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Dissertation Proposal Development Program

In 2016, Northwestern was chosen by the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) as one of five universities to bring together humanities and social science scholars in pre-doctoral research summer institutes. In 2024, faculty from across clusters, certificates, and disciplines actively guide 18 humanities and social science PhD students, who are in their second and third years, in designing effective research questions, methodologies, contexts, and interventions. Participants gain practical, theoretical, and writing insights from experienced faculty and other students outside their disciplines. Throughout this program, students build their professional networks and audiences, benefit from interdisciplinary mentorship, and engage in conversations that lead to innovative dissertation projects. 

You can read more about the program in this Social Science Research Council article.

Learn from past DPD participants.

Deadlines and Application

In 2024, 18 doctoral students will each be awarded $4,000 for pre-dissertation research and participate in faculty-led proposal development workshops.

2024 student applications and adviser recommendation forms are now open and are due by Tuesday, April 2 at 5:00 PM.

Dissertation Proposal Development Program Information Session
TGS will host a virtual information session for the DPD Program on Friday, March 15 at 11AM. Please click here to register.

Please email the TGS Academic Affairs team at with any questions.


Applicants must be second- or third-year humanities and qualitative social science doctoral students who are prepared to research and write research funding/fellowship proposals/fellowship applications in summer 2024.


  •  $4,000 for summer research fellowship
  • Interdisciplinary faculty-led in-person workshops: June 11-13, 2024; and September 11-12, 2024 (must attend all in-person workshops in their entirety to be eligible)
  • Professional network-building opportunities and guidance in designing effective, interdisciplinary research questions, methodologies, contexts, and interventions


For more information, contact the TGS Academic Affairs team, at