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ABF/NSF Doctoral Fellowships Program in Law & Inequality

Applications for the ABF/NSF Doctoral Fellowship in Law & Inequality for the 2018-19 academic year are now closed.  

Deadline: January 15, 2018


The American Bar Foundation (ABF) is committed to developing the next generation of scholars in the field of law and social science. The purpose of this fellowship is to encourage original and significant empirical and interdisciplinary research on the study of law and inequality. Funding for this fellowship is provided by the ABF and the Law and Social Science Program of the National Science Foundation under grant award SES 1655497.


Fellows will receive a stipend of $35,000 per year for up to two academic years (24 months). Doctoral fellows should retain benefits, including healthcare, through their home institution. Fellows will also have access to a modest research account to reimburse expenses associated with research, travel to meet with advisors, or travel to conferences at which papers are presented. Reasonable relocation expenses may be reimbursed on application.


Fellowships are awarded for up to 24 months, beginning September 1, 2018.


Fellowships are held in residence at the ABF. Appointments to fellowships are full time. Fellows are expected to participate fully in the academic life of the ABF so that they may develop close collegial ties with ABF faculty and other scholars in residence.


The ABF will support up to two pre-doctoral fellowships. Applications are invited from outstanding students who are candidates for Ph.D. degrees and who have completed all doctoral requirements except the dissertation by September 1, 2018. Doctoral research must be in the general area of socio-legal studies or involve social scientific approaches to the law, legal institutions, or legal processes. The research must address significant issues in the field and show promise of a major contribution to social scientific understanding of law and inequality. Students from underrepresented minority groups are especially encouraged to apply. Only U.S. citizens are eligible to apply.

How to Apply

Please submit all material through this URL:

Applicants must include: (1) a dissertation abstract or proposal with an outline of the substance and methods of the research; (2) two letters of reference, one of which must be from a supervisor of the dissertation; and (3) a curriculum vitae. In addition, at the applicant's option, a short sample of written work may be submitted.

Information on this fellowship may also be found by visiting the ABF website at:

If you have questions about the application process or the position, please direct inquiries to Lucinda Underwood, , or  with the subject line “ABF/NSF Doctoral Fellowship Program in Law & Inequality.”

About the Partners

The American Bar Foundation (ABF) seeks to expand knowledge and advance justice through innovative, interdisciplinary, and rigorous empirical research on law, legal processes, and legal institutions. To further this mission the ABF will produce timely, cutting-edge research of the highest quality to inform and guide the legal profession, the academy, and society in the United States and internationally.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that seeks "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense." With an annual budget of $7.5 billion (FY 2016), they provide funding for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities. NSF is the major source of federal backing to a number of disciplines including but not limited to mathematics, computer science, and the social sciences.

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