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NIJ's Fellowship and Student Programs

NIJ sponsors fellowship programs to strengthen and broaden the pool of researchers looking at the issues of crime and justice by:

  • Providing talented researchers — who hold a terminal degree in any academic discipline and are early in their career — with an opportunity to elevate their independently generated research and ideas to the level of national discussion.  
  • Encouraging promising doctoral students in the application of critical and innovative thinking on pressing criminal justice problems.
  • Fostering the professional development of criminal justice researchers and professionals by providing them an opportunity to work full-time on research addressing criminal justice issues relevant to the work of NIJ and public policy.
  • Encouraging students from any academic discipline to propose original research that has direct implications for criminal justice in the United States.

Descriptions of Our Fellowship and Student Programs

Graduate Research Fellowship

For more than 40 years, our Graduate Research Fellowship program has supported doctoral students whose research is relevant to criminal justice. In recent years, NIJ had emphasized two GRF tracks – one to support researchers in the social and behavioral sciences (SBS) and one to support researchers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. In 2020, NIJ merged those tracks and invites all applicants, regardless of degree program, to apply to the same GRF funding opportunity.  Learn more about the Graduate Research Fellowship program, including how to apply, and learn about past fellows.

Research Assistantship Program

The NIJ Research Assistantship Program (RAP) offers highly qualified doctoral students the opportunity to bring their expertise to NIJ to work across offices and program areas to obtain a practical and applied research experience. The RA program is a research focused professional development opportunity for doctoral students. We welcome students from all academic disciplines to apply who wish to connect their research to the criminal justice field. This unique assistantship is an opportunity to learn and contribute to the breadth and depth of science research in which NIJ engages. NIJ provides funds to participating universities to pay salaries and other costs associated with research assistants who work on NIJ research activities. Learn more about the Research Assistantship Program.

W.E.B. Du Bois Program

This W.E.B. Du Bois Program furthers the Department’s mission by advancing knowledge regarding the confluence of crime, justice, and culture in various societal contexts. This year NIJ is growing the W.E.B. Du Bois Program to fund both scholars who are advanced in their careers and seek to conduct research which advances the study of race and crime, as well as fellows who are early in their careers and seek the opportunity to elevate their research ideas to the level of national discussion. Learn more about the W.E.B. Du Bois fellowship program, including how to apply, and learn about past fellows.

Visiting Fellows Program

The Visiting Fellows Program brings leading researchers into residency at NIJ to make foundational contributions to criminology or criminal justice and give them an opportunity to work side-by-side with NIJ scientists to shape the direction of our research programs. NIJ accepts several types of fellows, including those who work mainly in academic or other research settings, policy fellows who focus mainly in a criminal justice policy or practice setting, and partnership fellows who cross multiple boundaries. Learn more about the Visiting Fellows Program, including how to apply, and view a list of past fellows.

Public Laboratory Research Fellowships

As part of our “Research and Evaluation for the Testing and Interpretation of Physical Evidence in Publicly Funded Forensic Laboratories” program, we encourage applicant laboratories to consider funding a postgraduate (master’s or doctorate) fellowship as part of their proposal. Learn more about Research and Evaluation in Publicly Funded Forensic Laboratories.

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Fellowships

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Fellowships, through a partnership with the National Science Foundation and AAAS, supports distinguished young scholars who are selected based on their significant contributions to science and research. Learn more about the AAAS Fellowships, including how to apply, on the AAAS Fellowship Application website.

Date Published: March 9, 2023