Program for Advanced Research in the Social Sciences (PARISS)

Program for Advanced Research in the Social Sciences (PARISS)

The Program for Advanced Research in the Social Sciences (PARISS) offers Duke graduate students an interdisciplinary context in which to develop and apply their methodological skills.

PARISS is home to a graduate certificate in advanced quantitative methods in the social sciences and supports dissertation-stage graduate students through fellowships and earlier-stage graduate students through assistantships. Fellows and Assistants pursue advanced training and gain mentoring and teaching skills by providing consulting services through SSRI’s Connection Bar.

Fellowships and Assistantships

The PARISS Fellowship and the PARISS Assistantship programs offer Duke graduate students financial support, office space, computing and other research and administrative support in the Social Science Research Institute.

  • Fellows must be advanced graduate students working toward their dissertation, with interest and achievement in quantitative social science; they are selected annually via a competitive application from nominees from the various social science departments and units across Duke University.SSRI is typically able to offer at least four stipends each year. Fellows participate in SSRI activities, including presenting their own research, pursuing training in diverse social and behavioral science methods and tools, and advising undergraduate researchers and others through their roles as consultants at the Connection Bar. Nomination of candidates for the Fellows Program will be solicited each spring from all Ph.D. graduate programs in social science and related disciplines at Duke University.
  • Assistants are typically second- or third-year doctoral students or masters students at any stage of their studies. Like fellows, they must have demonstrated interest in quantitative social science and are expected to pursue further training and to support other researchers during the course of their assistantships. Support for PARISS assistants is determined on a case-by-case basis in collaboration with each student’s department or school and as a function of the nature of the responsibilities of each individual assistantship.

Certificate Program

PARISS offers a certificate in advanced quantitative methods in the social sciences, providing interested doctoral students with a coherent and integrated understanding of mathematical methods in the social sciences. While each social science may have unique disciplinary techniques, the social sciences as a whole have much to teach each other in cross-disciplinary development of formal models, data collection, model estimation and hypothesis testing. Additionally, the best testing of hypotheses comes in integration with the theory from which the hypotheses are derived. One of the special emphases of this certificate is deriving testable hypotheses from theory.


Most candidates for the certificate will have constructed a unique combination of courses; that combination needs to achieve the basic skills and methodological training. To ensure that individual curricular programs meet these needs, candidates for the certificate must submit a detailed course plan to the PARISS board of advisors for approval. Any changes to that plan need advance approval of the board. The board will confirm achievement of the certificate only if it is satisfied that the criteria fulfilling the core requirements have been met.

Application schedule

Ph.D. students in participating social science departments will normally apply to the certificate program in the spring of their first or early in their second year. All applications will be carefully scrutinized in consultation with the home department to ensure feasibility of achieving both the certificate and the Ph.D. in a timely fashion.

Core Requirements
Example Programs for the Advanced Training Requirement
Certificate Application
Grad School Application


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