Apply now! Applications open until June 15, 2022

If you are interested in applying to the Odyssey Project for the 2022-2023 academic year, please access the application here. Si se desea aplicar a nuestro programa en español, Proyecto Odisea, por favor visite este enlace: haga clic aquí.

If you prefer to print and mail your application, you may download a PDF of the application in English here or en espanol aqui and mail it to:

The Odyssey Project
c/o Illinois Humanities
125 S. Clark Street
Suite 650
Chicago, IL 60603

The application deadline is June 15, 2022.

COVID-19 Policy (Updated March 2, 2022)

Odyssey Project courses are taking place virtually through the end of the 2021-2022 academic year in late-April 2022. For more information please contact Rebecca Amato, director of teaching and learning, at rebecca.amato@ilhumanities.org.

COVID-19 PARTICIPATION POLICY for Academic Year 2022-2023

For the health and safety of all members of the Odyssey community, Illinois Humanities requires proof of vaccination to participate in in-person courses. In-person instruction will take place on the North Side at Howard Area Community Center, on the South Side at Stony Island Arts Bank, and on the Southwest Side at Brighton Park Public Library. Acceptable proof of vaccination includes a CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card, an official immunization record from the location where the vaccine was administered or a digital or physical photo of such a card or record, reflecting your name, vaccine brand, and date the vaccine was administered. Attendees will be required to show this documentation at Odyssey Orientation, which will take place in early August. Students, faculty, site coordinators, teaching assistants, other Illinois Humanities staff, and any approved guests will be required to wear masks at all times in the classroom when not eating or drinking.

Illinois Humanities recognizes that a vaccination requirement may have a disproportionate impact on some communities. Individuals who are unable to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination for any reason, including because of a disability (as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act) may opt to participate in The Odyssey Project remotely via our designated virtual site, which will operate via Zoom. Students who wish to participate remotely and do not have access to a computer and/or WiFi may borrow equipment from Illinois Humanities.

By accepting admission or employment with The Odyssey Project at Illinois Humanities, all Odyssey community members agree to comply with requirements to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and acknowledge that Illinois Humanities cannot guarantee attendees will not become infected with COVID-19 as a result of attending classes. For any questions regarding this policy please email rebecca.amato@ilhumanities.org.

The Odyssey Project

Students enrolled in The Odyssey Project take courses in literature, philosophy, U.S. history, art history, and critical thinking and writing from August through April. Upon successful completion of the program, students will earn college credits in the humanities (4 credits each in HUM 110 and HUM 111) from the University of Illinois Chicago. All credits earned are fully transferrable to accredited colleges and universities.

The Odyssey Project also offers a second-year course in both English and Spanish for students who are interested in continuing their education in the humanities while earning additional college credits (3 credits in HUM 210) from the University of Illinois Chicago.

In-person classes take place in the Chicago neighborhoods of Bronzeville, Brighton Park (in Spanish), and Uptown.  The Odyssey Project is part of the national network of Clemente Courses in the Humanities and is offered in conjunction with the University of Illinois Chicago and with support from The University of Chicago’s Civic Knowledge Project, the Seabury Foundation, and Northwestern University’s Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities.

Eligibility and Guidelines

If you are interested in applying to the Odyssey Project for the 2022-2023 academic year, please access the application here. Si se desea aplicar a nuestro programa en español, Proyecto Odisea, por favor visite este enlace: haga clic aquí.

To qualify for The Odyssey Project, you must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older.
  • Read at an adult level. (We do a lot of reading in the program, so being able to read a newspaper in English — or in Spanish for the Spanish-language course — is a good measure of reading readiness for this course.)
  • Live at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Guideline. (See the application for income guidelines, or refer to this  link: https://aspe.hhs.gov/topics/poverty-economic-mobility/poverty-guidelines.)

Please also keep in mind that:

  • You SHOULD NOT currently have a four-year college degree (B.A./B.S.).
  • You CAN already have a two-year college degree (A.A./A.S.)
  • You CAN join the Odyssey Project if you have outstanding student loans and student loans in default or owe money to a college.
  • We DO NOT use Federal Financial Aid Forms.
  • You CAN join the Odyssey Project if you have not completed your high school degree.

We consider special circumstances if you do not qualify based on the above criteria, so please contact us and/or add a note to your application.

Frequently Asked Questions

The First Year Course

The first-year course provides an interdisciplinary introduction to the humanities through the study of philosophy, art history, literature, U.S. history, and critical thinking and writing. In addition to work in the classroom, students will also have the opportunity to see plays, visit museums, and attend public lectures.

Classes meet twice a week in the evenings from late-August to late-April, and are offered in Chicago’s Bronzeville, Brighton Park (in Spanish), and Uptown neighborhoods. A remote option in English is also available for students who prefer to meet virtually via Zoom. Upon successfully completing the first year course, students earn eight units of college credits in the humanities (4 credits each in HUM 110 and HUM 111) from University of Illinois Chicago.

The Second Year Course

The second-year course is open to those students who have successfully completed the first-year course and wish to continue their study of the humanities. In the second-year course, students take one course that meets twice a week from late-August through to mid-December. Upon successful completion of the second year course, students earn an additional three units of college credit in the humanities (HUM 210) from University of Illinois Chicago. Classes are held in downtown Chicago at the Illinois Humanities’ office (125 South Clark St, Suite 650).

El Proyecto Odisea (Spanish Language Course)

El Proyecto Odisea es un curso al nivel universitario para hispanohablantes, que consiste en cinco clases: Redacción y Pensamiento Crítico, Literatura, Historia, Filosofía e Historia de Arte. Las lecturas asignadas y la discusión en clase son en español. Las clases se reúnen de agosto a abril, dos veces por semana.. Los estudiantes que cumplan con todos los requisitos del curso recibirán 8 horas de crédito universitario.

Cada dos años ofrecemos el Curso de Segundo Año en Español, abierto a los estudiantes que han completado el nivel básico del Proyecto Odisea y que desean profundizar sus estudios de las humanidades. Los estudiantes tomarán dos cursos durante un semestre y se reunirán una vez por semana desde agosto hasta diciembre. Al completar exitosamente el curso, los estudiantes obtendrán 3 créditos universitarios adicionales.

Odyssey Project Faculty and Staff

EJ Hendricks Award

Started in 2018 in honor of one of the first graduates of the Odyssey Project and retired employee of Illinois Humanities EJ Hendricks, each year we recognize an Odyssey Project alumnus who exemplifies EJ’s commitment to lifelong learning, her dedication to strengthening her community, and her continued investment in working to improve the Odyssey Project for future generations.

Odyssey Project EJ Hendricks Award Recipients

  • 2022: Mayra Ortiz
  • 2021: Wanda Obazee
  • 2020: Nicole Bond
  • 2019: Jo McEntee and Mateo Gonzalez
  • 2018: Toy Robinson and Judith (Sophie) Razo

Sophie Razo Award

The Sophie Razo Alumni Award was created in 2022 to recognize an important and beloved member of our community, Sophie Razo, who passed away in 2021. The award honors a graduate of Proyecto Odisea who, like Sophie, demonstrates a deep commitment to lifelong learning, care for one’s many communities, and continued investment in strengthening Proyecto Odisea for future students and alumni.

Odyssey Project Sophie Razo Award Recipients

  • 2022: Magdalena Portillo

2022 Odyssey Project Graduates

Please join us in congratulating the Odyssey Project Class of 2022!

Ariana Strong
Dulce Maria Jimenez
Alina Aguina
Dianna Calvente
Ruth Arreguin
Alheli Valentin
Grecia Vergara
Colleen Villegas
Yesenia Cabada
Dulce Diaz
David Harris
Daniela Hernandez
Samantha Jordan
Jajwina Myles
Arturo Ayala
Rosa Catalina Benavides
Gladys Soledad De La Torre
Brenda Hernandez
Jorge Alberto Antonio Miranda
Gabriela Ramirez
Magda Ramos
Miguel Marzana
Karen Hill
Angel Morris
Rochelle Gregory
Shenae Morgan
Larry Queen
Beth Nicholls
Anthony Williams
Alfred Haro Fuentes
Kim Redmond
Gina Roxas