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 interested in broadening participation in political science and pursuing scholarship on issues affecting underrepresented groups or issues of tribal sovereignty and governance.


The 2024 application cycle is now closed. 


RBSI Program Dates 

The 2024 Ralph Bunche Summer Institute program dates will be held May 26 - June 27 at Duke University. 


Eligibility Criteria
  • Applicants must be interested in pursuing scholarship on issues affecting underrepresented groups such as race, ethnicity, systemic racism, gender, LGBTQ politics, disability politics, Indigenous politics, or issues of tribal sovereignty and governance.    
  • Applicants must be interested in broadening participation in political science.  
  • Applicants must be college/university juniors (applying in the summer of their junior year). 
  • 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.  

First generation students/scholars and individuals from the following historically under-represented racial/ethnic groups such as African Americans, Asian and Asian Pacific Americans, Latinos/as, American Indians or Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians and scholars of MENA descent are strongly encouraged to apply. 


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.


Vaccination Requirements

RBSI attendees are registered as Duke University students and are subject to vaccination requirements on campus. Duke strongly recommends getting up-to-date vaccinations against COVID-19, especially for those with conditions that place them at higher risk. Learn more about Duke University vaccines and exemptions. 


Questions about the program or application process should be directed to the APSA Diversity & Inclusion Programs Team at  diversityprograms@apsanet.org. 


Please note that this program is administered by and held at Duke University.


To be notified when the 2025 RBSI application cycle opens, please email  diversityprograms@apsanet.org.  

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.