call for applications:

 Dissertation Proposal Development Workshop

Call for Applications: Problem-Solving Sociology Dissertation Proposal Development Workshop (deadline January 31, 2024)


Doctoral students in departments of sociology who have not yet defended their dissertation proposals are invited to apply to a dissertation proposal development workshop on “problem solving sociology.”  Johns Hopkins University will pay for travel to and accommodation in Baltimore, MD, plus meals and transportation expenses, for a one-day workshop to be held on Friday, May 10, 2024.


Problem-solving sociology uses sociological insights to attempt to solve (not just describe) contemporary social problems and uses investigation of social problems to further sociological theory.  For more on problem-solving sociology see our website at


The workshop will include discussion of principles and techniques of problem-solving sociology and examples of sociological scholarship that applies the approach, plus extensive feedback on individual student projects.


Please send in your application by January 31, 2024.  Send an email to Jennifer Harris-Ebelugwu,, with the subject line “application for problem solving DPD workshop.”  Attach ONE PDF that includes (1) a title page with your name, email address, university, department, year in the program, whether or not you have defended your dissertation proposal, and (if you know it) the date you expect to defend your proposal (we also welcome students who are several years away from defending) and (2) a proposal, no more than 2 single spaced pages, responding to some or all of the following questions (not all questions will be relevant for all applicants):



The title page and the proposal should be combined into one PDF.  (You may include a bibliography if you wish, which does not count against the 2-page limit.)


We welcome creative and ambitious ideas, as well as focused and practical ideas, as well as ideas that are somewhere in between.  If the problem is the basic structure of the economic system and the only solution that you see is revolution, then think about how to bring about revolution.  If the problem is colleges closing over spring break and low-income students having nowhere to go, think about how to nudge institutions to respond to the needs of nontraditional members.  If the problem is racism or sexism, think about how to solve (not just describe) racism or sexism.  If you already know the solution to the problem, but the problem is convincing policymakers, then focus on how to convince (or change) policymakers.


Here are some testimonials from participants in this workshop from prior years:


“Amazing!  Eye-opening in terms of what can be done.  Removed mental blocks”

“This workshop is responsible for many of the most valuable and rigorous components of my dissertation”

“I’m going to encourage everyone in my department to apply to future versions”

“Need to keep it going! (and growing)”

“Sometimes difficult, but worth it!”

“I feel we’ve pulled back the veil to reveal the process & struggle”

“Incredibly helpful, grateful for all of the work”

“I think this was an amazing initiative”

“it was a wonderful experience”