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Pathways to the Education Sciences Research Training Program


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FY Awards

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Dr. Katina Stapleton
(202) 2456181


The Pathways to the Education Sciences Research Training program was established by IES to develop a pipeline of talented education researchers who bring fresh ideas, approaches, and perspectives to addressing the issues and challenges faced by the nation's diverse students and schools.

Pathways Training Program grants are awarded to minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and their partners that create education research training programs (eight weeks to 1 year in length) that prepare fellows for doctoral study. While the formats of Pathways programs vary, the core features are:

  • a required research apprenticeship, in which participants gain hands-on research experience under the supervision of faculty mentors.
  • an education problem or issue chosen as the research theme of the training program,
  • the development of methodological knowledge and skills; and
  • career development.

Training participants (known as Pathways fellows) may include upper-level undergraduates (juniors and seniors), post-baccalaureate students (within 5 years of receiving a bachelor's degree), or students enrolled in master's degree programs. Fellows who complete their Pathways Training Program should be prepared to enter a doctoral program in which they can pursue a future career in education research.

Since 2016, IES has awarded six Pathways Training Program grants to universities that include three Historically Black Universities, two Hispanic Serving Institutions, and a MSI that is designated as both a Hispanic Serving and an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution. IES's total investment in these six programs is approximately $6 million. Each program will offer one-year training fellowships to at least 40 fellows over the course of the 5 year award period.

The Institute's newest training program, Pathways to the Education Sciences Research Training Program (Pathways Training Program), was launched in 2015 as part of a federal-wide effort to broaden participation of underrepresented groups in the scientific community. The Pathways Training Program seeks to both:

  • increase the number of fellows from groups underrepresented in doctoral study, including racial and ethnic minorities, first-generation college students, economically disadvantaged students, veterans, and students with disabilities and
  • provide greater diversity in the types of institutions that provide IES-funded research training.

To meet these goals, each Pathways Training program must provide specific strategies for promoting diversity in its program and for recruiting fellows from diverse groups underrepresented in doctoral programs. In addition, each Pathways Training program must be hosted by an MSI (or in partnership with an MSI). IES included this requirement because of MSIs historical role in preparing underrepresented minority students who pursue doctoral degrees.

Individual Pathways Training programs can be of varying formats, lengths, and foci; however, at a minimum, they each must have an education research theme and research apprenticeship opportunities for fellows. Each program is also required be interdisciplinary—involving fields such as education, statistics, economics, sociology, psychology, and public policy—and provide opportunities for students to learn how researchers are addressing significant issues and challenges facing education policymakers and practitioners. Although not required, the Institute strongly encourages programs to provide a course or seminar that addresses the program's theme, mentoring, and additional activities designed to assist fellows in applying for admission to doctoral programs.

Students interested in becoming Pathways fellows must apply for admission to a training program, not to IES. Each training program has its own admission process and selection criteria. Potential fellows can receive information about applying for a fellowship by contacting the training program directly.