The Institute is structured as a five-day “skills deep dive,” including panels, presentations, and small group discussions. Overall, the Institute aims to:
- introduce the goals, fields, and methods of political science;
- clarify the process of applying to a PhD program, including choosing universities to which to apply, funding, preparing application materials, hearing decisions, and visiting, selecting, and negotiating;
- familiarize participants with the experience of being a graduate student and political scientist; and
- highlight the various careers that political science PhDs can pursue, inside and outside of higher education.
Applicants submit a brief “research pitch” as part of their application, and those who are selected to attend the Institute are provided guidance on how to convert that “pitch” into a longer “research proposal” prior to the Institute. At the Institute, participants discuss their proposal with faculty, graduate student mentors, and fellow participants, and present their proposal to a small group. Such proposals often become part of participants’ doctoral application materials. The overall goal of this aspect of the Institute is for participants to continue to develop their research interests and to envision themselves as researchers.