Apply to the Religious Literacy Summer Institute for Educators

RLP Educators in Harvard Yard

In both 2018 and 2019, we received over 150 applications for approximately 25 slots. Competitive applications will include substantive responses to the short answer questions and a carefully selected lesson plan with thoughtful commentary. 

COVID-19 UPDATE: In light of the many disruptions caused by the novel coronavirus, we are extending the deadline to apply for the Summer Institute to March 30, 2020. We do not yet know if the coronavirus will still prohibit travel and large gatherings in July. We hope it will not, but we will continue to monitor the situation. In the event that we cannot gather in Cambridge for the Summer Institute, we will offer online alternatives, including live Zoom sessions during the week of July 13-17th. We will make the decision to gather in person or online by May 15th.

How to Apply

Click here to apply to the 2020 Religious Literacy Summer Institute for Educators.

The Summer Institute is geared towards educators who are currently teaching in high school or community college classrooms. While the majority of participants work within the social sciences or language arts at these grade levels, we welcome applicants from any discipline, including the arts, natural sciences, and more, and have accepted educators working in middle school contexts.

Based on feedback from past participants, we are experimenting with a new approach to applications this year: We encourage applicants to apply in pairs from the same school or district. Past participants report that it makes a huge difference to have a local partner who has also been trained in religious literacy, so that teachers can support each other as they develop new lessons or units that integrate religion into curriculum. Each applicant should fill out their own application form and indicate their partner’s name and school/district affiliation and potential for collaboration where indicated. Please submit individual answers to all questions.If more than two people are applying from the same school or district, please indicate that as well. Please note that applying in together does not guarantee acceptance for one or both partners. If you do not have a partner with whom to apply, please still apply! We will seriously consider all solo applications. 

Our frameworks for teaching and learning about religion are rooted in a vision of education for a more just and peaceful world. This approach thus pays particular attention to intersections with forces of power, peace, and conflict. Before beginning your application, please read the short article "Public School Students Need to Study Religion" by RLP Founding Director Diane Moore, and watch this short video on the typologies of peace and violence described by Johan Galtung, which is a significant component of our approach to studying religion. In the application, you will be asked to provide a brief reflection on these resources.

The application also requires a sample lesson plan with commentary, which you will upload as a single document. This is a very important part of the application, and we encourage you to choose a lesson that illustrates the strengths of your teaching as well as the challenges you have encountered teaching about religion and the questions they have elicited. Please explain your choice in your commentary.


Applications are due by 11:59PM Eastern time on March 16th, 2020.

Given the competitive nature of these applications, we may conduct phone interviews with some or all semi-finalists before making our final acceptance decisions. Any phone interview will take place during the first two weeks April.

Acceptance decisions will be sent to all applicants by May 1, 2020.


Financial Aid

Thanks to a generous grant from the Once Here Foundation, the Religious Literacy Project is able to offer a limited number of travel grants to educators who teach and reside outside of Massachusetts. Grants between $500 and $2,000 are available and based on financial needs of the participant. We encourage all participants to seek out support for participation that may be available in their home school and district prior to applying for financial aid.

If you teach and reside outside of Massachusetts and are interested in applying for further financial support through the RLP, please answer the relevant questions within the summer institute application. You will be asked about other sources of support and the anticipated cost of attending the institute based on your travel options and other needs. 

Decisions about acceptance are made without attention to requests for financial support. Accepted applicants will be notified about their financial support when they are notified of their acceptance, by May 1, 2020.


Preparing for the Institute

Accepted participants will be asked to complete approximately 10 hours of preparatory work, including online learning modules and selected readings.  These assignments will be sent out by June 1, 2020, to allow ample time for completion.