Marie Garcia, Ph.D., Social Science Analyst, National Institute of Justice
Every year, the National Institute of Justice opens a call for our Graduate Research Fellowship Program in the Social and Behavioral Science; and every year, I get hundreds of questions about the program and how to apply. Today I’m going to answer the most common questions for you, so let’s get started.
First question: What is the Graduate Research Fellowship Program in Social and Behavioral Sciences? NIJ’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program sponsors promising doctoral students whose dissertation research has direct implications for criminal justice policy and practice in the United States.
So who can apply to the GRF Program? Ph.D. students from a variety of social and behavioral science disciplines are encouraged to apply. They include but are not limited to criminal justice, sociology, social work, psychology, political science, human development, public health, education, criminology and public administration. Interested students should be in the final stages of their doctoral program; that means they’ve completed nearly all of the Ph.D. requirements except for writing and defending their dissertation.
So what kind of support is included in the Fellowship? NIJ will award up to $32,000 to academic institutions in fellowship funds. Now, the funds can be used for a variety of expenses, including but not limited to student salary, tuition fees, hardware purchases, conference and travel fees, among other things.
Next question: What are the fellowship requirements? In addition to being a Ph.D. student at an accredited academic institution in the U.S., your research must have implications for policy and/or practice for the criminal justice system in the United States. Now, this can mean many things. For example, past research supported by the Graduate Research Fellowship Program examined the impact of maternal and paternal incarceration on children. It also examined the impact of having school resource officers in a high school setting and how men and women exit the commercial sex trade.
So how do I apply? Accredited academic institutions in the U.S. submit your application on your behalf, so make sure you work with your Grant Office at your university to submit your application. And remember: There is no limit to the number of applications that NIJ will support, so send us your best and your brightest.
Next question: Can international students apply? Absolutely, international students can apply, because the official applicant to the GRF Program is the academic institution.
So how many applications are awarded? There is no limit to the number of applications that NIJ will support through the Graduate Research Fellowship Program. NIJ is committed to funding the most high-quality and innovative proposals that we receive. Our former GRF fellows have gone on to become faculty members and department chairs at universities across the country as well as researchers at public and private organizations. Dr. Kevin Beaver, a 2006 GRF fellow, credits the GRF Program for supporting a seamless transition from graduate student to faculty member.
The bottom line is that NIJ wants to support young scholars and their careers while advancing our knowledge on criminal justice issues in the United States. I hope you apply.