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How to Apply

A cover letter and transcript is required for consideration for this position and should be combined into one pdf file with your resume. The cover letter should clearly address 1) the applicant’s faculty mentor of interest, 2)  interest in pursuing a doctoral program, 3) discuss skills and experience that are relevant to the required qualifications described in this posting, and 4) describe how the applicant’s educational, economic, cultural, or geographic background and personal experience will help achieve the program’s goal of increasing and diversifying the pool of pre-doctoral candidates in policy. Please also include the names of three professors who could be contacted for a reference.

Job Summary

The Pre-Doctoral Program in Policy is a unique opportunity for a diverse set of exceptional policy school master’s students to develop the skills, experience, and mentorship needed to prepare for doctoral studies and an academic career in policy. 

We want to increase opportunities in academic policy research, from doctoral study to faculty positions for those who have experienced financial hardship, are first generation college students, or who come from an educational, cultural, or geographic background that is underrepresented in related doctoral programs. A goal of this program is to build a more diverse pipeline for doctoral programs and future policy school faculty members.

The Pre-Doctoral Program in Policy matches exceptional graduates of professional master’s degree programs in public policy and administration with opportunities for research training, additional coursework, and faculty mentorship needed to prepare for an academic career.

The program provides a limited number of up to two-year, funded pre-doctoral research fellowship opportunities with one of the faculty mentors identified below. These full-time, funded research positions will be coupled with intensive mentorship and support for the PhD application process and opportunities to network with fellow participants across institutions.

Available Faculty Mentors:

Dean Yang is a Professor in the Department of Economics and the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. His research agenda spans a range of applied microeconomic topics, including international migration, microfinance, health, disasters, trade, religion, and political economy. Methodologically, much of his work involves randomized controlled trials in field settings, while other work involves unearthing and analyzing novel data sources. He is currently running randomized controlled trials on remittances among migrant workers in the UAE, and on HIV/AIDS interventions in Mozambique.

Charlotte Cavaille is an Assistant Professor at the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. She received a PhD in Government and Social Policy from Harvard University. Her research examines the dynamics of popular attitudes towards redistributive social policies at a time of rising inequality, high fiscal stress and high levels of immigration.

Betsey Stevenson is a professor of public policy and economics at the University of Michigan. She is a labor economist who has published widely in leading economics journals about the labor market and the impact of public policies on outcomes both in the labor market and for families as they adjust to changing labor market opportunities. Her research explores women's labor market experiences, the economic forces shaping the modern family, and how these labor market experiences and economic forces on the family influence each other. 

Brian A. Jacob is the Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Education Policy and professor of economics at the Ford School, and is co-director of the Youth Policy Lab. His primary fields of interest are labor economics, program evaluation, and the economics of education. Brian’s current research focuses on urban school reform, with a particular emphasis on standards and accountability initiatives. 


This position will serve as a full-time pre-doctoral research fellow for their chosen faculty mentor, helping to conduct research projects and disseminate findings. The research fellow may have responsibilities in a number of areas, including study planning and implementation; data collection, processing, management, and analysis; and dissemination. The faculty member may also assign other duties in support of the fellow’s development. Fellow will work with their faculty member to determine the right balance of coursework and research duties. 

Required Qualifications*

-    Current enrollment in one of the participating institutions' master’s degree programs with anticipated graduation date by Summer 2021 OR completion of a master's degree in a qualifying program during the previous year (i.e., 2020).
-    Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion as expressed through research interests or service activities, and an economic, educational, cultural, or geographic background underrepresented in doctoral programs
-    Desire and potential to complete a doctoral graduate program in a field related to public policy
-    Authorization to work in the United States
-    Excellent oral and written communication skills
-    Attention to detail and quality in data analysis and written material
-    Ability to prioritize, adapt, and execute project tasks

U-M EEO/AA Statement

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