University of Pittsburgh

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Application FAQ

Where can I get an application?
Applications are closed for Summer 2022.

Am I eligible to apply?
Preference will be given to applicants who have not previously participated in an NEH-sponsored workshop or institute.

What needs to be included in my application?

  • complete the application form
  • a résumé or short biography with contact information for a professional reference
  • an application essay (no longer than two double-spaced pages)

Can I send mail my application?
Applications may only be submitted electronically.
If you are concerned about the safe arrival of your materials, feel free to contact Kathy Haines to check on their status.

Acceptance FAQ

If I apply, when will I hear?
Successful applicants will be notified of their selection via email March 24, 2022. You will have until April 8, 2022, to accept or decline the offer.

What paperwork will I need to send in if I accept your invitation to attend the Institute?
You will need to sign the “appointment” letter we send you which stipulates the length of the Workshop and your stipend and provide us with your current address and social security number.  We suggest you fax the information to 412-624-7447, or mail them to our address.

Stipend FAQ

How much will I receive for my stipend check?
The total amount of your stipend is $1,300 which will be paid to you on your last day of the Institute. Please note that if you are staying in the dorms, your housing costs can be deducted from your stipend check.

Is the stipend taxable by the IRS?
Yes, the full amount of $1,300 is considered taxable income. You will be required to fill out a W9 and the University will send you a 1099 for tax filing purposes. The University of Pittsburgh will withhold no taxes from your check. You may wish to talk to your own tax advisor, or see IRS Publication 970. Neither the NEH nor the University of Pittsburgh can advise you on your tax situation; the IRS will know about the full amount of your stipend.

Will the amount of my stipend be enough to cover all of the costs associated with the workshop?
The stipend is intended to offset the cost of your travel, food, and lodging, not necessarily cover all of your expenses.

What happens if I can't be there for the entire workshop?
If you cannot be present for all days of the workshop, or if you have to miss a day, you will be asked to return a pro-rated portion of your stipend, per NEH regulations.

Can I select which week of the workshop I wish to attend?
Yes, you can let us know which week you would prefer to attend. Please let us know if you are available for either week despite your preference.

Travel FAQ

How do I get to Pittsburgh?
You are responsible for making your own travel arrangements. Below are suggestions on how to get here:

By Plane:
Pittsburgh International Airport is located 20 miles outside of Pittsburgh, about 30-40 minutes drive from the University of Pittsburgh.

  • From the Pittsburgh airport the least expensive way to get to Oakland is by bus.  The Airport Flyer 28X leaves from outside the baggage claim area every 20 minutes (even Sundays) and will bring you directly to Oakland for a mere $3.75 (exact change required).
  • Taxis from the airport are about $50, without tip. Uber is about $40.00

By Car:
From the East take I-76 (Pennsylvania Turnpike; toll road) exit at Monroeville (exit 57), connecting onto I-376, following signs to Pittsburgh.  Take the Oakland exit (exit 3A, marked University of Pittsburgh; Glenwood, Route 885), turn right at the end of the ramp.  Continue on Bates until it ends at Bouquet Street.  Turn left on Bouquet. Turn right on Forbes Avenue, which leads to the campus.

From the South Follow I-79 North to the I-279 North Exit. Take 279 through the Fort Pitt Tunnels and across the bridge to the I-376 Monroeville Exit (first exit on the right). Follow 376 to the Forbes Avenue/Oakland Exit. Forbes Avenue leads into the Pitt campus.

From the North Take I-79 South to I-279 South. (You exit to the left off I-79.) Follow 279 into the city, to the I-376 Monroeville Exit. Follow 376 to the Forbes Avenue/Oakland Exit. Forbes Avenue then leads right into the Pitt campus.

From the West Cars traveling from the west via the PA Turnpike (I-76) should take Exit 3 and follow I-79 South to I-279 South. (You exit to the left off I-79.) Follow 279 into the city, to the I-376 Monroeville Exit. Follow 376 to the Forbes Avenue/Oakland Exit. Forbes Avenue then leads right into the Pitt campus.

By Train:
The Amtrak station is in downtown Pittsburgh. The train station address is 1100 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.  The trains that serve this station are the Capitol Limited (Washington, DC to Pittsburgh and Chicago), the Pennsylvanian (from New York to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh), and Three Rivers (also New York to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh).  Check the Amtrak web site for schedule information.

By Bus:
The Greyhound bus terminal is located in downtown Pittsburgh, at 55 11th St.  It is open 24 hours per day.  Information concerning schedules can be obtained on the Greyhound web site.  Upon your arrival at the station, you should arrange to take a taxi, Uber, or Lyft to your final destination.

Megabus disembarks downtown at the Convention Center. Upon arrival at the station you can take any of the 71 or 61 busses into Oakland.

What should I bring with me?
You can expect the weather to be quite warm, although at times in the evening it may cool down (highs are typically in the 80s, lows in the 60s).  Dress for the Institute is workshop, though you may want to bring a sweater as the room might be chilly. You should bring rain gear (umbrella, raincoat) in case of inclement weather.  Bring comfortable walking shoes for the field trips. You will need pens, paper, and other classroom implements. If you forget items, they may be purchased at the University Store, located on campus on Fifth Avenue at Thackeray Street. While you will have access to the University's computer labs, it would be very convenient to have your own computer and, if possible, printer.

If you are staying at the Pitt dorms, you will need to bring your own blanket and kitchen tools. Sheets, pillow, and towels will be provided.

Housing/Lodging FAQ

Where will I be staying during the Institute? What will it cost?
We have made arrangements for you to stay in Bouquet Gardens, apartment-style dorms located on the University of Pittsburgh campus, less than a half mile walik to Hillman library, where we will be meeting each day. All four person apartments in Bouquet Gardens include two bathrooms. Bouquet Gardens apartments are furnished with a living room, dining area, and kitchen with refrigerator, dishwasher, stove and microwave. The apartments are airconditioned and include wifi and basic cable.

The cost, which would be deducted from your stipend, is:

  • 3-4 people $36 per night
  • 2 people $61 per night
  • 1 people $117 per night

Families are not permitted to stay on campus with you, nor are pets (if you have a service animal, please let us know and we’ll let you know the procedures for registering them on campus).

Payment for housing will be deducted from the amount of your stipend. We encourage all Summer Scholars to stay at the same location to help foster a learning community. We also encourage you to room with someone to keep your costs down.

Where can I park?
On campus parking is available for $25 for the week.

Are accommodations available for people with disabilities?
Details to come. Please make sure you let us know if you require an accessible room.

When do I need to decide if I'm staying at the dorms?
In order to reserve your room at Bouquet Gardens, we must have your housing form by TBA.

Where can I do laundry?
Laundry is available in the building for $1 per load Wash or Dry; Panther Funds are needed to use the laundry; monies can be loaded on to your room card at Panther Central. 

How can I be contacted while I'm in Pittsburgh?
There are no phones in the University Dorm rooms. You will need to use your cell phone for all calls.

Please note that in the Pittsburgh area you need to dial all ten digits (including area code) regardless of whether it is a local or long distance call.

If you need to receive something via U.S. Mail you may have it sent to:
The Center for American Music
106A Stephen Foster Memorial
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh PA 15260

If you need to mail something or purchase stamps, the main U.S. Post Office for Oakland is located on Bouquet Street, four blocks south of Forbes Avenue.

How do I arrange to have a roommate?
If you are interested in being paired up with a roommate, once housing forms are sent out please let us know and we'll do her best to match you up with other folks seeking joint housing arrangements.

Can I bring my family and pets?
You are neither encouraged nor discouraged to bring family members with you to Pittsburgh, or to entertain them at any point during the Institute. However, they will not permitted to attend the institute nor to accompany you on any field trips and family members are not allowed to stay with you at the University dorms.

Pets are not permitted at the University dorms. If you have a pet you cannot leave behind, please contact us if you need suggestions for boarding.

Should you want to look into alternative arrangements that would allow your family to stay with you, the Residence Inn by Marriott on Bigelow Blvd. offers affordable rooms with fully equipped kitchens, free breakfast, and a complimentary shuttle.

Where can I buy groceries?
Forbes Street Market is on Forbes Avenue near Bouquet Gardens.   You can also travel by city bus or car to Whole Foods at 5880 Centre Avenue, the Giant Eagle Market District at 5550 Centre Avenue, or Trader Joe's at 6343 Penn Avenue.

Where can I workout?
The weather will be quite warm in July, so there will be lots of opportunities for walking or running outside.  There are also walking trails, bike routes, and tennis courts, a pool, and public golf course at nearby Schenley Park.

Where can I attend religious services?
For information on religious services on and around campus, check out the University of Pittsburgh Association of Chaplaincies web site.  This site contains links to individual churches and organizations, including schedules for services.

What if I get sick?

CVS Minute Clinic
4725 Centre Ave., Oakland (412-683-8827)

East Liberty Family Health Care Center
6023 Harvard St., East Liberty (412-661-2802)

MedExpress Urgent Care
5201 Baum Blvd., Bloomfield (412-687-3627)
Call for other locations.

1691 Washington Rd., Mt. Lebanon (412-835-6900)

UPMC Urgent Care
5231 Centre Avenue

Walgreens Take Care Clinic
5956 Penn Circle S., East Liberty (412-362-6328)

The nearest hospital emergency room is:
UPMC Presbyterian
200 Lothrop St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-2582

How do I get around if I don't have a car?
Bussing will be provided for all field trips.

For non-Workshop related trips, information on the Port Authority Transit (public transportation) is available at their web site.  Reloadable Port Authority Connect Cards may be purchased at Giant Eagle grocery stores. Along the two major streets in the Oakland area, Fifth Ave. and Forbes Ave., there are many buses that run frequently.  For other routes, you can call PAT at (412) 442-2000 and let them know where you are and where you would like to go.
Port Authority has a real time app to let you know when a bus is coming. You can view it through their website. You can also use the Transit App to monitor busses en route.

Pittsburgh, despite its hills, is a very bike friendly city. Oakland and many other neighborhoods now have dedicated bike lanes. If you don't bring a bike with you, no problem! You can now rent them through Bike Pittsburgh's bike share program Healthy Ride. There are multiple bike stations in Oakland, including one just outside the Carnegie Library.

Additionally, many Port Authority busses will allow you to put your bike on a rack so that you can travel on the bus "with" your bike.

How much time will there be for seeing the sights?
You will have the majority of your evenings free.

What is there to do while I'm in Pittsburgh?
If you are looking for something to do, a good place to start is with the Pittsburgh City Paper website

Another place to find activities in and around the city is on the University web site.  If you visit you will be treated to a thumbnail tour of the city with lots of links to additional sites.

Check out the Pittsburgh Convention & Visitor's Bureau 2020 digital guide to the city. You can request a copy on the Visit Pittburgh web site.

Other good sites for interesting information about the city include the Student Guide to Pittsburgh web site, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh web site, and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh web site.

Campus FAQ

What is the University of Pittsburgh campus like?
The University of Pittsburgh is a lovely urban campus.  There are lots of open green spaces. For more information about Pitt, including maps of the campus, visit the University's website.
Please note: Pittsburgh is a green city. Recycling bins for paper, bottles, and cans are located in Hillman Library

How can I access the internet?
You will be given guest access to the University's wifi, which you can access anywhere on campus. Those who are staying on campus will be given directions prior to their arrival, those who are staying elsewhere will be given directions on the Monday of the workshop.

The computer HELP Desk is staffed 24 hours a day, call 412-624-HELP for assistance.

A list of lab locations and hours is available on this web site.

Copy machines are located in all University libraries. Most photocopiers operate using either cash or Panther Funds (a vendacard system where you preload a card with funds), although some may only accept Panther Funds. Prices for copying and printing are as follows:
• Photocopying fee is $0.15 per page with cash
• Photocopying and printing is $0.10 per page with Panther Funds.

Where will the Workshop be held?
The Workshop sessions will take place in the Special Collections Classroom on the third floor of Hillman Library on the University of Pittsburgh Campus. A campus map is available on this web site.  The room is air conditioned, so dress accordingly.
Elevators are located toward the center of the building.

Workshop FAQ

Who are the Workshop Staff?
Information on our faculty and staff may be found here.

Where can I park at the University?
View a parking map of the University of Pittsburgh. (Be aware that the City of Pittsburgh cleans the streets and prohibits parking on one side of the street each weekday.  Always check the signs where you park to make sure you are not at odds with the schedule.  A good clue is if the parking is easy and you are only one of two or three cars parked along that street.) Do not park in handicap spaces without a handicap tag or permit; fines are steep.

On street parking is available around Hillman Library with pay stations that accept either credit cards or quarters for $3.00 per hour. Reduced fee parking is available further up Schenley Drive near Phipps Conservatory. You might also want to consider parking in the Carnegie Museum's lot. Their rates are listed here.

If you are staying in the University dorms, parking information to come.

What will our daily class schedule be like?
A preliminary agenda may be viewed here.  A final agenda will be provided on the first day of workshop. 
Breakfast will not be provided; however, you are welcome to bring coffee or a favorite beverage in a covered container to class. Coffee shops are located on the ground floor of the Cathedral of Learning, on Forbes Avenue at Atwood, and through the walk-up window at The Porch Restaurant at Schenley Drive (right across from Hillman Library).

The lunch hour is free time, except when we are on field trips.  You may use this time to eat a packed lunch, peruse the libraries or catch up on errands.  There are a large number of restaurants within walking distance of Hillman Library.
We will typically end our day around 5 p.m.

Will I need to bring a lunch every day or will it be provided?
You are responsible for all of your own meals, including lunch.

Arrangements for food will be made in advance for field trips, however you will have to pay for these meals as well. Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions. You are welcome to bring your own food.

How much walking will be required?
A fair amount of walking will be involved during our field trips. If you have physical limitations, please let us know so that we can make arrangements to assist you.

What sort of assignments and homework will we be asked to do during the Institute?
Nominal readings may be assigned during the workshop.

Summer Scholars will also complete a final project to synthesize the content and strategies they have learned throughout the workshop. This will be explained on the Monday of the Workshop. Finished projects will be presented to the group at the end of the workshop and will be posted on the workshop website.

Should I read anything prior to attending the Workshop?
We are asking that all participants read three books in preparation for the workshop: Paul Krause’s The Battle for Homestead, Thomas Bell’s novel Out of this Furnace, and Les Standiford’s Meet You in Hell.

Will I get continuing education credit for attending the Workshop?
Prior to leaving the workshop, we'll be asking you to give us contact information for the administrator at your institution who should receive notification of your participation and the number of hours we calculate you spent in the classroom. All Summer Scholars will receive a letter at the close of the Workshop stating these credit hours.  This letter should be sufficient to prove continuing education equivalency; however, if you require further certification, please let us know.  You do not get University credit for attending the Institute. Pennsylvania teachers are eligible for Act 48 credit for the workshop.

What do I do if I have questions that don't appear on this list?
Please contact us at