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West Coast Poverty Center

Dissertation Fellowships


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Call for Proposals - 2020-21 WCPC Dissertation Fellowships 

We invite applications from doctoral students at the University of Washington for the 2020-21 West Coast Poverty Center Dissertation Research Fellowship competition.  These one-quarter awards will support outstanding doctoral student dissertation research on poverty, poverty-related issues, and anti-poverty policy in the U.S. during Summer (or Spring) 2021. Doctoral candidates from any discipline may apply, but all applicants must be sponsored by a WCPC Faculty Affiliate. Applications must be submitted by 10:00 am on January 12, 2021.

About the Dissertation Fellowships

In this round of competition, the Center will award one quarter of support for 1-2 students completing dissertations on topics relating to the causes, consequences and effective responses to poverty and inequality in the U.S. Quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-method approaches are all encouraged.

The Dissertation Research Fellowships will provide tuition and a stipend (equivalent to .50 FTE at the University rate for Ph.D. candidates employed as Research Assistants) for one quarter. Preference will be given to applications requesting funds for Summer 2021; however, applications requesting funding for Spring 2021 will also be considered.

Proposals will be evaluated by an interdisciplinary group of WCPC faculty affiliates, and awards will be announced in February 2021.


Applicants must be Ph.D. students in good standing at the University of Washington. Applicants must have advanced to candidacy and have an approved dissertation plan at the start of the funding period.  Each applicant must have a sponsor who is a WCPC Faculty Affiliate. (The sponsor does not need to be the applicant’s faculty advisor). Priority will be given to applicants who are likely to complete their dissertation within 12 months of the start of the funding period.

Application Instructions

Please send the following application materials as a single PDF to by 10:00 am on January 12, 2021:

1.    Cover page with the following information:

  • Name, department, and contact information
  • Date of actual or expected advancement to candidacy
  • Expected date/quarter of completion
  • Requested quarter of support: Spring 2021 or Summer 2021
  • WCPC Faculty Affiliate sponsor’s name and department
  • Project title and abstract

 2. A description of the research project (not to exceed 10 double-spaced pages, excluding references), including:

  • Research questions and a brief literature review
  • The specific contribution of this research to the understanding of poverty and inequality and improving anti-poverty policy
  • Research design, methods, and data sources
  • Progress to date, including any preliminary findings and any other sources of support
  • A timeline for completion (if needed, describe the timeline for Human Subjects approval and/or obtaining the necessary agreements for access to data or subjects.)

      3. A brief candidate statement (no more than 1 double-spaced page) describing:

  • Any history of participation in WCPC courses such as the Seminar Series on Poverty and Policy or WCPC events
  • How the fellowship and connection with the West Coast Poverty Center will support the candidate’s development as a scholar
  • Planned or completed paper submissions and publications, conference presentations, receipt of fellowships or other support related to dissertation work
  • A brief description of plans for entering the job market

     4. A current CV

Letter of Support from a WCPC Faculty Affiliate

Applicants must also have a letter for support from a WCPC Faculty Affiliate which addresses their academic performance and promise, ability to complete the dissertation in a timely manner, and likely contributions of the dissertation to the scholarly literature on poverty. Faculty sponsors should send letters directly to by the application deadline (10:00am on January 12, 2021).


Stipends are intended to support candidates in the completion of their dissertations with uninterrupted writing and/or data analysis time during the Spring 2021 or Summer 2021 quarters and will not entail additional responsibilities as Research Assistants with the Center.

Please note that all dissertations requiring human subjects review must have approval before funding can be disbursed.

Within six weeks after the end of the Fellowship quarter, awardees must submit a brief report of activities during the funding period.  As a condition of the award, Fellows will also submit a paper (suitable for publication) from their dissertation to WCPC within 6 months of the end of the funding period.  Fellows may be asked to present their research at a WCPC forum (e.g., a Seminar or Roundtable) and the papers Fellows produce may be posted on the WCPC website.  

About the West Coast Poverty Center

The West Coast Poverty Center (WCPC) is a regional hub for research, education, and policy analysis leading to greater understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty and the effects of public policy on poverty in the West Coast states and beyond.  The Center also disseminates knowledge about effective state and local policies for addressing poverty to policy makers, practitioners and the community. The Center provides intellectual support and resources for outstanding doctoral students at the University of Washington who are conducting research on poverty-related issues in the U.S

The WCPC is a member of the U.S. Collaborative of Poverty Centers led by the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin and funded by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) in the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services.

Contact Information

Direct questions to: Shannon Harper, WCPC Deputy Director, at