Causal Inference in Education Policy Research​

Postdoctoral Training Program at the University of Michigan​

Our IES-sponsored postdoctoral fellows include Rachel Rosen, Daniel Kreisman, and Steven Hemelt (from left to right).

Alumni of our IES training program include Rachel Rosen, Daniel Kreisman, Steven Hemelt (from left to right), Katherine Michelmore and Sarah Cannon (not shown).

Come train with us!


We are committed to developing the next generation of education policy research scholars, and regularly train postdoctoral fellows to deepen their skills and knowledge of rigorous, applied quantitative education policy research. Our fellows become experts in estimating the causal effects of education policies and practices on student outcomes and learn to work closely with practitioners and agencies. Our collaborative and highly successful program positions fellows to secure tenure-track faculty and research positions at prestigious institutions.

A goal of this training program is to expand the diversity of researchers trained in rigorous, applied quantitative approaches to studying education policy. We especially encourage applications from scholars of color, scholars who have been the first in their family to pursue postsecondary or postgraduate education, and scholars whose doctoral programs may have provided fewer opportunities to apply their training in quantitative methods to real-world education policy issues.

The postdoctoral training program is supported financially by a $700 thousand grant from the Institute of Education Sciences (grant R305B170015).

IES Postdoctoral Fellowship at EPI

Position Description

We train fellows to estimate the causal effects of education policies and practices on student outcomes, emphasizing the use of state and district longitudinal data. Fellows engage in ongoing education-related research projects and participate in all aspects of the research process, including design, IRB administration, analysis, and presentation. They collect, compile and analyze data; design surveys; participate in research planning; write papers; present results at seminars and professional meetings; and supervise research assistants. Fellows devote about 60% of their time to ongoing research projects, while dividing the other 40% between building new collaborations at the university and their own research. Integral to our training program, fellows learn how to develop a research partnership with practitioners or public agencies and to communicate results to non-technical audiences.

Fellows receive close mentorship from professors Susan Dynarski, Brian Jacob and Christina Weiland, and have the opportunity to work with cross-disciplinary faculty. U-M is home to a dynamic community of researchers, with ample opportunity for professional development – via participation in seminars and trainings, as well as through exposure to high-profile speakers.

Originally established in 2011, the Postdoctoral Training Program in Quantitative Methods for Education Policy Research at the University of Michigan is supported by grant R305B170015 from the United States Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences.

Research Projects

Most of our projects involve working with education partners in evaluations that exploit administrative datasets. Methods employed include randomized trials, regression discontinuity, and instrumental variables. Examples of projects that the fellows may contribute to include:

Early Education

K-12 Education

Postsecondary Education and the Labor Market

Other Topics in Education Research


Applicants will have completed their PhD in a relevant social science discipline prior to August 31, 2020 and have academic research experience in public policy, economics, education, quantitative methodology, or other similar fields.

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

Application Process

​​We are now accepting applications for our next cohort of fellows. This is a 2-year research fellowship beginning in the summer of 2020 with competitive salary and benefits plus funds for research expenses and related travel.

Applications include A) a completed application form; B) 2-3 page statement of interest, CV and writing samples (job market paper or recent publicaton authored/co-authored by the applicant) needs to be attached to the application.  C) three confidential letters of recommendation sent directly from references should be emailed to with POSTDOC2020 marked with applicants LastName_FirstName in the subject field.

We will review applications on a rolling basis and will continue until the position is filled.

Current and Past Fellows