Skip to main content

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 2023, 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 2023, 18 doctoral students will each be awarded $4,000 for pre-dissertation research and participate in virtual, faculty-led proposal development workshops.

2023 applications and adviser recommendation forms are due by Monday, April 3 at 5:00 PM.

Dissertation Proposal Development Program Information Sessions

Please click the links below to register for virtual information sessions for the DPD Program

Please email Assistant Director for Academic Development Stephanie Brehm, PhD 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 application in summer 2023.


  •  $4,000 for summer research fellowship
  • Interdisciplinary faculty-led in-person workshops: June 13-15, 2023; September 6, 2023; and September 13-14, 2023 (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 Stephanie Brehm, PhD, at