Grants | 10 January 2019

Call for Grad Student Applications: SSRC Dissertation Proposal Development Program 2019


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New DeadlineFriday, February 8, 2019

Call: We are soliciting applications for 12 students to participate in the Social Science Research Council’s Dissertation Proposal Development (SSRC-DPD) program. The SSRC-DPD program supports dissertation proposal development through interdisciplinary peer discussion and faculty perspectives; training in key research and related professional skills; introduction to a range of social science, cultural, and humanistic methodologies; and practical workshop activities to advance PhD students’ progress towards candidacy and dissertation research/writing. This grant funded 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 current UCSC fellows.

Faculty Co-Lead Administrators:
Grace Peña Delgado, Associate Professor of History
Deborah Gould, Associate Professor of Sociology

Award: Each award includes:

● $5000 summer funding for support of exploratory research (six weeks minimum) in Summer 2019. 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 competing research activity, workshop, or conferences not clearly connected with the prospective dissertation topic will be evaluated less favorably.

● Mandatory participation in all five Spring 2019 Quarter workshops and cohort activities. Workshops will be held on Friday, April 12 9-12 PM; Friday April 19, 9-12 PM; Friday, April 26, 9-12 PM; Friday, May 3, 9-12 PM, and Friday, May 10, 9-12 PM to prepare students to conduct dissertation research and for prospectus and funding proposal writing; regular attendance is mandatory for all participants. Workshops will be in the Humanities Building on campus.

● Two final workshops on September 16 and 17, 2019 to present results of summer research and preparation for writing dissertation prospectus / funding proposals. Attendance is mandatory. Workshops will be in the Humanities Building on campus.


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

a) Applicants must be currently registered (not on leave) to apply and must plan to be registered and in Santa Cruz during the Spring 2019 quarter.

b) Applicants must be in year two or three of their PhD program in the 2018-19 academic year. No applications from students in other years will be accepted.

c) Applicants must be in good academic standing.

d) Previously awarded SSRC-DPD fellows are not eligible.

Guidelines for Application:

Applications should be submitted as a single PDF, including all elements listed below. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

1) Confirmation that you can attend and actively participate in all mandatory research and dissertation proposal development workshops in Spring 2019 and two summer workshops held on September 16 and 17, 2019.

2) A list of courses, including course title / instructor / department, taken as a PhD student at UCSC.

3) Discuss how your proposed summer research relates to and helps develop your prospective dissertation topic. Please provide each part requested, observing the following guidelines and word limits:

a. Abstract (150-word maximum)
b. Introduction of your research topic to an academic reader unfamiliar with your specific topic, region of study, and disciplinary approach. What is your central research question or problem you want to investigate? In what ways is your project timely, important, or relevant? (400-word maximum)
c. What original contribution do you expect your dissertation to make to the existing literature on your prospective topic? (300-word maximum)
d. 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)
e. Describe your methodological approach for the investigation and analysis of your research materials. (300-word maximum)
f. Describe the exploratory research you propose to conduct this summer. What type of research (eg. interviews, field observation, database analysis, archival or library work, etc.) will you conduct and where? How do you expect this exploratory research to affect your dissertation? (400-word maximum)
g. Provide up to 10 references to research literature (books, papers, etc.) that informs your approach to your topic. This is not intended to be an exhaustive scholarly survey of 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.

4) A summer research budget, with a breakdown of funds requested and a short description and justification of the uses. (250-word maximum)

5) 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. In addition to an evaluation of the student’s potential to contribute to an interdisciplinary social sciences/humanistic graduate researcher cohort and the potential benefits of the student’s participation in the UCSC-SSRC program, the letter writer should commit to meeting prior to and following the program (March-September) to discuss student goals and progress with the faculty program leads; and finally, the letter should confirm student participation in all proposal development workshops stated above. (Letters should be emailed to


*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.