Robert and Judy Marans & Kan and Lillian Chen Fellowship in Sustainability & Survey Methodology


Not only was the Marans Chen Fellowship instrumental in providing me with a strong methodological background to design and implement a large-scale survey for my dissertation research, it has also helped me to define myself as a scholar.  Whether I'm revising questionnaire wording or deciding upon methodological tweaks to boost response rates on one of the surveys that I manage, or incorporating survey research into an undergraduate environmental policy course, I daily draw upon my Survey Methodology coursework, made possible with the summer funding provided by the Marans Chen Fellowship.  --Sarah Mills


Purpose: To provide support for an early-stage graduate student from any unit at the University of Michigan to earn a certificate in survey methodology from the Institute for Social Research (ISR) Program in Survey Methodology (PSM). The fellowship will support a student who demonstrates a strong commitment to fostering sustainability using social science research methods in combination with creativity and other disciplinary technical skills. This award is based on the belief that the answers to complex sustainability challenges can only be developed through technological solutions that incorporate an understanding of human behavior. The Fellowship linking the Graham Institute and ISR is one way to be sure that interdisciplinary problem solving occurs.

The Program in Survey Methodology: ISR is the world's largest academically-based survey research organization. The Institute's Program in Survey Methodology is where students learn the science of surveys. They receive theoretical grounding in all aspects of survey methodology, from sample design and measurement to modes of data collection, statistical estimation, and probability and distribution. It is important to keep in mind that survey methodology is a quantitative research method, and preparation in some topics in mathematics is going to be useful.

Certificate in Survey Methodology: The certificate program is designed to provide students with specialized knowledge in survey methodology to enhance skills in current positions and to expand career opportunities and to prepare the student to utilize survey methods in conjunction with their graduate program. The Certificate in Survey Methodology is intended to be a part-time program. A sequence of courses comprising 15-16 hours is required. Certificate courses should be completed within a two-year period. The Certificate program can be completed by beginning study in the fall term or by beginning study in the summer term.

Eligibility: The goal of the fellowship is to give student researchers a set of technical skills that will enable them to develop inter-disciplinary solutions to some aspect of sustainability. The winning applicant will be an early-stage graduate student enrolled in a Ph.D. program from across campus who is interested in acquiring technical skills in quantitative social science to study various aspects of sustainability. The ideal applicant will be in his/her first year to assure that the technical survey skills are an essential component of the Fellow's dissertation research.

Level of Support: The Fellowship will provide financial support to complete the certificate in Survey Methodology over a two-year period, including at least one summer. The award will pay for the cost of tuition for obtaining the Certificate. No stipend or insurance is provided.

Background: Robert Marans was a professor of architecture and urban planning in U-M's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning and continues to conduct research at the Institute for Social Research. Prior to his retirement, Kan Chen was a professor of electrical engineering in U-M's College of Engineering and computer science and is known for his efforts to apply systems engineering principles to social problems. Both Chen and Marans served consecutively, as directors of the University-wide interdisciplinary doctoral program in urban, technological and environmental planning between 1980 and 1992.

Past Fellows:

Fellowship Application Process