Grants | 6 January 2020

Call for Grad Student Applications: UCSC SSRC Dissertation Proposal Development Program 2020



Deadline: Monday, February 3, 2020

Call: The Social Science Research Council’s Dissertation Proposal Development Program (SSRC-DPD) at UCSC is now accepting fellowship applications for a 12-student 2020 cohort. The SSRC-DPD program supports dissertation proposal development through interdisciplinary faculty and peer feedback; training in key research and related professional skills; discussion of a range of social science and humanistic methodologies; creation of a community of graduate student researchers; and practical workshop activities to advance PhD students’ progress towards candidacy and dissertation research/writing. This program is hosted by The Humanities Institute in conjunction with the Division of Graduate Studies, with support from the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Arts Divisions. Click here to learn more about the SSRC-DPD program and past UCSC fellows.

Faculty Co-Facilitators:

Miriam Greenberg, Professor of Sociology
Deborah Gould, Associate Professor of Sociology

Award: Each award includes:

● $5000 summer funding to support exploratory research (six weeks minimum) in Summer 2020. Successful proposals will demonstrate specific need to use particular archives and collections, conduct interviews and/or ethnographic investigations, conduct oral histories, consult with important experts and informants, gather film or recorded documentation, etc. Time spent primarily in language preparation, surveying basic scholarly literature, course preparation and teaching, or other research activity, workshops, or conferences not clearly connected with the prospective dissertation topic will be evaluated less favorably.

● Five Spring Quarter 2020 workshops designed to prepare students to conduct dissertation research and for prospectus and funding proposal writing. Workshops will be held on Friday, April 10 9-11AM; Tuesday April 14, 1:30-4:30PM; Friday, May 1, 9AM-Noon; Friday, May 15, 9AM-Noon; and Friday, May 29, 9AM-Noon. Attendance is mandatory for all Fellows.

● Two workshops immediately prior to the start of Fall Quarter, on September 24 and 25, 2020, 9AM-Noon, where Fellows will present results of summer research and receive additional feedback on their dissertation prospectus/funding proposals. Attendance is mandatory for all Fellows.


UCSC PhD students in the Division of Social Sciences, the Division of Humanities, or the Division of Arts may apply, with the following restrictions:

  • Applicants must be currently registered (not on leave) to apply and must plan to be registered and in Santa Cruz during the Spring 2020 quarter.
  • Applicants must be in year two or three of their PhD program at present. Applications from students in other years will not be considered.
  • Applicants must be in good academic standing.
  • Previously awarded SSRC-DPD fellows are not eligible.

Guidelines for Application:

Applications should be submitted as a single PDF, including all elements listed below (except the letter of recommendation which should be emailed to Incomplete applications will not be considered.

  • Confirmation that you can attend and actively participate in the five Spring and two Fall workshops (dates listed above).
  • A list of courses—course title / instructor / department—taken as a PhD student at UCSC.
  • A summer research budget, with a breakdown of funds requested and a short description and justification of the uses. (250-word maximum)
  • One letter of recommendation confirming support for the applicant’s participation in the SSRC-DPD, either from the proposed advisor or from the Graduate Director of the applicant’s PhD program. The letter writer should evaluate the student’s potential to contribute to an interdisciplinary social sciences/humanistic graduate researcher cohort, discuss the potential benefits to the student from participation in the UCSC SSRC-DPD Program, and confirm that the student is able to participate in all workshops listed above. (Letters should be emailed to
  • Project description that discusses how your proposed summer research relates to and will help to develop your prospective dissertation. Please include all of the below sections, observing the following guidelines and word limits:
    1. Abstract of your proposed dissertation project. (150-word maximum)
    2. Introduction of your research topic to an academic reader unfamiliar with your specific topic and disciplinary approach. What is the central research question or problem you want to investigate? In what ways is your project timely, important, or relevant? (400-word maximum)
    3. What original contribution do you expect your dissertation to make to the existing literature on your prospective topic? (300-word maximum)
    4. What sources, sites, and time periods do you propose to investigate in your dissertation research, and what are the justifications for focusing on them? (300-word maximum)
    5. Describe your methodological approach for the investigation and analysis of your research materials. (300-word maximum)
    6. Describe the exploratory research you propose to conduct this summer. What type of research will you conduct (e.g., interviews, field work, participant observation, database analysis, archival or library work, etc.) and where? How do you expect this exploratory research to affect your dissertation? (400-word maximum)
    7. Provide up to 10 bibliographic references that inform your approach to your topic. This is not intended to be an exhaustive scholarly survey of the major literature in your field. Choose works that indicate your basic topical, theoretical, and/or methodological approach, and works that have been particularly influential in shaping your research direction.


*PLEASE NOTE: You must be logged into your Google account to use this application form.

Questions? Please contact Irena Polić, Managing Director, THI; or 831.459.1780.