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UNITED STATES - ACM Research in the Humanities

The Newberry Library is one of the world’s leading independent research libraries.  Focused on the humanities, its evolving collections embrace the history and literature of  Western Europe and the Americas.  With an active educational and cultural presence in Chicago, the Newberry offers a host of exhibits, lectures, classes, concerts, and other public programming related to its collections.  In addition, the Newberry makes available a variety of highly-acclaimed fellowships and programs to scholars, teachers, and undergraduates.  Located in the heart of Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, the Library is near theatres, museums, parks, concerts, shopping, restaurants, and Lake Michigan, making it a vibrant location from which to experience all that Chicago has to offer.  (PDF)Click to see some highlights from the Newberry’s collections.

Fall 2019 seminar theme:
One For the Books: Pleasures & Politics of Reading

Students will explore not just what people read but how, where, and why they read it. Tap the Newberry Library’s original source materials to investigate how, from Gutenberg to digital media, reading has offered a means of defining the self, encountering others, drawing lines of inclusion and exclusion, and imagining change.

They work closely with faculty members and a select group of colleagues in a seminar that provides context and guidance for their research.  In some cases, the paper qualifies as a senior or honors thesis.  In all cases, the fall seminar gives participants significant research experience that prepares them for graduate study, professional education (such as law school), or other careers.  Each year, the fall seminar is taught by a team of two visiting faculty members, with a focus on a specific theme in the humanities.  Themed short-term seminars, offered in the winter and spring, include class meetings and a shorter paper, providing a similar experience of independent research and writing.


To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have second-semester sophomore status before participation. (Transfer students may participate after the first semester on campus) Students with junior status or higher are strongly preferred.
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date. 
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75.  
Study in a Diverse and Cosmopolitan City in the Heart of the US

Chicago may be a relatively young city, but its history has already been shaped by countless cultures around the world. No matter your passion, Chicago has a place for you: world-class theatres, museums, parks and conservatories, beautiful architecture, music scenes, and festivals are easily accessible.

You’ll live and work in Chicago’s prosperous Gold Coast neighborhood, an area lined with quiet streets and classic row houses. The Gold Coast is also close to the lakefront and the Newberry Library, your primary research site for the semester.


A set of common readings and lively discussions centered on a capacious interdisciplinary theme create the context for students’ research. Through those discussions and explorations of the library’s collections, which are broad but idiosyncratic, students develop research projects. They work closely with the faculty and their peers to develop research methodologies and to focus and revise their work. At the end of the seminar, students write a substantial research paper and present the results of their work to the library community.  Since the Newberry Seminar offers students a great deal of independence and freedom as they work within the context of a vibrant research community, the program is intended for juniors and seniors with substantial experience in the humanities.  (PDF)Click to see some highlights from the Newberry’s collections.

The combination of the seminar and the student research paper result in a full semester of academic credit.  The specific distribution of credits is a matter of negotiation between the student and the Newberry Seminar instructors, in consultation with the student’s campus advisor and Registrar. The 16-semester credits earned may be assigned to one academic area or may be divided among two or even three disciplines if the choice of research topic makes that appropriate.  Students are encouraged to start this process at their campus prior to the start of the program and to continue this communication with the Newberry Seminar faculty instructors during their time on the program.

The ACM Newberry Research in the Humanities program uses the US semester credit system, in which 1 credit = 42-45 in-class hours, and 2 hours of out-of-class work per credit hour.

To Earn 4 Lake Forest credits, students must take 15-16 US semester credits.

To Earn 3 Lake Forest credits, students must take 12 US semester credits.

The number of credits listed here is estimated, and GEO will work with you, your advisor, and the registrar to ensure you are earning enough credits to keep you on track for graduation.

More information about the program academics click on either Learning Objectives & Outcomes or Courses & Credits.  

Student Life

On weekends, use Chicago’s extensive public transportation system to explore a variety of neighborhoods, each with its own livelihood, story, and culture – and plenty of delicious food at every turn! Fall into step with the rhythms of this bustling city by hopping on the ‘L’ train and venture somewhere new. Spend a day browsing the Art Institute or the Chicago History Museum, laugh at a comedy club, or wander through small neighborhood bookstores and cultural centers.

As a dynamic city pulsing with both history and progress, Chicago will expand your liberal arts education well beyond the classroom.

Class Excursions

Class excursions typically vary based on the seminar topic and the interests of the visiting faculty directors. Excursions in the city will relate to your studies and class discussions and can range anywhere from museum visits to neighborhood tours.

Exploring Chicago

In a large city like Chicago, you can experience a diverse range of cultures and history within the short span of a few train stops. There are plenty of ways to get around the city in your free time, whether you walk, take public transportation, ride your bike, or take a cab.

The Loop, Chicago’s downtown center, has countless large theaters, restaurants, museums, and music venues to explore. Chicago’s downtown area is also home to world-famous architecture, including the Willis Tower (commonly known as the Sears Tower), the second-tallest building in the US.

The Loop, Chicago’s downtown center, has countless large theaters, restaurants, museums, and music venues to explore.

Outside of the Loop, explore the various communities where Chicagoans live. To the west, you’ll find neighborhoods like Pilsen, home to a sizeable Hispanic and Latino population and known for its beautiful street murals, delicious Mexican cuisine, and the National Museum of Mexican Art. Or, architecture enthusiasts can spend a day in Oak Park, home to several buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, including the architect’s very own home and studio.

By moving south, you can explore Chinatown’s various shops and restaurants, or venture to Hyde Park to visit Chicago’s famous Museum of Science and Industry. A trip to Bronzeville, a well-known African-American neighborhood, will show you some of the area’s many community centers and activist organizations.

To the north, you can enjoy Lincoln Park’s free zoo and conservatory, or enjoy a day at a ball game at Lakeview’s historic Wrigley Field. Spend a day relaxing at Montrose Beach, or visit small Vietnamese restaurants and shops on Argyle Street before heading over to Uptown to see a music performance at the Aragon Ballroom. In Chicago, the opportunities to explore are limitless!

  Experiential Opportunities

During your seminar in Chicago, there are various opportunities to gain valuable work experience at the Newberry. Although work is not guaranteed, in the past several years all fall program students who wished to have had the opportunity to work in the library.  Students work up to ten hours a week and earn minimum wage.  Some examples of jobs have included:

  • Clerical work in Research and Education, the Library’s four research centers, or the Development Office;
  • Setting up exhibits;
  • Paging books or cataloging for the General Reading Room or Special Collections; and
  • Doing research for projects such as the Encyclopedia of Chicago History or Atlas of Historical County Boundaries.

These jobs have given Newberry students excellent opportunities to learn more about the inner workings of a world-class research library, as well as providing valuable work experience.

Housing and Meals

Students in the Newberry seminar live in an apartment building in the heart of Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood and a few blocks walk from the Newberry Library.

Two students share each studio apartment (similar in size to a standard dorm room) with a kitchenette, bathroom and walk-in closet. The apartments are approximately 15’ x 18’ and are furnished with one or two chairs, tables, lamps, ovens, and compact refrigerators. Some apartments have Murphy beds; others have regular twin beds. It’s an ideal location for young people living in the city.

Financial Information

For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee. The program fee for the ACM Newberry program includes orientation, housing, and local transportation. Meals are not included; students cook for themselves in their apartments.

Here is an estimated budget for the Fall 2018 programs:

Budget Item



Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost for Southern Hemisphere programs, as that starts a new academic year.


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College




Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, additional national insurance if required, travel insurance, additional travel etc.)


Total Out-of-Pocket Expenses




Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of February 2019. We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.

Deposits to other programs, if required, are paid by the student to the host program, and will appear as a credit on your study abroad term bill from the College.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate and will depend on your course registration choices.  

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  

  • Contact:

    For Questions About the Initial Application Process:

    Alexandra Olson
    Coordinator of the Global Engagement Office