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Pre-doctoral fellowships serve as a one- or two-year bridge program between college and a doctoral program.  Recipients gain an in-depth understanding of the entire research process while undergoing intensive career development as part of a close-knit community.

Intended for those with at least a Bachelor’s degree, EPIC’s pre-doctoral fellowships allow awardees to gain hands-on interdisciplinary research training in preparation for a doctoral program in economics or another quantitative social science. Pre-doctoral fellows are paired with an EPIC-affiliated faculty member who serves as a mentor in guiding them through the research process. Responsibilities span all stages of research, from managing projects and collecting and analyzing data to creating presentations and editing manuscripts. In addition to working closely with faculty as research assistants, pre-doctoral fellows often attend classes and seminars at EPIC, the University of Chicago and affiliate institutions.

Along with  the day-to-day contact with EPIC faculty supervisors, the fellowship provides two key events for professional training. At the beginning of each year, pre-doctoral fellows participate in a five-day orientation and training workshop. The training sessions cover topics from data management practices to econometric methods and science communication tools. In the winter, EPIC holds a retreat dedicated to career development. Faculty present on issues such as completing applications to graduate school, developing research ideas and projects, applying to grants, and performing cutting-edge statistical methods. They also provide advice on how to avoid common mistakes and succeed in graduate school. More about professional development…

““EPIC stood out to me not only as a place to do cutting-edge research with clear policy impact, but also as a uniquely supportive, collaborative and friendly community. Both the faculty and the other fellows have really impressed me with their openness and willingness to help me grow as a researcher.” 

-Jared Stolove, Class of ‘22

EPIC’s outstanding pre-doctoral fellows have gone on to some of the country’s top PhD programs, securing places in Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School; Urban Planning at the University of California at Berkeley; and more. Five pre-doctoral fellows have won prestigious and highly-competitive National Science Foundation grants.

BFI and EPIC information session on pre-doctoral opportunities

March 27 at 9:00 a.m. (central)

Interested in learning more about pre-doctoral opportunities at the Becker Friedman Institute and the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago? Join for this virtual information sessions with the staff team and current pre-doctoral scholars on March 27 at 9:00 a.m. Register for a session using the following link.

How to Apply

Successful candidates will serve as research assistants for EPIC-affiliated faculty, or work with the Climate Impact Lab under the direction of EPIC Director Michael Greenstone. Typical research projects involve the analysis of environmental and energy data from the United States, India, China and other countries utilizing quasi-experimental and experimental methods, as well as development of computational economic models of energy markets. Applicants must have completed a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree by June of the year they are applying, and have strong quantitative and programming skills. Candidates with research experience are strongly preferred, especially those with experience in Stata, R, Python or Matlab. The ideal candidate would begin in June and work for EPIC for one or two years before applying to graduate school in Economics or another quantitative social science. EPIC offers a competitive salary and employee benefits.

Applications for pre-doctoral fellowships are reviewed in fall and winter cycles. The fall deadline is in mid-November, with final decisions made in mid-December. The winter deadline is the beginning of March, with final decisions made around toward the end of March.

Explore Opportunities

  • Yes, EPIC sponsors work or student visas.

  • There are no requirements for the length or topic of your writing sample. Many successful applicants submit economics research papers (e.g. a thesis, or term paper) that highlight their abilities in writing and empirical analysis.

  • Successful applicants have typically completed advanced coursework with high marks in economics, math, statistics, or computer science. Many pre-doctoral fellows have had past economics research experience at their university, or other research institutions such as the Federal Reserve, World Bank, J-PAL or IMF. A demonstrated interest in energy and environmental economics is helpful, but not necessary.

  • EPIC offers summer research fellowships to 2-3 undergraduates each year. Recruiting for summer fellows will begin in the Spring.

  • Applicants will automatically be considered for all open positions but may list preferences within their cover letter.

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