Summer Institute

The EDGE Summer Institute has expanded and features are now also part of a univesity-wide program referred to as Academic Professional Development (APD). APD offers a Doctoral Student Summer Institute. The program is open to all eligible USC doctoral students.

The First-year Institute for Research Socialization and Training (FIRST) is a 10 week institute organized as part of the Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education in Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (EDGE-SBE) program at the USC Graduate School. The objective of FIRST is to orient rising incoming to pre qual doctoral students for research training through formalized faculty mentorship over the summer. In many instances, doctoral students do not engage with individualized research until they begin work on the dissertation proposal. FIRST works to facilitate the important conversion of student-as-consumer-knowledge to student-as-producer-of knowledge earlier in the doctoral program so that socialization into the academic professional may have a prolonged and stabilizing effect to guide Ph.D. students into faculty positions at major research universities.

Institute sessions include topics relevant to the professional development of URM doctoral students as emerging researchers and citizens of the academy. Sessions cover developing a research question, attending a professional conference, publishing scholarly work, managing faculty relations in the department, teaching in PWIs, and preparing for qualifying exams. Participants will network with USC faculty, alumni from SBE doctoral programs, and colleague Fellows all toward the goal of creating a critical web of information, resources, professional and social support necessary to integrate emerging professionals into the academy.

      Summer Institute Sessions include :

  1. Academic & Proposal Writing Seminars
  2. Research Methods Seminars
  3. Organizing an individual summer research project
  4. Effective use of Professional Conferences & Scholarly Meetings
  5. Preparing C.V.'s/Résumé's and for interviews and the Job Talk
  6. 2013 Summer Institute Program
  7. 2012 Summer Institute Program
  8. 2011 Summer Institute Program
EDGE Eligibility
  1. Participants must be US citizens or permanent residents of the United States and a member of an under-represented racial/ethnic group including African American, Latino/Hispanic, or Native American.
  2. Must be a promising applicant to the designated SBE Ph.D. programs during the fall application season OR currently enrolled Ph.D. students at the pre-qualifying exam stage (preferably first-year students).
  3. Participants must be enrolled in a PhD program housed in one of the targeted SBE areas of study (click here for a list of programs)
  4. Participants must be highly interested in and committed to pursuing an academic career.
APD Eligibility
  1. Participants must be a promising applicant to a USC doctoral program during the fall application season OR currently enrolled doctorol students at the pre-qualifying exam stage (preference is given to first-year students).
  2. Participant must be enrolled in a USC doctoral program.
  3. Participants must be highly interested in and commited to pursuing an academic career.
  1. For student online application and requirements, please contact the diversity outreach and academic professional development programs
Nomination Process

  • Candidates must be nominated by a faculty member within the department of the doctoral program in which the student has enrolled, or by an EDGE-SBE program staff member. Students may request nominations from faculty within their program of study.
  • Academic departments/Units may nominate up to 5 students.
  • Department chairs may wish to provide a preliminary ranking of the top three candidates as part of the nomination process.
  • Participants will be eligible for stipends ranging from $1000 - $3000.
  • During the following academic year, students who have successfully completed the Institute will become eligible for supplemental funding for research or conference travel ranging from $500 - $1000.
  • Faculty Mentor Nomination: Have faculty email nomination letter to
Contact Information

Jesse S. Watson

Associate Director, Graduate Programs
Diversity Outreach & Academic Professional Development
T: (213)740-3429
For EDGE email:
For APD email:

Richard Andalon

Associate Dean & Director
Diversity Outreach & Academic Professional Development
T: (213)740-9053

Sally (Sarah) Pratt

Vice Provost, Graduate Programs
Professor of Slavic Languages & Literatures
T: (213)740-8867



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