West Coast Poverty Center

WCPC Dissertation Fellowships

4/25/22: Please note that we have revised the call for applications and forms to clarify some language and have extended the due date for applications. All materials must now be received by 10am on 5/20/22.

We invite applications from University of Washington-Seattle doctoral students for the 2022 West Coast Poverty Center Dissertation Research Fellowship competition. The purposes of this funding are two-fold: (1) to encourage scholarship on poverty-related topics; and (2) to promote equity, inclusion, diversity and access to academic poverty research careers.

Support may be requested for the Fall 2022 or Winter 2023 quarters.

Doctoral candidates from any discipline may apply, but all applicants must be sponsored by a WCPC Faculty Affiliate. Applications for all quarters must be submitted by 10:00 am on May 20, 2022. Awards will be announced by mid-June.

In this round of competition, the Center will be offering one quarter of support to 1-2 UW students proposing or working on dissertations on topics relating to the causes, consequences and effective responses to poverty and inequality in the United States. 

Fellowship support is intended to promote equity, inclusion, diversity and access to academic poverty research careers. Students with a demonstrated interest and/or active role in advancing the research and career interests of those who may be underrepresented in the field of academic poverty research are encouraged to apply. Underrepresentation exists in various forms, and may include experience overcoming adversity, lived experience of economic disadvantage, experience with educational disadvantage, and other comparable experiences. Applicants are expected to note how their dissertation or subsequent career plans will advance, and will be asked to share how their relevant experiences and accomplishments will promote, the goals of the fellowship.  

Applicants must have completed at least the first two years of doctoral study (for programs that admit directly to the doctoral program) or have completed two years of graduate study and have been admitted to their department’s PhD program (for programs that do not admit directly to the doctoral program).  Students must have completed all program-related requirements prior to the dissertation proposal, including general or comprehensive exams and any applicable Masters degree work. Current second year students who are on track to meet these requirements before their award period can apply, but funding will be contingent upon achieving planned pre-dissertation milestones. The fellowship will provide tuition and a stipend (equivalent to .50 FTE at the University rate for Academic Student Employees). 

Proposals are invited from UW doctoral students whose dissertation is (or will be) focused on issues related to poverty and economic mobility. Applicants must be PhD students in good standing at the University of Washington in Seattle. Applicants for dissertation completion funding must have advanced to PhD candidacy and have an approved dissertation plan (and any required IRB approval) at the start of the funding period.  

Each applicant must have a sponsor who is a WCPC Faculty Affiliate and that sponsor must submit a letter of support for the student’s application by 10am on May 20, 2022. (The sponsor does not need to be the applicant’s faculty advisor).

Application materials (not including the letter of support from a WCPC faculty affiliate) must be uploaded as a single PDF using this Google form by 10:00 am on May 20, 2022:

1. Cover page with the following information:

  • Name, department, and email address
  • Quarter for which you are applying  (Fall 2022 or Winter 2023)
  • Progress to date in your program, including the following information (quarter and year is sufficient) and any other program-specific information as appropriate:
    • Date of doctoral program entry
    •  Date / anticipated date of general examination completion
    • Date / anticipated date of prospectus defense
    • Anticipated date of dissertation defense
  •  WCPC Faculty Affiliate sponsor’s name and department
  •  Dissertation title / anticipated title and 200 word abstract or topic description
  1. A description of the project  (Text should not exceed 5 single-spaced pages of 12 point Ariel, Calibri, or Times New Roman font with 12 point spaces between paragraphs and 1” margins.  Shorter project descriptions are welcomed. References can be in addition to the 5 pages.)

 For dissertation proposal preparation applicants:

  1.  Research interest and planned dissertation topic.  Please describe the potential contribution of research in this area to the understanding of poverty and inequality and improving anti-poverty policy
  2.  Progress and preparations to date, including any related coursework, connections with faculty, and any other sources of support
  3.  A timeline for completion of a dissertation proposal

For dissertation completion applicants:

  1.  Research questions and a brief literature review
  2.  The specific contribution of this research to the understanding of poverty and inequality and improving anti-poverty policy
  3.  Research design, methods, and data sources
  4.  Progress to date, including any preliminary findings and any other sources of support
  5.  A timeline for completion (if needed, describe the timeline for Human Subjects approval and/or obtaining the necessary agreements for access to data or subjects.)

3. A candidate statement with brief descriptions of the following elements(Text should not exceed 2 single-spaced pages of 12 point Ariel, Calibri, or Times New Roman font with 12 point spaces between paragraphs and 1” margins.)

  •  Career goals and their relation to poverty scholarship.
  • Any history of participation in WCPC courses such as the Seminar Series on Poverty and Policy or WCPC events
  •  How the fellowship and connection with the West Coast Poverty Center will support the candidate’s development as a scholar
  •  Any planned or completed paper submissions and publications, conference presentations, receipt of fellowships or other support related to the dissertation or graduate studies
  • A brief description of plans/timeline for entering the job market (dissertation completion applicants only) 
  • Dissertation or subsequent career plans that will advance the goals of the fellowship.
  • Relevant experiences and accomplishments that will promote the goals of the fellowship.
  1. A current CV

Applicants must also have a letter for support from a WCPC Faculty Affiliate which addresses their academic performance and promise as a scholar. For dissertation proposal applicants, please note any support available to the student for shaping their research ideas.  For dissertation completion applicants, please comment on applicants’ ability to complete the dissertation in a timely manner, and likely contributions of the dissertation to the scholarly literature on poverty. Faculty sponsors should upload letters using this Google Form by the application deadline (10:00am on May 20, 2022).

WCPC will verify awardees’ progress with their doctoral program director before finalizing awards.

Stipends are intended to support candidates with uninterrupted writing and/or data analysis time during the award quarter. Other than the reporting requirements noted below, the fellowship does not entail any work for WCPC. Applicants must disclose and get WCPC director approval for any other paid work at or outside the university during the quarter of support.  

For dissertation completion awards, please note that all dissertations requiring human subjects review must have approval before funding can be disbursed.

Within six weeks after the end of the Fellowship quarter, awardees must submit a brief report about activities during the funding period.  Dissertation completion Fellows are asked to share copies of any publications coming out of their dissertation research and may be asked to present their research at a WCPC forum (e.g., a Seminar or Roundtable).

The West Coast Poverty Center (WCPC) is a regional hub for research, education, and policy analysis leading to greater understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty and the effects of public policy on poverty in the West Coast states and beyond.  The Center also disseminates knowledge about effective state and local policies for addressing poverty to policy makers, practitioners and the community. The Center provides intellectual support and resources for outstanding doctoral students at the University of Washington who are conducting research on poverty-related issues in the U.S

The WCPC is a member of the U.S. Collaborative of Poverty Centers led by the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin.

Direct questions to: Shannon Harper, WCPC Deputy Director, at wcpc@uw.edu