Ralph Bunche Summer Institute (RBSI)
The 2024 RBSI Application Cycle is Now Closed.

The RBSI is an intensive five-week program designed to introduce undergraduate juniors to the world of doctoral study in political science. The 2024 institute will be held May 26 – June 27 at Duke University. The deadline for applications was January 29, 2024.

Students participating in the program take two courses for transferrable credit – one in quantitative analysis and one in race and American politics. Students also receive an introduction to the demands of graduate school, learn political science research methods, and participate in a graduate school recruitment fair. Top students in the program will also be given the opportunity to present their research at the 2024 APSA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Completed applications will include a resume, personal statement, and three letters of recommendation. Please contact the APSA Diversity and Inclusion Programs Team at diversityprograms@apsanet.org with any questions about the institute.

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 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. Participants in the RBSI are drawn from a competitive national applicant pool. 

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.

Quick Links: RBSI Program | RBSI 30th Anniversary | Ralph Bunche Award | RBSI Advisory Committee

Nadia Brown, PhD, Professor, Georgetown 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