Program Details


Our year-long fellowship program has two main components – our intensive summer program and senior year follow-up activities.

The Summer Program

As a part of the Academy, fellows will engage in an intensive nine-week program of skills building and training in policy analysis and research on location at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. – the Nation’s capitol and the heart of U.S. policy-making. Students will spend the summer taking classes, attending policy seminars, and conducting analyses to hone their research skills while gaining exposure to a wide range of career opportunities in policy research and analysis.


The summer portion of the Academy will take place at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC from June 12 to August 12, 2011.


The unique multi-pronged learning and exposure approach of the Urban Institute Academy will provide our students with a stimulating mix of 1) policy content, 2) technical skills training, 3) guided research, 4) career development skills, and 5) exposure to policy research careers.

  • Policy Content - Students will attend policy seminars and mini-courses, be treated to a series of distinguished guest lecturers, and engage in policy discussions with established researchers. The policy content classes will cover a different policy area each week to ensure that students are generally conversant in domestic social policy.  These subject areas will reflect the policy specialties of the Urban Institute’s policy centers, including: Employment, Income Support, Education, Housing, Health, Immigration, and Justice Policy.
  • Technical Skills Training - Students will be given specific technical training on research methods and statistical applications programming.  The technical skills course will cover: basic measurement and statistics, understanding datasets, basic quantitative and qualitative methods, understanding program implementation and evaluation, and statistical applications (SAS) and mapping program (GIS) training. 
  • Guided Research - Over the course of the summer, each student will complete a research project under the guidance of Urban Institute research staff.  Prior to arriving at the Urban Institute, students will identify a general topic for their research product.  Students will be paired with mentors who are experts in this research area.
  •  Career Development Skills - Students will engage in weekly workshops to build skills essential to career development.  The classes will cover: resume and cover letter writing, interview skills (including mock interviews with UI staff), networking, etc.  In addition, students will participate in a writing workshop, practice conducting thorough literature reviews and learn the finer points of giving polished and dynamic research presentations.
  • Exposure to Policy Careers - Students will take weekly field trips to distinguished Washington-area policy institutions featuring tours, presentations, and question-and-answer sessions with senior research and policy staff.

In addition, the Academy staff will set up occasional evening and weekend outings to the many exciting social and cultural activities available in Washington, DC during the summer.

Senior Year Follow-up

  • Research Conference - During the fall semester, we assist each student in preparing for the annual research conference of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM).  In addition to attending the many conference presentations, the Academy Fellows present their research to an audience of policy professionals at a poster session.
  • Research paper - Over the course of their senior year, UI Academy Fellows finalize their research papers with support and frequent feedback from mentors and the UI Academy team.  Once the papers meet final approval, the Academy publishes them on our website.  Over the course of their senior years, UI Academy Fellows finalize their research papers with support and frequent feedback from mentors and the UI Academy team. Once the papers meet final approval, the Academy publishes them on our website.
  • Mentoring - Throughout their senior years, UI mentors and Academy staff remain easily accessible to provide career advice and recommendations for jobs and graduate school.

Daily summer program attendance and APPAM Conference participation are mandatory. 


The UI Academy is supported by generous grants from the Ford Foundation and MacArthur Foundation