summer activity, you’ll receive up to $3500 during the summer between your second and third year to do research in a library, do an internship, or study abroad. The EHI staff and your mentor will work with you to help you identify an activity that suits your research interests.


Complete Independent Study and Continue Research

  • During your third year at UIC, you’ll register for an independent study with your mentor and begin turning your research into a project. This could be a research paper, a website, a podcast, a film, or a creative writing project. Again, you’ll receive up to $1000 to attend lectures, workshops, or events, or design events for your fellow students or the community.

Continue to Develop Research

  • During the summer between your third and fourth years, you’ll receive up to $3500 again to pursue new research leads or follow up on research you’ve already done. You may decide to turn your project into something else, or extend it to new communities and audiences. You may decide to study abroad to see how what you’ve studied so far looks in another place.

Student Choice

  • During your fourth year at UIC, you’ll become a leader in the EHI! You’ll help mentor younger students and participate in the working group. You’ll receive up to $1000 towards these and other activities, and you’ll graduate as a Mellon Scholar in the Engaged Humanities.



During their third and fourth years at UIC, students in the Engaged Humanities Initiative will:

  • Produce a paper at least 25 pages long (this can serve as an Honors College capstone or a departmental thesis, with your departmental advisor’s permission) related to your project, especially its historical or theoretical background
  • Present their research in a public forum, such as Impact Day or departmental undergraduate research events (or both!)
  • Produce a publicly engaged, less traditional project. This might be:
    • Organizing a conference with a faculty member
    • Organizing or introducing a panel at a conference
    • Hosting a conference at UIC
    • A public performance (theater, poetry, music)
    • An exhibit
    • An event, such as a film projection and discussion for the community
    • A digital humanities project, using technology to enhance or shape a humanities project (link to site here)
    • Environmental work: photography or a tour of a site
    • Health humanities: bridging storytelling, history, and narrative with the health sciences
    • A podcast
    • An editorial or publishing project