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  H o m e




Doctoral Fellow applications

Application materials for those seeking to join the program in
AY 2015-2016
will be available by
March 2015.
Anticipated deadline: Late April or early May 2015.

Interested students may view last year's materials for general informational purposes.

:: Download brochure (12 pp)
:: Download application form (4 pp)
:: Recommendation waiver form (1 pp)

(Now closed)
Friday, May 30, 2014


Students may submit the application via email if they wish. The application form and recommendation form are writable PDF forms that may be downloaded, completed, and then saved for submission as email attachments. Applicants are urged to save the documents to their computer before beginning any edits and then to test the save process before completing the application form in its entirety. (Mac-users: See additional troubleshooting notes below).

The completed application for electronic submission will thus consist of the following six items, with items 1-4 collated in a single PDF document and sent to inequality@harvard.edu. (The two recommendation waiver forms can be sent as separate attachments to the same address).

  • Application form
  • Research statement
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Unofficial transcript

  • Recommendation #1 waiver form
  • Recommendation #2 waiver form

PLUS two recommendation letters to be sent separately:

  • Two recommendation letters (to be submitted directly by faculty members).

    Applicants should highlight for their recommenders that email submission is encouraged, and that those writing on behalf of multiple students may opt to submit a single letter that briefly evaluates each student in turn. Contingent on the program's funding renewal, the program aims to admit pproximately 8-12 fellows.


Troubleshooting for Mac users:

These writable PDF application forms work best when completed with the free Adobe Reader for Macintosh, which may be downloaded from the Adobe site.

In contrast, the Mac Preview app does not fully support forms, meaning that your saved pdf form data may not be visible on a Windows machine and may not print correctly from Windows. This does not generally pose a problem at this end—i.e., we can generally see the data and have found a fix for the printing issues. But if Mac users have any concerns about this, we would recommend using the free Adobe Reader to complete the forms rather than Mac Preview or other alternatives.



Harvard Ph.D. students may apply at the end of their G-1 or G-2 year of graduate study for entry into the program in the upcoming academic year. (That is, students who will be G-2s or G-3s in September 2015 are eligible to apply).

The Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality & Social Policy is designed for Harvard Ph.D. students in the social sciences, including AAAS, Economics, Education, Government, Health Policy, Political Economy and Government, Psychology, Public Policy, Sociology, and Social Policy. The curriculum focuses primarily on research from the disciplines of economics, political science, sociology, and social policy. Students with an appropriate social science background from these or other Harvard doctoral programs are eligible to apply.

Both US and international students are now fully eligible for Inequality fellowship awards. Although the program began as a National Science Foundation initiative, it is now supported from non-governmental sources, enabling US and international students to participate equally.

Application timing issues

Alhough applicants may apply at the end of their G-1 or G-2 year, students are urged to apply at the end of their 1st year whenever possible, since the additional coursework Marty West (Government & Social Policy), David Evans (Economics), and Dean David Ellwoodand other training activities are best fulfilled at an early stage in students' graduate careers.

Applicants selected for the program will be notified in June and begin the proseminar sequence and other training activities in the coming September. Once selected for the program, Doctoral Fellows generally maintain an affiliation with the program through the dissertation stage of their work.


Recommended preparation

The proseminar sequence will require some facility with quantitative methods, and it is strongly recommended that all applicants have taken two graduate-level courses in quantitative empirical research methods by the time they are to begin the proseminar.

In the application itself, much weight is placed on the statement of purpose. In general, the strongest applications will outline a compelling research agenda, with a clear question or set of questions that might form the basis for the student's empirical research in the Inequality program. While the selection committee recognizes that most applicants are still at an early stage, applicants are advised to approach the statement much like a research proposal, outlining with as much specificity as possible why this is an important question or area of inquiry, what preliminary ideas or hypotheses they have, and how they might go about investigating them.

A final note: relationship to departmental programs

The Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality & Social Policy is a graduate training program developed by the National Science Foundation, an initiative designed to enrich and extend the work of Harvard Ph.D. students in their disciplinary fields. The Multidisciplinary Program is not itself a degree-granting program and should not be confused with the Harvard Ph.D. Program in Social Policy, although the two share some of the same curricular features. Doctoral Fellows in the Multidisciplinary Program remain doctoral candidates in their home departments, firmly grounded in their home discipline and subject to all the usual requirements of their home Ph.D. program. The Multidisciplinary Program will coordinate closely with departments to minimize the number of additional obligations, while still providing meaningful training opportunities in the form of seminars, research experiences, and a productive network of scholars.

What the Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality & Social Policy does provide is an extra-disciplinary complement to the traditional program of study. It aims to enrich students' understanding of the complexities of inequality and social policy and to strengthen their capacities to carry out sophisticated research in this domain.

Doctoral candidates drawn from different disciplines gain opportunities they might not otherwise have to interact and learn from each other, from Harvard faculty drawn from across the University, and from the program's extensive network of National Fellows and European Network on Inequality partners.




A National Science Foundation IGERT program :: IGERT National Recruitment Program

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