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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. 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. 

Learn from past DPD participants.

Deadlines and Application

  • Summer 2020 application form was due Thursday, March 5, 2020 by 5:00 PM (adviser recommendation form due at the same time).


Applicants must be second- or third-year humanities and qualitative social science doctoral students who are prepared to research and write their dissertation prospectus and/or research funding proposal/fellowship application in summer 2020.


  • Up to $4,000 for summer research funding
  • Interdisciplinary faculty-led workshops: June 15-17, 2020 (virtual); September 11, 2020; and September 25-27, 2020 (must attend all 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