Video: RBSI Scholars Present Research at the 2019 APSA Annual Meeting iPoster Sessions in Washington, DC


Each year, the APSA Ralph Bunche Summer Institute (RBSI) program hosts up to 20 undergraduates over the a summer research and political science training experience. The 2019 APSA RBSI class was comprised of 15 students from colleges and universities from around the country. At the completion of each program, the top performing students are invited to present their research at the annual meeting. In 2019, seven RBSI Scholars were invited to attend the 2019 Annual Meeting in Washington DC to present their research in the annual RBSI iPoster session. Read the 2019 iPosters (search “RBSI”)

About RBSI
The Ralph Bunche Summer Institute (RBSI) program, created in 1986, is designed to increase the number of underrepresented students enrolling in and attending political science graduate programs. The RBSI program encourages students to pursue academic careers in political science by enhancing writing, research, and analytical skills to increase competitiveness in the application and financial aid process for graduate school.

Over the past 34 years, the APSA Ralph Bunche Summer Institute (RBSI) has inspired nearly 600 undergraduate students to consider pursuing academic careers in political science through exposure to graduate-level coursework in research methodology and racial and ethnic politics. Rising college seniors from across the country participate in an intensive 5-week program intended to simulate the graduate school experience through hands-on experience with an introduction to political science inquiry and scholarship. RBSI scholars also conduct original research and complete an empirical final research paper. Over the years, the RBSI program has been held at various universities. Since 2000, RBSI has been hosted by Duke University under the direction of Dr. Paula D. McClain, the current APSA president. The RBSI is funded by support from Duke University, APSA and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. Paula D. McClain was awarded a $462,000 grant that will provide funding through 2021.

Looking ahead, the RBSI Advisory Committee is working to assist the APSA Council, leadership, staff and program alumni with planning the mid and long-term future of the RBSI program. This includes implementing strategies for sustainability, growth and additional partnerships.

Alumni Outcomes
RBSI alumni go on to attend graduate school in political science, earn PhDs, and enter the professoriate. Since 1986, 15% of RBSI alumni have received PhDs in political science. This outcome is on par or higher than other similar pipeline programs for students from underrepresented backgrounds. RBSI alumni also have gone on to earn PhDs in cognate disciplines, as well as professional degrees. Currently, there are over 20 RBSI alumni enrolled in political science PhD programs. RBSI alumni who have earned PhDs in political science hold tenure track faculty positions and research and teach across all of the disciplinary fields. For more information on RBSI alumni, read the alumni reflections.

Contribute to the Bunche Fund
Nearly $250,000 is required to cover the costs associated with RBSI each year. APSA’s priority is to fully fund the Ralph Bunche Summer Institute not only for this year or next year but for generations of students to come. APSA invites you to join us in securing the future of the RBSI program. APSA contributed $1,250,000 to start this effort, and with thanks to the generosity of grateful RBSI alumni, members of the political science community, and other sources of support, we are within 20% of our $2,500,000 fundraising goal. To make a contribution, visit To learn more about the RBSI program, visit us at or contact us