Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowships

The University of Missouri Research Data Center (MU RDC) offers Interdisciplinary Doctoral fellowships in order to support MU’s teaching mission and to train the next generation of researchers in large survey data research.  The MU RDC Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowships provide support for up to two doctoral students to conduct research using Census Research Data Center (RDC) data products. Students must be nominated by their academic advisors. Eligible projects include a faculty-initiated project or a student dissertation and must require the use of restricted data only available through the Census RDC.

Each Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship includes a $25,000 stipend for the academic year (August-May) and full tuition remission provided by the Office of Graduate Studies.


Doctoral students in good standing in an academic program at the University of Missouri may submit applications. Successful applicants are likely to be students who are in at least the second year of their program at the time of application. Academic departments may nominate more than one student.

Application Requirements

A complete application to the MU RDC Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship has six parts:

  1. a letter of no more than three pages in which the student describes their academic and research plans, including the project to be completed using RDC data
  2. a C.V.
  3. a current transcript
  4. a completed fellowship form
  5. a statement of the student’s satisfactory progress in their graduate program from the director of graduate studies or the student’s academic adviser
  6. a letter of recommendation from the academic adviser who will oversee the project

How to Apply

MU RDC MU RDC Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowships are awarded on an annual basis.

The completed nomination/application should be submitted electronically by the doctoral student’s program office to the Population, Education, and Health Center (

We are glad to present an information session about the MU RDC for your department, seminar, or class.  Depending on the audience, the session could focus on economic, demographic, or health data, providing information about available datasets and the proposal process. Email Jacob Cronin at

Past Awards

In June of 2018, the PEHC Awarded two Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowships for academic year 2018-2019:

Paul Parker (Department of Statistics): During his fellowship year, Paul will work on Small Area Estimation (SAE) using the restricted-use American Community Survey. The field of Small Area Estimation (SAE) is a unique subfield of Statistics that intersects survey sampling and statistical modeling. SAE is typically employed by official statistical agencies wishing to improve the precision of estimates from undersampled and/or unsampled geographies. Paul  to do a thorough review of the methods available to account for informative sampling in unit-level SAE models.

Chaegyung Jun (Truman School of Public Affairs): During her fellowship year, Chaegyung will examine the differences in health status, health behaviors, and self-rated health between Korean immigrants in the U.S. and Koreans in South Korea using the 2008-2015 National Health Interview Survey and the Korean Health Panel data. She will also assess the role of migration, health selection, acculturation, and assimilation on these health outcomes.

In June of 2017, the PEHC awarded two Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowships for academic year 2017-2018:

Li Tan (Department of Economics). During his fellowship year, Li will use the restricted-use Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) data to improve imputations for top earners. The incomes of the top earners are commonly top-coded in survey data to protect the confidentiality of the respondents. Li plans to use an innovative, Bayesian-based imputation method that can improve the current imputation quality. Li’s research will improve the utility of SIPP data to analyze public programs, public policy, and demographic, economic, and social conditions.

Shih-Chuan Lin (Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics). During his fellowship year, Shih-Chuan will use restricted-use Census economic data to determine the joint effect of product differentiation, organizational form and location on hotel performance. The market structure of the lodging industry acts as an oligopoly where hotels can enjoy some market power because customers face searching costs to find rival’s prices. Moreover, different quality tiers of hotels as well as different ownership forms (franchisors, franchisees and independent operators) may have differential effects on performance. Shih-Chuan will use the restricted-use Census data to examine the joint effect of these different factors on performance.

In April, 2015, the PEHC awarded two Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowships for academic year 2015-2016:

Sarah F. May (Educational & Counseling Psychology). During her fellowship year, Sarah will examine how in-state resident tuition policies, which are state-level policies that permit undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates, affect the mental health of immigrants who live in those states. Sarah will be advised by Dr. Stephanie Potochnick (Harry S Truman School of Public Affairs) and Dr. Lisa Y. Flores (Educational & Counseling Psychology).

Emilie M. Shireman (Psychological Sciences). During her fellowship year, Emilie will use Medicare and Medicaid enrollment and claims data, alongside data from the National Center for Health Statistics and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey – I Epidemiologic Follow-up Study (NHEFS) to determine whether alcohol-related health consequences are moderated by certain etiological factors, such as heavy substance use, early initiation of substance use, and geographic proximity to alcohol outlets and healthcare services. Emilie will be advised by Dr. Douglas Steinley (Psychological Sciences).