BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
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Home  |  Graduate Research Fellowship Program
Graduate Research Fellowship Program

About the Program

Through its Graduate Research Fellowship (GRF) Program, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) provides funding to accredited universities for doctoral research that—

uses criminal justice data or statistics
focuses on one of the Department of Justice’s top priorities:
  national security and anti-terrorism
  border security and immigration enforcement
  violent crime reduction and public safety
  drug prosecution and upholding the rule of law.


BJS helps universities that sponsor students who are on track for and close to completing their doctorate in a discipline relevant to BJS’s mission. The GRF Program seeks to enlarge the pool of researchers using BJS’s criminal justice data to support improvements to state and local criminal justice information systems and develop national standards for justice statistics.

red arrow Who is eligible?
red arrow What does BJS look for?
red arrow How are projects funded?
red arrow How long does a fellowship last? 
red arrow How do I find a suitable project?
red arrow How do I apply?
red arrow Where is more information?



Who is eligible?

Only degree-granting educational institutions in the United States are eligible to apply. The applicant must be fully accredited by a regional institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and must apply as the sponsor of a doctoral candidate whose dissertation research substantially uses BJS data or fills a gap in BJS’s statistical portfolio.

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What does BJS look for?

BJS encourages eligible institutions to sponsor outstanding and promising doctoral students whose dissertation research may impact criminal justice policy and practice in the United States. BJS prioritizes applications for research that use BJS data.
Applications for research using other data that could fill a gap in BJS’s statistical portfolio will also be considered. These applications should show how the novel data are reliable and valid and how they add technical and substantive knowledge to a specific gap.

Applicants may be interested in linking BJS restricted-use data to other BJS data or to other statistical sources’ auxiliary files. Or applicants may want to use BJS data to identify local geographic areas. Such applicants should contact BJS to—

assess if the research topic is feasible and what data is available
clarify processes for accessing such data.

Successful applicants must clearly show how the dissertation research will use BJS data and advance criminal justice knowledge, practice, or policy in federal agencies. BJS encourages quantitative, qualitative, primary and secondary data analysis, and mixed-methods studies. BJS favors applications for research that use the most rigorous methods to maximize the validity and reliability of the study’s findings.

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How are projects funded?

BJS will make awards in the form of grants. The amount of each award is $40,000, usable over the project period for the student's salary, tuition and fees, research expenses, and related costs.

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How long does a fellowship last? 

The award’s performance period is typically 12 to 18 months and no more than 3 years.

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How do I find a suitable project?

Each fiscal year’s fellowship solicitation lays out some potential projects. Before applying, institutions can contact BJS staff to find a mutually agreeable project or discuss how to focus the dissertation research to meet BJS needs. Choosing to collaborate early with BJS can help ensure that the project grasps the frequent complexities of BJS data. Such consultations are not required and in no way guarantee BJS will choose the application. Email AskBJS@usdoj.gov to find out if your project relates to BJS’s work.

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How do I apply?

Find the solicitation at the Funding page on the BJS website. The solicitation contains details about the application deadline, where to send the application, application requirements, and the selection process.

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Where is more information?

For more information, select the Funding tab on the BJS website or email askBJS@usdoj.gov.

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