APSA Ralph Bunche Summer Institute Application Process

The Ralph Bunche Summer Institute Program (RBSI) is an annual, intensive five-week program held at Duke University. The program is designed to introduce aspiring political scientists to the world of doctoral study. The program is open to students from traditionally underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds or those interested in broadening participation in political science and pursuing scholarship on issues affecting underrepresented groups or issues of tribal sovereignty and governance.


Applications for the 2021 Institute are now closed. 


RBSI Program Dates 

Duke University and local health regulations permitting, the program will take place in summer 2021. If APSA is unable to host an in-person institute, APSA may consider shifting to an online program for selected Bunche Scholars.


Eligibility Criteria


  • Applicants must be a member of one of the following underrepresented racial or ethnic minority groups: African Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, Latinos/as, American Indians or Alaska natives, and Native Hawaiians, or an individual who is interested in broadening participation in political science by students from underrepresented minority populations and pursuing scholarship on issues affecting underrepresented groups or issues of tribal sovereignty and governance.
  • Applicants must be college/university juniors.
  • Applicants must demonstrate an interest in teaching and potential for research in political science.
  • Applicants must be a US citizen, US national, US permanent resident (holder of a permanent resident card), or an individual granted deferred action status under the deferred action for childhood arrivals program (DACA) at time of application.  

Applying for the Institute
To apply, create an APSA profile and submit an online application. All application materials (transcripts and letters of recommendation) must be submitted through the online application portal to be reviewed by the selection committee. You may submit unofficial transcripts or degree audits in lieu of official transcripts for the purposes of application.

Questions about the program or application process should be directed to the APSA Diversity & Inclusion Programs Team at  [email protected]. 



The 2021 RBSI application is now closed. To be notified when the 2022 RBSI application cycle opens, please email  [email protected].  

RBSI Applicant Checklist

 APSA RBSI Program Application (online by applicant): Includes fields for personal statement, resume, and list of recommenders.

✔ Transcripts
Official transcripts, unofficial transcripts, or degree audits must be provided for each undergraduate institution attended. 

  Three letters of recommendation
One from the department chair, and two more from other people who are familiar with the applicant's academic qualifications.