Penn Arts and Sciences

Predissertation Fellowship to Summer Institute on Inequality (May 26-June 3, 2015)

Application Deadline: April 15, 2015
Application Link:

See information on past years' Summer Institutes here.

The Penn Social Science and Policy Forum is pleased to announce its third Summer Institute for Predissertation Students to be held in May and June of 2015. Under the leadership of SSPF Director Thomas Sugrue of the University of Pennsylvania and Professor John Skrentny of the University of California-San Diego, this program will provide opportunities for talented doctoral students in the social sciences to visit the University of Pennsylvania campus to explore research topics and scholarship related to the theme of Inequality.

Over a period of 9 days, this program will provide a mix of visiting speakers, seminars, and workshops designed to expose students in a close-knit group to cutting-edge qualitative and quantitative research on a variety of inequality-related topics, which in past years have included poverty; labor force participation; income and wealth disparities; the impact of race and ethnicity; spatial dynamics; educational gaps; and social and economic policies that address inequalities.  A major goal is to spur innovative approaches to topics of great social and academic significance and to foster interdisciplinary discussion of issues that cut across conventional social scientific boundaries. 

The invited students will participate in daily workshops in a lively but informal atmosphere, building networks with fellow students and leading scholars from multiple disciplines as well as policymakers.

During the final stage of the program, students deliver short presentations to the group on their research plans or interests going forward.

Students will receive a $1000 fellowship (which they may use to help defray travel expenses) plus housing and most meals.


Applicants must be in the predissertation phase of their graduate career, prior to the defense of their dissertation proposal.  This includes students who range from having no clear idea of a dissertation topic to those who have a topic in mind, but are still working to refine their proposal.

Our goal is to bring together students from a broad mix of social science disciplines, including anthropology, economics, education, history, political science, public policy, and sociology, and related fields. We seek motivated applicants of great promise who have yet to begin their dissertations but who have already decided to pursue research related to inequality. While much of the program will focus on the United States, a comparative perspective is encouraged. The target cohort size is ten students, who will be expected to attend seminar and speaker sessions as well as workshops and social events.

Application information

To apply for the Penn Social Science and Policy Forum Summer Institute on Inequality, please submit the following materials to Interfolio here.

1. Cover sheet that includes

     Home Department
     Dates of enrollment
     Date PhD Expected
     Year in PhD Program
     Date/Expected Date of Qualifying or Field Exams
     Expected Date of Dissertation Proposal Defense

2.  Your C.V.

3.  A 500-word statement explaining probable research focus, including a description of any relevant research you have conducted thus far.

4.  Two letters of recommendation.

5.  A current transcript.


Applications are due Wednesday, April 15, 2015 no later than 11:59pm EST. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

© 2018 The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania