Dissertation Fellowship Program

The IRLE Dissertation Fellowship provides funding for doctoral students writing dissertations relating to IRLE’s mission. IRLE is an interdisciplinary institute at the University of California, Berkeley that promotes better understanding of the conditions, policies, and institutions that affect the well-being of workers and their families and communities. We inform public debate with hard evidence about inequality, the economy, and the nature of work. IRLE supports promising scholars from departments across the Berkeley campus.

The fellowship provides a stipend of $7,500 per semester and in-state tuition and fees. We are currently accepting applications for a second found fellows for Spring 2020.1

Recipients must be conducting research related to IRLE’s mission and commit to engaging with IRLE’s activities during the funded period. IRLE seeks to promote an interdisciplinary research culture focused on improving the lives of working people, and awards fellowships in a wide range of disciplines.


  • Registered UC Berkeley doctoral students who are nearing completion of a dissertation related to IRLE’s mission and in residence during 2019-20.

Fellowship requirements

  • Fellows are expected to be active and contributing members of an interdisciplinary community of emerging scholars at IRLE.
  • In the spring semester, each Fellow will present a completed chapter or working paper at an IRLE research workshop.
  • Fellows are strongly encouraged to publish their research in IRLE’s working paper or policy brief series.
  • Because the purpose of the IRLE Fellowship is to enable full-time research and writing, Fellows cannot hold teaching or other academic appointments during the fellowship year.

IRLE support

IRLE offers an interdisciplinary environment for students to develop their research ideas and receive feedback on written work. Dissertation Fellows are eligible to participate in IRLE’s Research Working Group, a weekly forum for presenting and critiquing academic work under the guidance of IRLE’s Director and Associate Director.

Fellows are also eligible for shared office space at IRLE to facilitate their research and writing.

To apply

Go to https://goo.gl/forms/CQ7mXTOhzaaFfA8y2 and upload a CV, a cover letter that describes your interest in IRLE’s mission and trajectory for completing your dissertation, and a 5-page dissertation prospectus.

Have your dissertation advisor submit a letter attesting to your time to completion and expected scholarly contribution. Letters should be emailed to christina.mckay@berkeley.edu.

Contact Christina McKay, IRLE Program Assistant, at christina.mckay@berkeley.edu with any questions.

Program Information PDF

Fellows »

1. If tuition and fees are covered by another university source, IRLE will provide the $7,500 / semester stipend only. Awards cannot be deferred to future years. Out-of-state fees and professional supplemental fees will not be covered.