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How to Apply

A cover letter is required for consideration of this position and should be attached as the first page of your resume.  The cover letter should indicate your starting availability, address your specific interest in the position, outline skills and experience that directly relate to this position, and indicate which work location you prefer.

After applicants submit their cover letter and resume, select candidates will be asked to complete an empirical exercise to demonstrate their knowledge and familiarity with one of the coding languages listed above.

Note:  This is a two-year fixed term position.  

Job Summary

The Criminal Justice Administrative Records System (CJARS) supports policy-relevant criminal justice research by providing high-quality educational and training experience to our growing team. We are seeking applications for a full-time Research Assistant position to join our diverse community of researchers.

As a Research Assistant, you will help us build the next-generation criminal justice data infrastructure that will support evidence-based criminal justice policy-making and administration. The CJARS project is administered through a partnership between the Population Studies Center Institute for Social Research (ISR) at the University of Michigan and the US Census Bureau.

Joining the CJARS team will help you build skills in data management, data analysis, coding, and knowledge of the criminal justice system which will prepare you for continued graduate education or a career in research.


Under the direction of the project's Principal Investigators (PIs), the Research Assistant will engage in the following:

  • Data Science: assist with data processing, and development/refinement of algorithms that will help to build the CJARS data infrastructure.
  • Research: support various research projects and statistical reports by conducting reviews of current research, analyzing data, and writing summaries of research findings.
  • Software Development: develop, maintain, expand, and improve automation of currently existing web scraping infrastructure.

The selected candidate will need to possess the following:

  • The ability to work independently in a fast-paced environment with strong project management skills, exceptional attention to detail, and the ability to exercise sound judgment.
  • Exceptional time management skills with a proven ability to multitask and prioritize to successfully complete projects on tight deadlines with little supervision.

Required Qualifications*

  • A Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field with one or more years of relevant work experience;
  • Proven ability to code in at least one of the following languages: R, Stata, SAS, Python, or SQL;
  • Must pass a federal background investigation to secure Special Sworn Status with the US Census Bureau.

Desired Qualifications*

  • Familiarity with HTML and CSS; and
  • Knowledge and understanding of data science, probabilistic matching methods, or U.S. criminal justice research literature.  

Additional Information

This is a two-year position, ideal for candidates planning to apply to graduate programs in Economics, Public Policy, or other related fields. CJARS is an ideal environment for this because it opens up the cadre of resources available to employees of the Institute for Social Research. As an employee of ISR you will be able to take advantage of training and educational workshops, interact and network with faculty and staff, enroll in classes for credit at UM, and become a part of a diverse research community.

The Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce as a reflection of our commitment to serve the diverse people of Michigan, to maintain the excellence of the university, and to ground our research in varied disciplines, perspectives, and ways of knowing and learning. This position includes health benefits detailed in the link below. All University of Michigan policies, practices, and procedures applicable to your classification title apply to your employment.  Please explore “Working at U-M” for additional information regarding benefits and employment:

ISR job openings are posted for a minimum of fourteen (14) calendar days. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. This posting may be removed at any time after the minimum posting period has ended.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.