NIJ’s Research Assistantship Program

NIJ's Research Assistantship Program

The National Institute of Justice is thrilled to announce its NIJ Research Assistantship Program (RAP). The program is designed to support criminal justice research and to provide highly qualified doctoral students with practical and applied research experience. Universities nominate enrolled students for research assistantships, and NIJ selects from the nominees based on their background and expertise. NIJ provides funds to participating universities to pay salaries and other costs associated with research assistants who work on NIJ research activities.

The National Institute of Justice is dedicated to improving knowledge and understanding of crime and justice issues through science.


NIJ has set basic qualifications in specific areas for candidates. These includes:

  • University Enrollment:Candidates must be enrolled in a research-based doctoral-degree program at a public or private university. Universities should contact the RAP manager at to determine if they qualify for program participation.
  • Degree Program: Candidates must be working towards a doctoral degree throughout the research assistantship period of performance. Degree programs include Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Doctor of Public Administration (D.P.A.), Doctor of Public Health (D.P.H.) and Doctor of Social Work (D.S.W.).
  • Reasoning Ability: Research assistants must be able to work independently, accurately, and in a timely manner.
  • Communication Skills: Candidates should have the ability to communicate orally and in writing to prepare comprehensive research reports, proposals, and evaluations, and to make recommendations to accomplish and enhance project objectives.
  • Certifications, Licenses, and Registrations: Human Subjects Protection training is required. Accepted research assistants will take training on site at the Office of Justice Programs.
  • Background Check: Successful completion and approval of all required U.S. Department of Justice profile and prescreening paperwork, security reviews, and background investigations (such as credit and criminal investigations) are required.
  • Citizenship: Applicants must be U.S. citizens.

How to Apply:

Before the candidates can be nominated by their university, they must provide their GPD with:

  • Statement of interest (1,000 words maximum) that describes the applicant’s background and qualifications, current educational program objectives, the basis for interest in the assistantship—including issues of interest and skills to be acquired— and career goals, including how the assistantship would support those goals. This statement should also include the placement or placements for which they wish to be considered.
  • Criminal Justice Challenge Essay: Applicant should provide an essay describing what they consider to be the greatest challenge (or set of challenges) within criminal justice that can be addressed through advances in science (including social and behavioral), technology, engineering or mathematics within the next 20 years, and why. The applicant will need to explain why this challenge is important and what advances could be employed to address the challenge. (500 words).
  • A resume/CV
  • An unofficial copy of their transcript covering all of their graduate studies
  • One Letter of Reference. Letter of recommendation must be from an individual who can comment on the student’s professional competence and other qualities and interests that make the applicant especially qualified to serve as a research assistant.

Submitting Details:

Universities recommend doctoral students for selection to research assistant positions supported by NIJ. The university’s recommendation(s) must be submitted by the GPD to the NIJ RAP manager. The GDP may submit multiple student application packets to the following address:

Financial Aid and Award Money:

  • NIJ and each participating university establish an agreement through which NIJ provides funds to pay research assistants’ salaries, health insurance, and tuition remission (via a memorandum of understanding and inter-agency or cooperative agreement).
  • The provision and amount of these funds are determined by the university’s standard practice for similarly situated graduate research assistants whose work is performed at the university.
  • NIJ determines the number, type and length of research assistantships that it will support, if any, based partly on the availability of funds.
  • Research assistantship appointments last for one year, with the possibility of reappointment depending on mid-year reviews, funding availability, and agreements between NIJ and the research assistant’s university.

Application Deadline:

Placements for the academic year 2017-18 are open. Applications are due by January 27, 2017. NIJ plans to make decisions on placements in April 2017.

Link for More Information:

Contact Information:

If you have any query, kindly email at

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