BELS Fellows

Berkeley Empirical Legal Studies (BELS) Graduate Fellowship

2020-21 Applications for the BELS Fellowship will open Monday, February 24th.
Click here to view the current 2019-20 BELS Fellows.

Beginning in 2009-2010, the Center for the Study of Law and Society initiated a new program for graduate students at Berkeley, the Graduate Fellowship in Empirical Legal Studies. The University of California, Berkeley has long been associated with innovative empirical research on law, at least since the founding of the Center for the Study of Law and Society by Philip Selznick in 1961. CSLS is one of the headwaters for the law and society field and empirical legal studies. Today, Berkeley Empirical Legal Studies (BELS) is characterized by a rich interdisciplinary approach that seeks to ground empirical analysis in sociolegal theory and embrace a broad range of methods, both quantitative and qualitative.

BELS Fellows are doctoral students drawn from a wide range of disciplines across the UC Berkeley campus, including (but not limited to) those in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, Biological Sciences, International Studies and Area Studies, Schools of Public Health, Business, and Public Policy, Colleges of Natural Sciences and Engineering, as well as from the School of Law (PhD, JD and JSD). Ten or eleven (10-11) Fellows are selected annually.

Eligibility: UC Berkeley doctoral, JD, and JSD students engaged in theoretically-informed, empirical research projects that investigate the origins, dynamics, and/or consequences of law and law-related social institutions. Preference is given to students who will be in their third year or beyond during the period of the Fellowship. We welcome projects that use quantitative and/or qualitative methodology, and address contemporary or historical contexts. Students are expected to be in residence at UC Berkeley for the duration of the period they hold a BELS Fellowship.

The benefits of the fellowship are:

  1. A research fund of up to $1000 for research related expenses. 
  2. Monthly BELS Fellows Workshops led by CSLS Faculty Director where Fellows present and discuss their research. Fellows will also have the opportunity to attend and participate in CSLS activities, such as the Empirical Research Methods Workshops, the CSLS Speaker Series, and other conferences and events. 
  3. Opportunities for informal scholarly exchange with other Fellows from many UCB departments, faculty members from Berkeley Law and other units on campus, and with many of the visiting scholars doing research at CSLS.

This year, applications will be accepted during a 7-week period from
February 24, 2020 – April 13, 2020.


Click here for more information about the application process
and to access application materials.


If you have any questions regarding the application process, please contact