Broadening the PhD Pipeline: A Summer Research Program for HBCU Students

Over the past four decades, the political science profession has made no significant progress in increasing the number of African American political science faculty in the American academy. We introduce, describe, and evaluate a program meant to broaden the Ph.D. pipeline in political science to achieve greater equity and inclusion. In its 5th year, the program brings undergraduate students from two Historically-Black Colleges and Universities (Morehouse and Spelman) to an R-1 political science Ph.D. department (UC San Diego) for a 7-week long summer program in which they are paired up with a faculty mentor to conduct research, prepare, and present an original project. Additionally, participants attend methods classes, GRE preparatory workshops, subfield presentations from graduate students and faculty in the host department, and social events. We evaluate the program’s success with data on the composition of the host institution’s Ph.D. program and with exit surveys conducted with all participants from 2016-2018. Finally, we draw key lessons from our experience piloting this program in an effort to offer a template that can be easily adopted by political science departments interested either in expanding the PhD pipeline, or in improving their own applicant and cohort diversity.