Applied History Course Development Program

The Stanton Foundation has created a program to provide grants of up to $50,000 for tenured and tenure-track faculty to develop new applied history courses for undergraduates or first-year graduate students. The Foundation hopes to fund development of at least 10 courses to be taught in the 2019 - 2020 academic year.

The Foundation’s purpose in promoting the development and teaching of such courses is to give students better tools for thinking about important policy issues in their roles as citizens. Business education has shown that a rich collection of cases on a topic can serve as a starting point for good decision making and leadership in business. The Foundation believes that a similar familiarity with the historical record on major issues and the ability to use the case method may be equally useful in making citizens more informed consumers of news and more responsible decision makers.


To be eligible for a grant, a proposed course must meet two tests:

  • The issues to be examined by the course must be current U.S. policy issues or issues which relate to U.S. vital interests. These issues must be likely to persist through students' lifetimes, whether they be international or domestic.
  • In the initial rounds of grants, the course must be case based. Thus a course on immigration, which explored U.S. policies toward immigration since 1776 would be eligible. A course on World War I, in which the final week of the syllabus was entitled “Lessons for the Present,” would not be.

A concrete example of a course that would be enthusiastically funded under this program is HISTORY OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY (USW 39, HBS 1139), Professor David Moss, Harvard Business School. (The syllabus for Professor Moss’s course is available on the Belfer Center Applied History website.)

Additional requirements

Applicants must be tenured or tenure-track faculty members. They must have received excellent ratings as a teacher in reasonably large courses (40 students minimum). The purpose of this initiative is to create a more broadly informed public, so preference is given to faculty at large institutions or those who anticipate substantial enrollments. A proposal to create a small graduate seminar, for example, cannot receive support under this program.


Grants will provide up to $50,000 to cover released faculty time, research assistance, materials, and other typical course preparation costs. Overhead costs charges by all levels (university division, department) may not exceed 10%.


The Foundation expects to review applications for courses to be taught in the 2019-2020 academic year on the timeline below:

  • Fall 2019 courses: If the proposed course would be offered in the fall of 2019, applications are due by November 9, 2018. Successful applicants will be notified as promptly as possible, but in no case later than December 14, 2018.
  • Spring 2020 courses: If the proposed course would be offered in the spring of 2020, applications are due by March 15, 2019. Successful applicants will be notified as promptly as possible but in no case later than April 18, 2019.

The Foundation will transfer funds to the sponsoring institution(s) no fewer than 30 days prior to the commencement of course development.