Ralph Bunche Summer Institute (RBSI)


The 2020 APSA Virtual Bunche Summer Program is in Session

APSA is pleased to announce that the 2020 APSA Virtual Bunche Summer Program is now in session. The alternative program will run from June 22, 2020 -- July 17, 2020 and is taking place completely online. The virtual sessions will include talks by faculty and RBSI Alumni, research writing sessions, professional development sessions, GRE prep courses, and a virtual graduate school fair. Please send any questions to [email protected] 


Update on the 2020 Ralph Bunche Summer Institute 

As of April 1, the 2020 Ralph Bunche Summer Institute (RBSI) has been cancelled. APSA worked closely with Dr. Paula D. McClain, the Dean of the Graduate School at Duke University and the director of the Ralph Bunche Summer Institute, to determine the feasibility of hosting RBSI in light of the spread of the coronavirus. At this time, all summer programming at Duke has been cancelled including the 2020 APSA RBSI program. While we very much regret this outcome, APSA understands the responsibility of Duke University to the health and safety of all students, faculty, and employees.  


APSA is currently identifying supplemental engagement opportunities for the accepted 2020 RBSI Class. We remain committed to supporting this strong group of scholars as they prepare to pursue doctoral work in the discipline. If you are an alumnus of RBSI and have the interest and ability to mentor a Bunche Fellow, please email the APSA Diversity & Inclusion team at [email protected].   


About the RBSI Program
The Ralph Bunche Summer Institute Program (RBSI) is an annual, intensive five-week program held at Duke University. It is designed to introduce to the world of doctoral study in political science those undergraduate students from under-represented racial and ethnic groups or those interested in broadening participation in political science and pursuing scholarship on issues affecting underrepresented groups or issues of tribal sovereignty and governance. Participants in the RBSI are drawn from a competitive national applicant pool. APSA RBSI Scholars - Read Bios of the Current Cohort!


Named in honor of the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize winner, former APSA President, and the first African American to receive a PhD in political science, Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, the Ralph Bunche Summer Institute (RBSI) encourages students to pursue academic careers in political science.The RBSI does this by:

  • Enhancing writing, research, and analytical skills to increase competitiveness in the application and financial aid process for graduate school;
  • Developing statistical skills for data analysis used in political science;
  • Exposing participants to the significant questions in the discipline and profession of political science;  
  • Introducing participants to leading political scientists; and
  • Educating participants about political science career opportunities and encouraging their application to doctoral programs in political science.

* Learn more about the RBSI Program
* Learn about the RBSI 30th Anniversary
* Learn about the Ralph Bunche Award
Learn about the RBSI Advisory Committee



Nadia Brown, PhD
Associate Professor, Purdue University, RBSI Class of 2003

"The skills I learned at RBSI were a crucial foundation that enabled me to be successful in graduate school at Rutgers University. The knowledge gained at RBSI and connections that I made through the program have helped me to produce innovative scholarship on Black women political elites." - Professor Brown

See more RBSI Alumni Reflections