Doctoral Research Fellows

The Institute for Policy & Social Research is pleased to announce the IPSR Doctoral Research Fellows Program for the 2023-24 Academic Year. The program will help develop the next generation of KU interdisciplinary social science scholars by providing a select group of graduate students with training and support in interdisciplinary social science research skills and by creating a community of graduate students across the social sciences to support each other at KU and in the future.

Program participants meet throughout the academic year to share research plans and findings, gain knowledge of interdisciplinary social science research methods, skills, and analysis, and share experiences and knowledge associated with their graduate studies. The program concludes with presentations to their graduate advisors, IPSR Faculty Affiliates, and other social science graduate students. Upon completion, participants will be designated IPSR Doctoral Research Fellows.

Call for Nominations for 2023-24 Program (PDF)

Click here to meet the current IPSR Doctoral Research Fellows.
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Program Details

Attendance Requirements: Regular attendance is expected. Active participation adds to the strength of the program. If a Fellow misses three sessions over the course of the program, the Fellow may be removed from the program at the discretion of the IPSR Director after discussion with the student’s advisor. Fellows are responsible for notifying the Program Coordinator (or designee) in advance of absences.

When will the meetings be?
There will be approximately ten program sessions per year. Regular program sessions will be held on Friday afternoons from 2:00-3:30. Interested students are advised to consider their ability to commit to the program sessions at the time of application. Because the program benefits from interaction among participants, students who will be off-campus during the academic year are not eligible. Most meetings last one and a half hours.

Completion: The program will conclude with Fellows project presentations to graduate advisors, IPSR Faculty Affiliates, and other social science graduate students. A Fellow will complete the program by attending the regular sessions and presenting at the final public presentation session. While up to three absences are allowable, the presentation session cannot be missed. If a Fellow successfully completes the program, he or she will be awarded the title of IPSR Doctoral Research Fellow.

Participation Following Completion: IPSR Doctoral Research Fellows, having successfully completed the program, are invited to attend sessions in subsequent years while enrolled at KU to refresh their skills. Fellows are expected to review the subsequent year’s applicants, provide feedback to improve the program, and informally mentor future Fellows so that skills and knowledge can be shared between cohorts.

FAQ about the IPSR Doctoral Research Fellows Application

How do I apply?
The application cycle is announced annually in March for the subsequent academic year. The process begins with a letter of nomination submitted on the student’s behalf by an IPSR faculty affiliate. The nomination letter is evaluated in the application review process. Nominated students are invited to prepare an online application that includes a brief CV and statement of interest. The full application is due in May, and students are notified of their application status in late summer.

How can I tell if a faculty member is an IPSR Faculty Affiliate?
IPSR faculty affiliates are listed on this website. If a faculty member is interested in affiliating with IPSR, they should send a note of interest to IPSR Director Donna Ginther.

How are the applications reviewed?
With advice and coordination from the program coordinator and faculty mentor, applications are reviewed by past program participants. Applications are reviewed based on the level of interest in the program, the strength of the nominating letter, and the demonstrated interest in interdisciplinary engagement.

If I applied last year and was not selected, can I apply again?
Yes. Applications are reviewed each year without reference to past applications.

If I am a first year graduate student, can I apply?
Participants must be KU students enrolled in a Ph.D. program. Often the Fellows group is composed of a wide range of students in terms of years of experience in their program. However, more senior Ph.D. students tend to participate more frequently, likely because they have had more time to demonstrate their interest in interdisciplinary engagement through research projects, writing, etc.

If I am a KU student in a school other than the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, am I eligible to apply?
Yes. IPSR is a research center for social scientists from across the KU-Lawrence campus. Any student regardless of their school is eligible to participate. However, the student must be enrolled in a Ph.D. program in a social science discipline, or be actively engaged in research with a social science perspective. Students from fields that incorporate social science theory and methods are welcome, including education, social welfare, public policy, and journalism, among others.

Here is what past Fellows said about the program:

"As someone just starting their dissertation, I found that the Fellows program really helped me think through my project. Being surrounded by people who were at different stages of their research was really instructive in seeing what worked for some people and what issues seemed to be part of the dissertation process. Additionally, all of the sessions were so useful in preparing me to think about a research agenda and the sorts of professional endeavors required within academia. I feel much more prepared--and much more enthusiastic--about diving into my dissertation after this year with the IPSR Fellows."

"I feel more well-rounded as an academic and better equipped as a young scholar to finish my dissertation and to enter the job market. Thank you!"

"The IPSR Fellows program has provided me with the opportunity to gain knowledge about a variety of research methods and learn about best practices in research from experienced and successful IPSR-affiliated faculty and fellowship alumni. Through the program I have gained valuable insight into successful navigation of the job market and routes to achieving professional academic goals (such as publishing and dissertation completion). I expect that these tools will benefit me immensely as I enter a competitive job market and continue to develop as an academic."

Click here to view previous IPSR Doctoral Research Fellows.

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