Due Date: 02/03/15
Amount: Up to $5,000
Contact: Josh DeWind, Program Director, Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship (DPDF)
Social Science Research Council



Social Science Research Council (SSRC) - USA



  • The Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship (DPDF) Student Fellowship Competition is organized to help graduate students in the humanities and social sciences formulate effective research proposals through exploratory research and exchanges with other scholars within interdisciplinary areas of study.
  • Each year, the program offers dissertation proposal development workshops led by pairs of tenured senior faculty who define emerging or reinvigorated interdisciplinary research fields. These research field directors lead groups of 12 graduate students through two multi-day workshops during the fellowship cycle. The spring workshop helps students focus their research questions and prepare them for summer exploratory research that will inform the design of dissertation proposals. The fall workshop helps students apply their summer research experiences to writing dissertation research proposals for their departments or funding agencies. DPDF Workshops for all fields are held in the United States at the same time and place, except for the spring workshops of fields labeled “international fields,” which meet overseas.
  • Working together with faculty research directors, graduate students design research that will help to shape evolving fields in the humanities and social sciences. All of the program’s activities seek to create professional networks that will have value throughout the participants’ research careers.
  • Each year, the DPDF program selects five or more fields of study for dissertation research proposal training, choosing emerging or reinvigorating fields that address broad public concerns and can be approached from multiple intellectual, societal, and geographic orientations. Each field centers on a core set of issues and questions that can valuably be addressed through the intellectual perspectives and research styles of different humanities and social science disciplines. Usually, at least one research field is formed through an international partnership with a non-US research institution, expanding the potential for cross-national dialogue.
  • The 2014 DPDF Research Fields are:

    • Development and Migration (International Field)
    • Immigrants and Their Homeland Connections: Transnationalism in Historical Perspective
    • Making the Biotech Body: Technologies, Knowledge, and Global Markets
    • Modernity and Autochthony: The Question of Land-Based Group Identity
    • Oceanic Studies: Seas as Sites and Subjects of Interdisciplinary Inquiry
    • State Building and Governance in Retrospect and Prospect
  • Potential applicants are asked to review carefully the current research field descriptions to assess into which research field, if any, their project might fit best.

Eligibility Details:

  • Applicants must be currently enrolled full time in PhD programs at accredited universities within the United States. The “international field” is open to students enrolled in PhD programs within the United States and the United Kingdom. Review each research field’s description for specific information. Applicants must have completed at least two full years of graduate study by the end of the 2013-2014 academic year (including study toward a master’s degree at their current or previous institution).
  • Students based at U.S. institutions: Applicants must be on track to obtain approval of their dissertation proposals within their doctoral programs after the conclusion of the fall workshop but no later than the end of the 2014-2015 academic year. Similarly, applicants must also be on track to complete all other precandidacy/pre-ABD requirements by the end of the 2014-2015 academic year.
  • Students who have already submitted proposals to funding agencies for support of dissertation research are no longer eligible to apply to the DPDF Program.