Doctoral Fellowship

Location: New York, NY or Oakland, CA
Job Code: 9102-10F


As part of its Gueron Minority Scholars Program, MDRC will offer up to two fellowships in summer 2019 to doctoral candidates who are pursuing independent, self-directed research on economic and social problems affecting low-income Americans. The goal of the program is to provide opportunities for graduate students to gain exposure to social policy research, understand employment options beyond the academic and public sectors, and get the advice and support of MDRC’s staff in completing their dissertations. The Gueron Minority Scholars Program seeks to engage and encourage individuals from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in the education and social policy research communities.

Dedicated to learning what works to improve the well-being of low-income families, MDRC has created this special financial assistance program for students enrolled in doctoral programs in economics, psychology, sociology, child development, child welfare, family relations, criminal justice, education, public policy, or related fields.

The fellow could work in either MDRC’s Oakland, CA, or New York City office. The fellowship is expected to begin in the summer and last for approximately two months, though there is some flexibility in the timing.

Our project work is conducted in five policy areas: Family Well-Being and Child Development; K-12 Education; Postsecondary Education; Low-Wage Workers and Communities; and Youth Development, Criminal Justice, and Employment. Fellows will work on their doctoral dissertations while participating in the intellectual life of MDRC, attending seminars and project meetings, and working with key MDRC research staff. Fellows will also be expected to give a presentation of their research to the MDRC community.

A stipend and office space will be provided. Fellows are expected to secure their own housing.


Who: Any student enrolled in a doctoral program in economics, psychology, sociology, child development, child welfare, family relations, criminal justice, education, public policy, or related fields who has had a dissertation proposal or prospectus approved by his or her academic department.

Why: To pursue independent dissertation research on a policy issue related to low-income individuals, families, and communities while sharing in the intellectual life of MDRC.

Compensation: The fellowship includes a stipend of up to $5,000, which is disbursed in three installments following the fellowship start date.

Deadline: All application materials should be submitted by Friday, April 5, 2019.

To Apply:

Using the on-line application form, please submit:

  • A curriculum vitae or résumé, including academic and work experience.
  • A copy of your unofficial graduate school transcript(s), which must document your status as a registered student.
  • A letter from the academic department or registrar confirming that the applicant’s dissertation proposal or prospectus has been approved by his or her academic department.
  • A proposal (up to 2,000 words) that discusses the rationale for the research project you plan to pursue. Include a statement of the research question, the data you will be using, the analytic approach you are taking, its relevance to education or social policy, the steps needed to complete the project, and how you believe a doctoral fellowship at MDRC will aid you in meeting your proposed research goals.

Using email (sent to, please submit:

  • Two letters of recommendation, including one from a sponsoring faculty member. Peer recommendations are not acceptable. The recommenders (not the applicants) should email the letters directly to MDRC’s Human Resources Department at Include in the subject line “GMS Doctoral Fellowship/Attn: SaraJane David or Servina Cortez.”

Only candidates selected for further consideration will be contacted.

MDRC is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. MDRC does not discriminate, and all qualified applications will receive consideration without regard to race; color; national origin; religion; creed; sex or gender (including sex stereotyping and gender identity or expression); sexual orientation; citizenship status; pregnancy; disability; age; military or veteran status; marital or partnership status; genetic information, genetic predisposition, or carrier status; prior unemployment status; consumer credit history; status as a victim of domestic violence, sex offenses, or stalking; or any other category protected by applicable federal, state, or local laws. Legal work authorization is required.

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