EPPSA Graduate Energy Poverty Fellows

This year, we seek to recruit 2 Ph.D. students as EPPSA Graduate Energy Poverty Fellows (GEPFs) to join our cohort of 3 Ph.D students who began their studies in Fall 2018.  New students are expected to matriculate in Fall 2020 in order to participate. Already matriculated students may apply if they are currently in their first, second, or third year of study. Due to the funding source, there is a preference for US citizens and permanent residents, however it is not a requirement. GEPFs will form an interdisciplinary cohort that will benefit from training and resources at UNC-CH, NCSU, and the University of Michigan as well as collaboration with our partners in North Carolina and in Southern Africa.

Expectations of PIRE Graduate Energy Poverty Fellows

  • Completion of all required coursework in home department
  • Participation in bi-weekly Energy Poverty Graduate Seminar (1 credit) for 3 years
  • Completion of Graduate Certificate in Impact Evaluation
  • Participation in international fieldwork preparation short courses
    • Intensive language training (Chichewa, Bemba, or Shona)
    • Conduct research in developing country settings
  • Fieldwork experience in Southern Africa or other developing country setting
  • Completion of Annual Progress Reports

Participating Departments/Faculty

The following are a list of departments and faculty who are participating in EPPSA. Students should have one of the below listed faculty as their primary faculty advisor.

  • Anthropology (Leslie/West)
  • Environment and Ecology (Leslie/West)
  • Geography (Delamater/Emch)
  • Public Policy (Handa)
  • Sociology (Entwisle/Frankenberg)

Financial and other Support

With support from the National Science Foundation and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, contingent upon satisfactory progress, GEPFs will receive the following benefits:

  • Graduate stipend of $30,000/year (12 months) for up to 3 years
    • Year 1 has no service requirement;
    • Year 2 has a TA service requirement in home department;
    • Year 3 of support requires a defended dissertation proposal and reasonable prospects for completion by the end of the year
  • Tuition, Fees, Health Insurance (up to 3 years as part of the GEPF)
  • Travel funds in 2 of 3 years to participate in EPPSA research in Southern Africa (airfare, per diem, visa fees, incidental expenses)
  • Access to competitive conference travel fund
  • Office space with the cohort of GEPFs at the Carolina Population Center

Application Process for Prospective Students

Interested students must first apply for admission to a PhD program in one of the participating departments:  Anthropology, Environment and Ecology, Geography, Public Policy, or Sociology.  Admission to one of these departments is a requirement for participation in the GEPF.  Prospective students should signal an interest in the EPPSA in the application materials submitted to the Graduate School and the home department.  In addition, students should also provide a 2-page Statement of Interest specifically addressing their research interest in energy poverty in developing countries to Ryan McCord , EPPSA Project Manager by 15 February. Submit your letter as a single PDF with the file name “SURNAME_GEPF_2020”.


Application Process for Matriculated Students

Already matriculated students in their first, second, or third year of graduate study in one of the participating departments may also apply.

  • Please prepare a letter of application no longer than 2 pages explaining:
    • Interest in energy poverty in developing countries
    • Relevant coursework and experience
    • GRE scores
    • In addition, in your letter please answer the following specific questions:
      • Are you in good standing in your home department?
      • What courses and other training do you have in research design and/or quantitative methods?
      • What languages other than English do you speak or have you studied?
      • What is your interest or prior experience working with interdisciplinary and/or intercultural teams?
      • Are you a US Citizenship or Legal Permanent Resident?
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Recommendation letter from a UNC faculty member who can speak to your potential to participate effectively in research in a developing country setting

Submit your letter and unofficial transcript as a single PDF with the file name “SURNAME_GEPF_2020” to Ryan McCord by 15 February. Please ask your recommendation letter writers to submit their letter as a PDF directly to Ryan McCord also by 15 February. Please ask your letter writers to include your surname and the acronym GEPF in the file name of their letter.


If you have questions, please email eppsa@unc.edu.