Loyola University Chicago

Center for Urban Research and Learning

Graduate Fellowships

CURL Graduate Fellowships facilitate graduate student involvement in collaborative research projects with community-based organizations, social service agencies, health care providers, businesses and government in Chicago's city and suburbs. Graduate students receiving fellowships will gain experience in collaborative research strategies and community-based research.

Fellows are placed on teams with one or more senior CURL researchers and/or faculty, undergraduate fellows, and CURL staff working collaboratively with a partnered organization on one or more action-oriented projects. CURL fellowship work can also provide the foundation for future research, including thesis or dissertation projects. Note however that CURL’s research model is community-initiated and driven – Graduate Fellows do not themselves initiate independent traditional academic research projects as part of this work.

CURL seeks Graduate Fellow applicants with research skills, project coordination abilities, and a desire to contribute to collaborative team-based research. Advanced graduate standing at Loyola University Chicago is desirable.

There are two fellowship categories:
  • Paid Fellowships:
    These are fellowship awards paid on an hourly basis up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and up to full-time in the summer. The hourly rate may vary, but is approximately $18-$19 per hour. 

  • Volunteer Fellowships:
    In cases where students are interested in gaining research experience at CURL, but where paid fellowships are not available, we provide a limited number of volunteer fellowships in a given year. Sometimes these are awarded in conjunction with course credit that a student will be receiving for an independent study. CURL expects volunteer fellows to work a minimum of eight hours a week at the Center. Volunteer fellows are often selected for subsequent paid fellowships at CURL.

The duration of CURL Graduate Fellowships varies widely – from a semester to multiple years. 

Pre-Application Inquiry

Because CURL’s projects are on timelines and funding that do not align with the academic calendar, interested students must submit a pre-application inquiry using this form. A CURL staff member will follow-up with you within two weeks of your form submission to discuss possible areas of involvement and need in CURL research.  Pre-application inquiries are reviewed and responded to throughout the calendar year.

Invited Applications 

After one or more conversations with CURL Staff, you may be invited to apply for the fellowship.

Applications should include:
  • A resume or CV
  • A brief statement of career interests as they relate to research, social justice, and community-based work
  • A description of any past involvement in community-based work
  • A writing sample of 20 pages or less
  • Two letters of recommendation from faculty members (one can be from a community-based organization or an outside agency for which you have worked)
  • A letter for support from the department graduate program director or chair

Although we cannot fund or accept all applications received, we will work as much as possible with all students to identify potential community partners and possible support for collaborative projects.

Applications should be sent to:

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Dr. Gina Spitz, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, gspitz@luc.edu