PhD Workshop Detail
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Hosted by the ACSP Doctoral Committee

The 2020 workshop is going virtual! One workshop over the span of three Fridays: October 16, 23, and 30

The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning and the Doctoral Committee of ACSP invites doctoral students of planning working on their dissertation research to attend the 2020 ACSP PhD Workshop, to be held virtually prior to the 2020 ACSP Annual Conference.

This workshop attracts PhD students from planning programs from around the world to gather and discuss the practical details of creating, producing, distributing and consuming planning knowledge among scholars. Participants will work on conceiving, designing, and presenting PhD-quality research to multiple audiences, including, most centrally, their peers. Students will advise one another as scholars pursuing unique research paths within a community of shared inquiry. The faculty work jointly as teachers, advisors, and coaches.


Participants & Faculty

The workshop is oriented toward planning doctoral students who have passed their qualifying examination (or equivalent) and will be defending, or have recently defended, their PhD dissertation proposal within about six months prior to or following the workshop. Students will have multiple opportunities to present their work to their fellow students and workshop faculty in smaller breakout sessions. Students will be expected to submit a synopsis of their dissertation proposal about one month before the workshop. The workshop will be limited to approximately 20-25 students to ensure adequate time for participation and feedback. Workshop faculty will be drawn from several institutions. All have extensive experience advising PhD students in multiple domains.


Comments from Past Workshop Attendees

"Participation in the ACSP PhD workshop provided gave me the opportunity to take a broader perspective of my dissertation research. The workshop helped me enhance the rigor and focus of my project, and the instructors and fellow participants provided invaluable feedback. I especially enjoyed meeting students from other institutions and learning about their dissertation research."  --Sophie Kelmenson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"The PhD Workshop provided the opportunity to refine how I present my dissertation research to a knowledgeable, thoughtful audience of doctoral students and professors. The group gave me valuable constructive feedback and helped me work through some of the more complex aspects of my project. I also found the opportunity to hear the faculty leaders' more general advice about the path toward finishing a dissertation, publishing, the academic job market, and the tenure track incredibly useful. Beyond the substantive benefits of the workshop, I feel like a gained a cohort of new colleagues from across the country and made valuable connections with a supportive group of professors. Overall, I was extremely grateful to have been involved and would recommend the workshop to other students without hesitation." -- Tyler Haupert, Columbia University

"The workshop really helped me to get a better feel for what the job market and job application process are like for academic jobs in planning. I feel like I came away from the workshop with an understanding of what work I still have yet to do in order to be ready to apply for jobs. The workshop also helped me to situate my dissertation better within the literature of planning. As someone from a non-planning PhD school (I am in public affairs) I have struggled to understand how I might be a viable applicant for planning jobs, and this workshop helped me understand the contribution my dissertation makes. Finally, the workshop helped me to make friends with fellow PhD students who are in the same boat as myself. Sometimes it’s hard to meet fellow students, as my “networking” bandwidth is typically consumed by trying to meet professors and more senior scholars. So it was great to establish a cohort of phd candidates to stay in contact with." --Andrew J. Van Leuven, John Glenn College of Public Affairs

"Thank you for organizing this workshop! It was a very valuable experience in terms of thinking broader about my research methods. I haven't even thought about using an experimental design in my dissertation before I talked to Dr. Dick Norton. It was like opening a new world to me.
-- Gala Korniyenko, The Ohio State University



The one registration fee of $125 will include attendance at both the workshop, and attendance to the ACSP Annual Conference, November 5-8, 2020. After notice of acceptance to the workshop, we will provide steps to formally register to attend both events.


Workshop Themes

The workshop will include both plenary and small-group sessions. Each student will make at least two presentations about his or her research during the course of the workshop. The workshop organization will be based on four questions about dissertation research: Who, Why, What, and How?

  • WHO: Who is the audience for your research? Will it be undertaken and presented in a manner that is understandable to your audience?
  • WHY: What purpose does your inquiry serve? Why should others care about your research? What difference will your inquiry and results make?
  • WHAT: What is your central hypothesis or proposition, or argument? What knowledge claims do you expect your research to support? What questions do you hope to answer?
  • HOW: How do you expect to conduct your inquiry? How will you organize your inquiry (Research design)? What tools do you need to answer your major questions (Methodology)?


Tentative Workshop Agenda

Information coming soon!


Key Dates

Application Deadline (both parts, see below!)  Friday, September 11
Notification of Acceptance Friday, September 18
If accepted, commit and register to attend Friday, September 25
Synopsis of Dissertation Proposal Due Friday, October 2
Workshop Dates
Three Fridays, October 16, 23 and 30

How to Apply- Two Parts

Part One
Applications must be submitted on-line using the form below. This form is only one part of the application process! Application materials to be submitted using the form include:

  1. A current resume or CV
  2. Completion of a short – no more than 500 word abstract of the applicant’s dissertation project
  3. The name and email address of the applicant’s principal academic advisor. The advisor will be required to respond, see part two below.

Part Two
Before your application will be reviewed by the ACSP Doctoral Committee, your faculty advisor must send an email directly to by the same September 11 deadline, including responses to the following questions:

  1. Name of the workshop applicant
  2. Please provide any thoughts on the significance of the applicant's proposed dissertation research and how he/she might benefit especially by participation in this workshop.
  3. Has the applicant advanced to PhD candidacy (or equivalent)? Yes or No. If yes, on what date?
  4. Has the applicant defended his/her dissertation proposal (or equivalent)? Yes or No.
    • If yes, on what date?
    • If no, approximately when do you expect the applicant to defend his/her dissertation?


Application Review

Applications will not be reviewed without both parts as described above: the form AND the email from the advisor. Applications will be reviewed by the ACSP Doctoral Committee during the week of September 14th. Previous years’ workshops have been able to accommodate about 50-60% of those who applied.


Dissertation Proposal

All those selected to participate must submit a four-page (single-spaced) summary of the student’s dissertation research proposal no later than Friday, October 2. These will be distributed among participating students and faculty prior to the workshop.


For More Information


Workshop & Conference Registration Form

If you received a notification of acceptance to attend the 2020 PhD Workshop, please use this link to register for both the workshop and the conference. The deadline to register for the workshop is September 25. Thank you!




The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning promotes education, research, service and outreach in the United States and throughout the world by seeking to:

  • recognize diverse needs and interests in planning;
  • improve and enhance the accreditation process, and;
  • strengthen the role of planning education in colleges and universities through publications, conferences, and community engagement;
  • extend planning beyond the classroom into the world of practice.


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