Doctoral Fellowship at MDRC

As part of its Gueron Scholars Program, MDRC will offer one fellowship in summer 2020 to a doctoral candidate who is 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 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 2020 fellow could work in MDRC’s New York City, Oakland, CA, or Washington, DC, 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 work on their doctoral dissertations on topics of mutual interest and participate in the intellectual life of MDRC by attending seminars and project meetings and by working with key MDRC research staff. Fellows are also 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 Monday, March 30, 2020. Applicant materials will be reviewed after the application deadline.

To Apply:

Using the Taleo on-line application, please submit:
  • A curriculum vitae or résumé, including academic and work experience.
  • A copy of your graduate school unofficial 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 “GSP 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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