News: Featured Stories

March 12, 2017

UMass Boston doctoral students eligible for new program to fund dissertation development


  • Boston
PhD students need to apply by March 20

UMass Boston doctoral students can attend free workshops to develop their transdisciplinary dissertations, thanks to the new Dissertation Proposal Development Program created by the Social Science Research Council (SSRC).

The nonprofit SSRC selected UMass Boston and four other universities for this three-year program, which is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The goal is to help PhD students prepare more compelling proposals by exposing them to multiple academic disciplines. More specifically, the UMass Boston-SSRC Transdisciplinary Dissertation Proposal Development Program aims to provide guidance, mentorship, and a structure for developing and completing dissertation research proposals. It also will serve as an intellectual forum, particularly for projects that challenge injustice, contribute to human rights, and promote diversity.

"This is a key time in our institutional development, as we expand our graduate programming, to build in programming to support and foster student development,” said Associate Professor of Sociology Andrea Leverentz, director of the PhD program in sociology and grant administrator. “This program will also encourage cross-departmental collaboration among both students and faculty.”

“I’m very excited about this program as it offers tremendous opportunities for growth, collaboration, and resources to our UMass Boston community,” said Loan Dao, assistant professor of Asian American studies and another one of the lead faculty for the dissertation program. “I often hear faculty and students talk about their desire to learn more about how other fields approach their topic of research. This program lets students explore those possibilities within the university and with students and faculty from across the country.”

The dissertation program will provide up to $5,000 for summer research and living expenses, and cover all travel and lodging costs associated with a spring workshop in Pittsburgh and a fall workshop in Minneapolis.

“We believe this program, once implemented by the university, will inspire graduate students to create groundbreaking, compelling proposals that will effectively communicate the potential contributions their research can make within and beyond academe," SSRC President Ira Katznelson said.

"This exciting SSRC partnership is a huge first step towards creating a dissertation proposal development program on our campus for many years to come,” said Associate Professor of Anthropology Rosalyn Negrón, a faculty member in the Transnational, Cultural, and Community Studies master’s program, and the other lead faculty for the dissertation development program. “Our hope is that the training that students receive will set them up for success in applying for grants and fellowships to support and highlight the important work our graduate students are doing.”

UMass Boston doctoral candidates who will develop their dissertation proposals in 2017-2018 are eligible to apply for the program. The deadline is March 20. Contact Andrea Leverentz for more information.