Institution for Social and Policy Studies

Advancing Research • Shaping Policy • Developing Leaders

Dahl Research Scholars


In honor of the late Yale Professor Robert Dahl, widely considered the greatest American political scientist of the Twentieth Century, the Institution for Social and Policy Studies at Yale (ISPS) launched the Dahl Research Scholars in 2015 - 2016 academic year. The program is for Yale College students committed to positively influencing public policy through research.

Selected Yale College students engage in policy-oriented academic research with leading scholars and graduate students affiliated with ISPS in a year-long research fellowship and academic mentorship opportunity. In addition to a policy-relevant research assistant position, Dahl Scholars collaborate with their faculty mentors, and draw support from peer fellows, to complete public policy research projects proposed upon application for the program.

Fellowship support is extended to a select number of Yale College students each academic year, chosen in a competitive application process in the fall. Dahl Scholars are chosen based upon credentials and compatibility with the research assistantships offered, including the relative merits of student research proposals, relevant past experiences and coursework, and faculty references or recommendations for the fellowship.

The fellowship requires a commitment of approximately 8-10 hours of research assistance each week for the academic year. In addition, Dahl Scholars will be required to attend and prepare for 4-5 peer review meetings designed to support fellows in completion of their independent research projects over the fall and spring semesters. A stipend is provided.


This program complements, but is distinct from ISPS’ Director’s Fellows program: Dahl Scholars will focus on positively influencing policy through research. Most will have plans to attend graduate school or join organizations conducting rigorous policy research (think tanks, NGOs).


Please see below for a brief description of the major research centers at ISPS, or here to learn more about the research interests and accomplishments of particular ISPS scholars:

Center for the Study of American Politics: CSAP was created to promote the work of scholars in the field of American politics. Using a broad set of methodological approaches and enjoying the advantages of deep knowledge of American politics, Americanists have made signal contributions to our understanding of political institutions and behavior. The Yale Center for the Study of American Politics is dedicated to furthering this intellectual tradition.

ISPS Health at Yale: ISPS Health at Yale unites more than three dozen scholars from across the university with a common research emphasis upon creating an environment that can strengthen health care systems, help people live healthier lives and enhance the way health care is delivered. The overarching goals of ISPS Health are to facilitate apolitical policy-relevant research at Yale, provide a hub for health policy research and education at the university, and act as a conduit for researchers to translate their research into actionable public policy at the federal, state and local levels.

ISPS Center for the Study of Inequality: Launched in February 2015 amidst the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, the ISPS Center for the Study of Inequality (I-CSI) seeks to promote high-quality, multi-disciplinary research on the relationship between economic inequality and American political life. A core intuition behind the creation of I-CSI is that governments create and oversee markets, policy creates how we prevent, produce, or combat inequality, and political actors and institutions design policies and regulations, and shape the political contexts that bear directly on inequality.

Policy Lab at Yale: This fall, ISPS brings nearly half a century of experience with student programs, and a reputation for high-quality research to launch it’s newest project – The Policy Lab.  Housed at the heart of undergraduate student activity at 77 Prospect Street, The Policy Lab provides Yale students a physical space and dynamic programming to conduct data-intensive policy-related investigations, develop specialized technical skills, and engage with policymakers.  The Lab brings together Yale partners, local New Haven residents and organizations, government officials, and policy makers to create one of the first student-focused models of a university-community policy partnership in the United States.  With state-of-the-art facilities, leading faculty collaborators, and ties to key local actors and agencies, The Lab is poised to help improve local policy initiatives and make New Haven a national model of research-community partnerships. 


Apply here for the 2017-18 Dahl Research Scholars Program

All materials must be submitted no later than 11:59pm on October 20, 2017. Accepted Dahl Scholars will be notified soon after.

Applications are open to Yale College students from all disciplines with demonstrated strong experience in research. Successful applicants will have:

  • At least three courses in the social sciences (e.g., economics, political science, sociology, psychology)
  • Econometrics AND/OR at least one upper-level course in the social sciences.
  • Evidence of research ability (paper, prior work).
  • Demonstrated familiarity with at last one spreadsheet/stats program, at a minimum Excel.
  • GPA of A- or above (greater than 3.5).

Should you have any questions, please contact Tory Bilski (