DPD Student Applicants

This program aims to expand and improve formal dissertation prospectus and grant proposal development for humanities and social science doctoral students at the University of Minnesota. Twenty-four students will be selected to participate in 2021. The program includes an intensive five-day workshop in May, followed by independent student summer research, and another intensive five-day workshop in late August and early September, prior to fall research grant proposal deadlines. Students will register for a 3-credit graduate seminar in Fall 2021 as part of the program. 

In applying for this program, you are committing to attending and completing all three components: the Spring workshop, May 17-21, 2021; at least six weeks of summer exploratory research or other intellectual work aimed at developing your dissertation proposal; and the summer / Fall workshop, August 30 - September 2, followed by one Friday September 17. You are also committing to registering for the seminar in Fall 2021. Specifically, because this program includes an intense peer engagement and review process, as well as a revision process, you will be expected to read and comment on your colleagues’ proposals and complete at least one round of revisions on your own proposal. The program provides stipends of up to $3,000 for summer research and living expenses.

If you become a finalist, we will request your transcript and a commitment from your advisor to participate in evaluating the program.


  • Your dissertation proposal must not yet have been approved by your graduate program.
  • You must register for GRAD 8401 in Fall 2021. 
    • If you are not in advanced doctoral status, your tuition would fall under general graduate tuition rates that include a 6-14 credit band for full-time registration.
    • If you are considered eligible for 8444 Advanced Doctoral Status (full-time equivalency for doctoral students, coursework and thesis credits completed), you may still apply for the DPD.
  • You must be within two semesters of when you passed your doctoral preliminary exams.
    • In other words, you should be scheduled to take them in fall of 2021 or spring of 2022, or have already taken them in the fall of 2020 or the spring of 2021.
  • You must have a faculty advisor by the application deadline, who will endorse your participation if you are selected to participate in the program.
  • You must be available for all dates of the Dissertation Proposal Development Workshop.
  • Students in CDES, CFANS, CLA, and HHH may apply because their home units have agreed to fund tuition and the summer fellowship. Students in CEHD and CSE must confirm — before applying — with their department that it will fund tuition and summer fellowship. Students of other colleges must ask their departments whether they will participate. 

Deadline: March 1, 2021, 11:59pm

Contact: IDPD@umn.edu





Application Materials
  • Proposed Dissertation Research Title
  • Introduce your dissertation project for an academic reader who is unfamiliar with your particular topic, region of study, and disciplinary approach. What is the central research question, problem, or puzzle that you want to investigate? Why is your project important? (up to 400 words)
  • How do you expect your dissertation project can draw from and contribute to existing literature about the topic in a novel or interesting way? (up to 200 words)
  • What techniques of investigation might you employ to carry out your research?  If you are doing fieldwork, describe your potential fieldwork methods, or if you are analyzing archives, literature/film/art/etc., or concepts, what approaches or theories will you use? Why have you selected these approaches? (up to 400 words)
  • What issues or questions must you still resolve in order to prepare a dissertation research proposal?  Explain how you hope participating in the DPD program might help you to resolve these issues. (up to 250 words)
  • While your research need not be interdisciplinary, the IDPD Workshop itself depends upon interactions among students who will be sharing their research ideas and goals by reading, engaging, and commenting upon each other's work. What skills might you bring to such interactions? (up to 200 words)

Summer Research Plans

  • What exploratory research or intellectual work do you propose to conduct this summer with IDPD support, and how do you anticipate these efforts will contribute to the development of your dissertation project? If you have already conducted preliminary research for this project, what further do you hope to learn from additional work this summer? (up to 250 words)
  • Preliminary research start date and end date
  • Anticipated research site(s), institution(s), archive(s), or corpus. 
  • Do you have summer funding from your department, program, or other University unit for 2021? If yes, what is the designated purpose of the funding and what is the amount?

Budget and Budget Justification

  • Detailed research budget for up to $3,000 to cover living and research expenses, including research travel. 
  • Budget justification (up to 250 words).

Non-Academic Background

  • In addition to your current doctoral training, how might your personal background or non-academic experiences inform the perspectives you will bring to your proposed dissertation project? (up to 250 words)
    • Language Self-Assessment: For any language necessary for your research, list proficiency level.
    • Previous, Current, and Pending Funding: List all scholarships or fellowships you have received in support of graduate training or research while in graduate school, including name of award, duration of award, amount received, and purpose:
      • List all other funding sources to which you have applied, or expect to apply, to support pre-dissertation research in summer 2021. If you are selected for the IDPD program, you will be required to notify the program of any additional funding you might receive. Include source, date applied/awarded, start/end dates, amount requested/received, and purpose of funds.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

  • Upload a 2-page CV as a .pdf document


In the signature section, you will be committing to prepare for and participate fully in all three parts of the program (the spring and fall workshops and the summer research) and register for a 3-credit graduate seminar in Fall 2021. You will confirm that you can attend all of the Spring Workshop: May 17-21, 2021, and the Fall Workshop: August 30- September 2, and September 17, 2021.