U-M’s Ford School partners with other leading US policy schools to diversify, support PhD applicants

Pilot predoctoral program prepares policy school graduates to pursue academic careers, broadening and diversifying pipeline for future faculty

March 18, 2021
Contact: Rebecca Cohen rebcohen@umich.edu,
Jeff Karoub jkaroub@umich.edu

The University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy will launch a new predoctoral research program—in partnership with a consortium of leading policy schools—that seeks to expand and broaden research fellowship and faculty mentorship opportunities for public policy master’s degree graduates.

Focusing on graduates from a diverse set of experiences with an interest in and aptitude for academic research careers in public policy, the Predoctoral Program in Policy’s goal is to build a more diverse pipeline for doctoral programs and future policy school faculty members.

The innovative pilot program also includes New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy and the University of California, Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy. It seeks to increase opportunities in academic policy research for those who have experienced financial hardship, are first-generation college students, or who come from an educational, cultural or geographic background that is underserved in related doctoral programs.

Recognizing that substantial research experience and individual mentorship are key to successful admission to top Ph.D. programs, the new program matches exceptional graduates of professional master’s degree programs in public policy and administration with opportunities for research training, additional coursework and faculty mentorship needed to prepare for an academic career.

The program will launch as a pilot in the academic year 2021-22, offering a limited number of up to two-year, funded predoctoral research fellowship opportunities spanning diverse policy areas as represented by faculty interests at the consortium institutions. These full-time, funded research positions will be coupled with intensive mentorship and support for the Ph.D. application process and opportunities to network with fellow participants across institutions.

“I am thrilled to join my fellow deans in the consortium in building this new predoctoral training opportunity,” said Ford School Dean Michael Barr. “The Ford School looks forward to welcoming predoctoral fellows as part of our strategy to expand opportunities in academic research in public policy for those who too often are underrepresented in the field.”

The program is open to graduates of any of the participating institutions’ master’s degree programs who completed their programs in 2020 or will have completed their program by summer 2021. Those selected will work for up to two years as full-time research fellows for a faculty member, gaining intensive experience, coaching and mentorship in preparation for applying to a Ph.D. program in a policy-related field.

Applications for the upcoming academic year have opened. More information on the Predoctoral Program in Policy, application requirements and research opportunities are available online.


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