Funding Opportunities for Applicants

The following faculty are seeking qualified Graduate Assistants to assist in their research efforts. Eligibility is contingent upon admission and enrollment into our PhD in Public Policy program.

Several doctoral fellowships are available for students working the field of population, migration and public policy.  These fellowships, provided through the Center for the Study of Social Change, Institutions and Policy (SCIP) can carry up to five years of full funding for qualified students admitted to the doctoral program. 

Eligible students are those planning to study how changes in the movement and composition of populations create challenges for public policy, and seek to develop creative and effective solutions.  These challenges include responding to marked changes in the volume and sources of immigration; adjusting to how internal and international migration shape labor markets, politics, and identities; coping with changes in the age structure of society and how that affects the costs and demands for pensions, health care and social services, as well as the nature of work and cross-generational social contracts; understanding how shifting ethnic composition impacts social and political cohesion and conflict; and devising functional national and international legal frameworks to govern international migration and asylum.  Students working in this area will be prepared for careers in an increasingly vital field, with job opportunities in government, the private sector, academia, NGOs and international organizations.

Applicants with an interest in these positions are encouraged to contact Professor Jack Goldstone jgoldsto@gmu.edu prior to submitting their application.


Three funded doctoral positions are available through the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC) at the Schar School. 

Two positions are multi-year research related positions with the statistical analysis of terrorism done for the US State Department’s annual terrorism report.  The position will involve compiling the data of terror incidents around the world; and assisting in the review of open source reporting of possible terrorism events globally as part of large team. Graduate students with a special interest in security studies, terrorism and a regional focus and language skills of areas with significant presence of terrorism are preferred. They will be part of a larger team working on data collection and analysis. Research on the collected data will be possible. Starting Fall 2019.

An additional position conducts TraCCC-relevant including human trafficking, the relationship of crime and terrorism, corruption and illicit trade. Successful applicants will have well-developed research skills and the ability to write clearly.  Interest in mentoring master level students is important.

Applicants to the public policy or political science doctoral program with an interest in these positions are encouraged to contact Professor Louise Shelly lshelley@gmu.edu prior to submitting their application.


The Center for Regional Analysis at the Schar School is the premier university-based regional economic research center in the National Capital Region. The Center engages in a wide range of applied research for sponsors in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Faculty and professional staff at CRA use interdisciplinary approaches and regularly collaborate with other research units across campus and at other universities. Dr. Terry Clower is director of CRA with 25 years of experience in analyzing and effectively communicating regional economic data to support critical policy and market decision making. The Center provides technical assistance for economic development planning, conducts economic and fiscal impact studies, provides housing market and policy research, conducts transportation-related research, supports land use planning, and offers economic forecasting. Graduate research assistants at CRA enjoy direct experience with applied, market-driven research and have opportunities to engage with research sponsors from project conceptualization to delivering reports and related publications. Applicants with such interests are encouraged to contact Professor Clower at tclower@gmu.edu prior to submitting an application.  Successful graduate research assistants at the Center are typically self-starters who enjoy a variety of research topics and methods in a multi-tasking, fast-paced work environment. 


Nauru Koizumi has various domestic and international (UK, Turkey and India) projects that assess health/medical policies affecting patients with chronic diseases. These projects often involve intensive quantitative analysis requiring the application of techniques from statistics, geography (Geographic Information System (GIS)) and mathematical operations research (OR). The research team, consisting of statisticians, mathematicians, social workers, medical doctors, and computer scientists, wishes to work with PhD students who have good working knowledge of GIS, statistics and/or OR techniques and want to extend their knowledge to effectively analyze health/medical policy topics. The students will be expected to work in a multidisciplinary setting and will get exposure to medical topics and community involvement. We are particularly interested in those who are interested in care provisions for diabetes, end-stage kidney and liver disease patients. Doctoral program applicants with similar interests should contact Dr. Koizumi nkoizumi@gmu.edu prior to their application.


John Earle is an empirical micro-economist who uses econometric methods to analyze large databases in order to analyze policy-relevant questions, including program evaluation. His projects include both U.S. and international research, much of the latter in the East European and former Soviet economies. Many of the projects use firm-level data to investigate questions such as the effects of privatization and foreign direct investment, the patterns and determinants of new business start-up and growth, and the dynamics of productivity and business entry and exit.  Students working on these projects typically have some previous training in economics and econometrics, but motivated students can remediate those skills while at Mason, and all students have the opportunity to develop them further. Applicants with such interests are encouraged to contact Professor Earle earle@gmu.edu prior to submitting their application.

Enrolled students interested in the study of public finance may be eligible for funding through the John E. Petersen Memorial Scholarship in Public Finance Policy. John Petersen was a Schar School professor and contributed significantly through his scholarship and teaching to research in public finance, international finance and financial institutions. He was a role model for all public policy students – a productive scholar who contributed his expertise outside the academy as well as within, whether through his membership on the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board or through his regular column for Governing magazine.

Students who have received this fellowship have written on topics such as earnings inequality in US metropolitan regions and public-private partnerships. Applicants interested in studying public finance are encouraged to contact Professor Siona Listokin and Professor Sita Slavov before applying.


David Hart is interested in science, technology, and innovation policy.  His main focus moving forward is low-carbon energy innovation, which was the subject of his 2011 book (with Richard K. Lester), Unlocking Energy Innovation (MIT Press).  His projects generally employ qualitative methodologies, including elite interviewing, archival research, and analysis of policy documents, although quantitative methodologies often play an important supporting role in his work as well.  He draws primarily on theories from the disciplines of political science and public policy, but with a keen interest in the historical and internationally comparative dimensions of the subject.  Prof. Hart is currently seeking funding to ramp up his research.  Ph.D. students who work for him will likely be expected to carry out detailed case studies of policies and projects, most likely at the state and federal level in the United States.   Doctoral program applicants who share Prof. Hart’s interests may contact him at dhart@gmu.edu prior to submitting their applications.