Skip to main content

ABF/University of Chicago Doctoral Fellowship Program in Law and Social Science

Applications for the ABF/University of Chicago Doctoral Fellowship Program are now closed. 

EXTENDED DEADLINE: February 1, 2023


The American Bar Foundation (ABF) and University of Chicago (UChicago) are 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 research on law, the legal profession, and legal institutions. 


Applicants should be outstanding UChicago Ph.D. students who started their program in the Social Sciences Division at the University of Chicago in Summer 2017 or later, will have completed all doctoral requirements except the dissertation by September 1, 2023, and expect to receive UChicago funding during the years of the fellowship. Final selection is made by the ABF’s Doctoral Fellowship Committee. Doctoral and proposed research must be in the general area of sociolegal studies or in social scientific approaches to law, legal institutions, the legal profession or social justice. The research must address significant issues in the field and show promise of a major contribution to social scientific understanding of law and justice.


Fellows will receive their annual stipend from UChicago and an additional $3,000 fellowship stipend from the ABF for up to two academic years (24 months). Doctoral fellows will not be employees of the ABF and must retain benefits, health insurance and any other expected funding from UChicago. Fellows will also have access to a modest research account provided by ABF to reimburse expenses associated with research, travel to meet with advisors, or travel to conferences at which papers are presented.


Fellowships are awarded for up to 24 months, beginning September 1, 2023.


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. Because this is a full-time program, the ABF does not allow fellows to hold concurrent fellowships, but we support and encourage fellows to apply for research grants.


Applications are invited from outstanding UChicago Ph.D. students who are candidates for Ph.D. degrees in the Social Sciences Division at the University of Chicago and who started their program in Summer 2017 or later, will have completed all doctoral requirements except the dissertation by September 1, 2023, and expect to receive UChicago funding during the years of the fellowship. 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.

How to Apply

Please submit all material through this URL: 

Applicants must include: 

(1) 1-2 page cover letter of application;  

(2) 2-3 page description of a research project, a dissertation abstract or proposal with an outline of the substance and methods of the research; 

(3)  a curriculum vitae;

(4)  names and contact information of 3 referees that we may contact if appropriate, one of whom should be the applicant’s dissertation chairperson; 

(5) a letter of endorsement from the student’s department in consultation with the Office of the Dean of students in the UChicago Social Sciences Division that will ensure eligibility and provide expectations regarding the completion timeline for all candidates;

(6) a writing sample, reflective of a candidate’s best work and appropriate to a candidate’s discipline; and

(7) a Diversity Statement, not more than 2 pages, highlighting demonstrated and planned efforts to promote diversity and equity through their research, life experience, or other work.

If you have questions about the application process or the position, please direct inquiries to  with the subject line “ABF/University of Chicago Doctoral Fellowship Program."

View the Program Flyer here. 

About the American Bar Foundation 

The American Bar Foundation (ABF) is among the world’s leading research institutes for the empirical and interdisciplinary study of law. The 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 ABF’s primary funding is provided by the American Bar Endowment and the Fellows of The American Bar Foundation

Site design by Webitects

© 2023 American Bar Foundation (
750 North Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611-4403
(312) 988-6500
Contact Us
Contact the Fellows
Media Contacts
Privacy policy
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in ABF publications are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Bar Foundation or the American Bar Association. The AMERICAN BAR FOUNDATION, ABF and related seal trademarks as used by the American Bar Foundation are owned by the American Bar Association and used under license.