Faculty, graduate students and independent scholars of literature, the arts, the humanities, and the related social sciences worldwide are invited to apply. There are openings for approximately 90 participants. The deadline is Tuesday, February 1, 2022. Applicants must submit all application materials online though Academic Programs Online: Program Listing 20250. The application portal will go live on November 1.

To enable the School to plan the summer schedule, prospective participants must indicate on the online application form which one of the six-week courses they wish to attend in order of preference. Upon admission to the School, participants will be notified of their course assignment; acceptance of the offer of admission to the School will constitute acceptance of that course assignment. All participants are enrolled in each of the mini-seminars.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOLARS: please see Global Cornell and their informational webpage regarding executive actions and statements relating to immigration and travel bans.

Application Requirements

In addition to completing a Cover Sheet, you will be prompted to upload the following materials:

  1. A Letter of Intent of no more than two pages describing current scholarly interests and plans and how the School of Criticism and Theory might further those interests and plans. The statement should include information about courses taken and/or taught in criticism and theory.
  2. Two confidential letters of recommendation (follow instructions on application website)
  3. A current curriculum vitae
  4. A sample of recent writing
  5. A transcript (for current graduate students) 

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition for the summer program is $3,000 (a below-cost figure made possible by a Cornell University subsidy).

The School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University has established an aid program to encourage institutional support of participants. The Matching Funds program guarantees that the School of Criticism and Theory will reduce by $300 the tuition fee for any participant whose own institution will provide $300 or more in support of their study. We urge you to ask your dean or other responsible administrative officer whether it would be possible for your school to provide funding for tuition ($2,700 after the $300 reduction) or additional assistance for room and board. Any applicant requesting a Matching Funds reduction must obtain a written statement from the home institution affirming that financial support has been committed for the applicant. This letter must be received by the application deadline.

In addition, there are a limited number of full and partial need-based tuition scholarships available for participants with special financial needs. If you are requesting financial aid, please indicate this in your application and letter of intent. The Program Coordinator will reach out to provide more information. Financial aid awards will be announced at notice of admission.

Acceptances and Deposits

Admissions decisions will be announced in March.

Applicants who have been admitted will have ten days from the date of notification in which to submit a non-refundable $200 deposit against tuition in order to hold their place in the School. The remainder of the tuition is due on May 15, 2021. 


Q. I have all my application materials ready but am still waiting for my letters of recommendation.  Can I submit my application now and add the letters once they arrive?
A. Yes, if you are simply waiting for your letters of recommendation, we encourage you to go ahead and upload your application materials while you wait for your letters to arrive.  You will be able to add your letters of recommendation to the application site up until the February 1 deadline.

Q. I am currently a graduate student.  Which transcripts do you require?
A. Please submit a complete current graduate transcript.  If you are a Ph.D. candidate with a master’s degree, you may also include your master’s transcript if you wish.  You should upload your transcript(s) to your online application. We accept unofficial transcripts.

Q. What are the specifications for the writing sample? 
A. Your writing sample can be a recent conference paper, a term paper written for a graduate seminar, an article or text, published or unpublished. There is no specific word-count or page-count.

Q. Should I send a copy of my application by regular mail?
A. No, there is no need to send a hard copy of your application by regular mail.  Only online applications will be reviewed.

Q. How can the matching funds confirming letter be submitted?
A.  You can upload a letter as a PDF under "other materials" in the application form, OR, you or your institution, can e-mail a letter to

Q. I am a non-US citizen. How do presidential executive orders on immigration affect my chances of attending SCT?
A. SCT welcomes applicants of all nationalities and does not give priority to any nationality when making admissions decisions. International scholars should consult see Global Cornell’s informational webpage regarding executive actions and statements relating to immigration and travel bans.

For further support, please email