Predoctoral fellowship program

An interdisciplinary training program that equips researchers to improve outcomes and address inequalities in education
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U-M’s interdisciplinary Causal Inference in Education Policy Research (CIEPR) Predoctoral Fellowship program offers three- and four-year fellowships to doctoral students interested in learning how to use causal research methods to evaluate educational policies and practices spanning early childhood to students going into the labor market.

Participating fellows take required courses, work closely with core faculty in research apprenticeships, participate in research workshops, network with eminent education policy scholars, and gain professional skills like presenting research to a range of audiences, writing small and large grant proposals, and building research practitioner partnerships. Most importantly, fellows are part of a community of doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty, and staff who share in their passion for improving outcomes across U.S. education.

Program core faculty from U-M’s School of Education, Public Policy, Economics, and Sociology teach core courses, participate in the fellow selection process, mentor and advise fellows, manage the fellows' research apprenticeships, and work closely with fellows to ensure their success. Fellows supported by the program will receive an annual stipend of $34,000, full tuition support, fringe benefits, and a research allowance to support further professional development activities.

Graduates of the Predoctoral Fellowship program have gone on to successful careers in academia and other research organizations, some of whom now serve in leadership positions within local and state education agencies.

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Coursework

Required coursework will provide formal training in quantitative methods and contextual knowledge about education policy, institutions, and practice. Students will select most courses based on their research interests and in consultation with the program director. Many courses will satisfy both degree and training program requirements.
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Research apprenticeships

Fellows to learn all phases of the research process, gain hands-on experience working with student-level, longitudinal, administrative datasets, develop expertise in coding and statistical analysis, and cultivate their professional skills. They spend at least one year on a project that is conducted in partnership with an education practitioner or policymaker.
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Seminar & research colloquium

The seminar brings together and supports an interdisciplinary community of scholars interested in education-related topics. We value research that contributes to ongoing academic, policy, and practice conversations and we view our seminar and research colloquia as a classroom that prepares members for careers in research and policy.
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Current fellow

Kristen Cummings

Kristen Cummings is a doctoral student at the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education in the School of Education. Her research interests include state higher education policy, financial aid, and the role of geography in college access. Prior to beginning her PhD program, Kristen worked as a research analyst at Abt Associates. She holds a BS in psychology from Rochester Institute of Technology and an MA in higher education from the University of Arizona.
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Current fellow

Alvin Christian

Alvin Christian is a PhD student in Economics and Public Policy at the University of Michigan. His research interests include the economics of education, development economics, and gender equality. Previously, he worked as a Research Assistant at Brown University and MDRC. He graduated from CUNY City College of New York in 2016 with a BA/MA in Economics.
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Current fellow

Tiffany Wu

Tiffany Wu is a doctoral student in the Combined Program in Education and Psychology (CPEP) at the University of Michigan and is pursuing a dual Master’s degree in Statistics. She is interested in exploring the role of executive functioning and social-emotional development on student achievement, as well as the use of quantitative methods in measuring the impact of interventions. She hopes to apply her research to help inform the development of more successful and cost-effective education programs, especially for students from families with low incomes. Tiffany received a B.S. in secondary education from Northwestern University and a M.A. in psychology from the University of Chicago. She worked as a public high school teacher in Chicago and then as a research analyst for an education non-profit prior to coming to Michigan.
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Institute of Education Sciences

Ongoing support

The predoctoral training program is supported by $8.6M in grant funds from the Institute of Education Sciences (R305B150012 & R305B150011), as well as by the University of Michigan's Rackham Graduate School, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, School of Education, Department of Economics, and the College of Literature, Science and the Arts.
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