Center on Race and Social Problems Fellows Program

"The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line." - WEB DuBois, 1903

Although progress has been made since these words were spoken more than a hundred years ago, America’s race-related problems remain with us in the 21st century. Race and ethnicity matter in virtually all aspects of our society and are likely to matter more as our society becomes even more diverse.

The University of Pittsburgh established the Center on Race and Social Problems (CRSP) in 2002 to help lead America further along the path to social justice by conducting race-related research, mentoring emerging scholars, and disseminating race-related research findings and scholarship. CRSP is multidisciplinary in its approach, multiracial in its focus, and was the first race-related research center to be housed in a school of social work.

The mission of CRSP is to conduct applied social-science research on race, color, and ethnicity and their influence on the quality of life for all Americans.

Applications for 2023-2024 are now open!

Fellowship Learning Objectives

The CRSP Fellowship provides MSW students with unique field placement opportunities to work on applied research projects and community-engaged programs that focus on topics related to race, color, ethnicity, and their influence on the quality of life for all Americans. Fellows are expected to engage in rigorous research and contribute to the scholarly work of CRSP. Fellows are also encouraged to develop their own research agendas and to present their work at conferences and other academic forums as part of this field placement experience.

Learning objectives of the CRSP Fellowship:

  1. Deepen understanding of race and social problems: The CRSP Fellowship field placement aims to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the complex issues related to race and social problems. Through their research, fellows will gain insight into the causes and consequences of these problems and explore the ways in which they intersect with other issues.
  2. Develop research and practitioner skills: Fellows will gain valuable experience in research design, data collection and analysis, and program facilitation. They will work closely with faculty mentors to develop their research agendas and will be provided with training and resources to help them conduct their research.
  3. Foster interdisciplinary collaboration: The CRSP Fellowship field placement brings together students from a range of disciplines, including sociology, social work, psychology, public health, and law. Fellows will have the opportunity to collaborate with students from other disciplines and to learn from faculty mentors who have expertise in a variety of fields.
  4. Engage in policy and practice: The CRSP Fellowship field placement encourages fellows to engage with policymakers, practitioners, and community leaders to translate their research into action. Fellows will have the opportunity to work on policy briefs and other materials that translate their research findings for broader audiences.
  5. Promote social justice: The CRSP Fellowship field placement is grounded in a commitment to social justice. Fellows will be encouraged to consider the ethical and moral implications of their research, and to explore the ways in which their work can contribute to a more equitable and just society.

Program Requirements

  • Ability to remain in good academic standing
  • Second-year or advanced standing, full-time students
  • Community, Organization, and Social Action (COSA) Specialization
  • Fulfillment of 720 field placement hours according to enrollment status  
  • Participation in monthly skill-building seminars
  • Active engagement in weekly group supervision sessions
  • Adoption of regular journaling and self-care practices
  • Occasional participation in Fellowship Info Sessions
  • Present a retrospective review of your project-based learning experiences to interested students, faculty, staff at the end of the academic year

Preferred Skills

The Fellowship requires a high degree of creativity, initiative, time management, professionalism, and discretion. Ideal students will be highly self-motivated, well organized, agile project managers. Possessing excellent administrative skills and the ability to independently manage multiple tasks is a ‘plus’.

Required Application Materials

Application materials—including required attachments—will only be accepted when submitted using the Qualtrics application link. Any uploaded documents (resume, statement of interest, letter of recommendation, etc.) must also include the applicant’s name in the naming convention (ex. Thompson_Resume).

Application Link

Recommendation Link

Application Check List:

  • Unofficial transcript
  • Updated Resume
  • One (1) Letter of Recommendation (academic or professional)
  • Completed Statement of Interest (using no more than 1,000 words)
    • What aspects of work done by CRSP interests you most? Why?
    • How will the fellowship contribute to your professional goals and aspiration?
    • What unique skills, abilities, or lived experiences will you bring to CRSP?

Application Process

Applications open on April 1. Interested students must complete and submit all required materials by June 15. In-person and virtual Interviews are scheduled and conducted between June 15 and July 15. All applicants will be notified about their applicant status by August 1 (accepted, wait-listed, or denied). And selected students begin fellowship placements approximately September 1.

If fellowship opportunities are unfilled, applications and interviews will continue on a rolling basis.

Program Benefits

  • Broader understanding of historic and contemporary racial justice issues
  • Development and application of enhanced racial literacy and diversity, equity, and inclusion practitioner skill sets
  • Relationship building with social justice and community engaged practitioners
  • Leadership, program development, research, presentation, and communications skill development
  • Informal mentorship by Pitt faculty conducting race-related research
  • Ability to earn a $6,000 training stipend
  • Opportunity to establish a diverse portfolio of work projects

Please contact the Center on Race and Social Problems with your questions (

Fellowship Program Contact

Ron O. Idoko

Founding Director, Racial Equity Consciousness Institute

Associate Director, Center on Race and Social Problems

Associate Director, Honors Education in Social Innovation, Frederick Honors College

Research Assistant Professor, School of Social Work

Phone: 412 – 624 – 8278


Program Administrator

Karen Womack

Phone: 423 – 624 – 7379