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UC Santa Cruz is one of five universities to take part in the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) University Initiative program. With a three year grant from SSRC, we are launching a Dissertation Proposal Development program meant to promote interdisciplinary scholarship and train doctoral students to apply these approaches in the early stages of their graduate careers.

At UCSC, the SSRC-DPD project 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. As students shift from coursework and exploratory research to independent, original research, they will learn from their peers and benefit from the program’s emphasis on communicating across disciplinary boundaries.

SSRC Faculty Co-Lead Administrators


Grace Delgado, Associate Professor of History
Debbie Gould, Associate Professor of Sociology


Grace Delgado, Associate Professor of History
Miriam Greenberg, Professor of Sociology


SSRC Fellows

Since the start of the grant, 30 UCSC graduate students have benefitted from the DPD program. See our latest cohort of SSRC Fellows (2017-2018).


  • Established Communal Expectations and Behaviors for Proposal Commenting

    1. The research endeavor is fundamentally collaborative. “We/I research with…” 
    2. Framing research questions are about the research itself. 
    3. When our research is the subject of critique, we/I will respond to the critique directly.
    4. We/I listen with openness and compassion.
    5. We/I strive to stretch in our/my knowledge base.
    6. We/I see gaps in our/my research as opportunities.
    7. We/I strive to participate in the collaborative construction of ideas.
    8. We/I strive to be in empathic in both the receiving and giving of feedback.
    9. We/I strive to be comfortable in our/my unknowingness


    Built on SSRC Norms and Values

  • This presentation addresses what materials you collect & how you read them as well as how you organize your research materials to open up the possibility of unexpected links between ideas and objects. There is no magic tool. It takes time, planning, organization, and a commitment to maintaining structures that can help define new ways of knowing and seeing.


    1. Ryan Cordell, ‘Q i-jtb the Raven’: Taking Dirty OCR Seriously

    2. Miriam Posner, Humanities Data: A Necessary Contradiction

    3. Alyssa Goodman et al., Ten Simple Rules for the Care and Feeding of Scientific Data


    Qualitative Data Tools
    Presentation by Kristy Golubiewski-Davis and Rachel Deblinger