Political Science Predoctoral Summer Institute – Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


TIMING AND CONTENT

When will the PS-PSI be held?

The Georgetown University Political Science Predoctoral Summer Institute (PS-PSI) is a week-long training program, held annually. This year the PS-PSI will take place between June 6 and 10, 2022. We strongly encourage participants to arrive in Washington D.C. on the afternoon of Sunday, June 5, and we will have a kick-off dinner that evening. The Institute will conclude with a closing dinner on the evening of Friday, June 10. 

Who will I meet and interact with at the PS-PSI?

About 20 undergraduate students from colleges and universities in DC, DE, MD, VA, and WV will attend the PS-PSI this summer. In addition to interacting with each other, participants will spend time with faculty and PhD students in Georgetown’s Department of Government. These PhD students will serve as mentors offering you support during the Institute and afterwards.

What will I do at the PS-PSI?

The PS-PSI is a week-long training program that seeks to introduce participants to political science. Through interactive workshops, you will hone your research skills, learn more about what it means to do PhD-level research in political science, and work on your application materials to PhD programs. By the end of the Institute, you should have a good idea of what is involved in doing a PhD in political science, and be well positioned to continue developing your applications to PhD programs if you choose to apply.

Does the PS-PSI have a research component?

If you are selected to participate in the PS-PSI, we will ask you to develop the Research Pitch that you wrote as part of your application (see the application form, and questions about the application below) into a more detailed proposal, thinking about questions such as what kind of data collection and data analysis the study would employ. Through the week-long Institute, we will encourage you to continue to develop that research proposal, and to think about how the substance and methods of political science that you are learning about relate to your proposal. The proposal could also serve as the basis for part of your application to PhD programs.   

I have other commitments during the week of the PS-PSI. Can I partially participate in the PS-PSI?

No. The program is designed to be attended in full. Taking part for only a few days and skipping the rest would diminish the usefulness of the program for you and for the other participants as well.


COST, LOGISTICS & PRACTICAL INFORMATION

This sounds expensive. What does it cost?

The PS-PSI is free and fully funded for all successful applicants, including meals and lodging for the nights of Sunday, June 5 through Friday, June 10. Your travel to and from Washington D.C. will be paid (up to $150), and you will receive a $1,000 stipend. 

Will the PS-PSI be held in person or online?

We aim to hold the PS-PSI in person. We recognize that, given the unpredictable nature of the Covid-19 pandemic, this may not be possible. If circumstances prevent us from holding the PS-PSI in-person, it will be held online during the week for which it is currently planned (June 6 through 10).

If the PS-PSI is held in-person, can I attend remotely?

We strongly encourage those who apply to the PS-PSI to commit to attending in person. We will consider requests to attend remotely on a case-by-case basis.

What are the PS-PSI’s Covid-19 policies?

At present, all visitors to the Georgetown campus must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and must wear masks inside campus buildings. The PS-PSI will follow the university protocols that are in place in June, and will update this FAQ to reflect them.


APPLYING TO THE PS-PSI

Why should I apply?

The PS-PSI offers an opportunity to learn more about what it means to do graduate work in the field of political science; to interact with students and faculty in graduate programs in political science; and to get to know, and form part of a small cohort of, extraordinary students. If you like thinking about political problems and are considering applying to PhD programs, and are wondering what such programs are like, we encourage you to apply to the PS-PSI.

I attend a college or university outside DC, DE, MD, VA or WV. Can I still apply?

We are looking specifically for students attending colleges or universities in DC, DE, MD, VA, and WV. To apply, you must be enrolled at a college or university in one of those four states or DC.

What is the deadline to apply?

The deadline to apply is March 15, 2022. 

Can you help me apply?

We cannot help you with the materials of your application, but would love to answer any questions you may have. You can reach us at pssummerinst@georgetown.edu. 

I am interested in political science, but my college / university does not have a political science major or program. Can I still apply?

We understand that some schools offer political science as a minor, have isolated courses, or offer courses in related programs. Students majoring in related programs such as public policy, history, international relations or political philosophy are encouraged to apply. If you are in doubt, feel free to reach out to us and check.

I think I am ready to apply. What do you require? 

You will need to provide us with a few types of information in your application:

  • An email address at which we can reach you
  • A Statement of Interest (250-300 words) explaining why you would like to take part in the PS-PSI
  • A Contribution Statement (250-300 words) discussing the contribution your personal background would make to the PS-PSI and to the diversity of the Summer 2022 cohort
  • A Research Pitch (250-300 words) outlining a topic that you are interested in researching
  • An email address for one professor, faculty member, mentor or teaching assistant who can provide a letter of recommendation addressing your academic talents. 
  • An unofficial transcript showing the courses you have taken and your GPA


What should I include in my Research Pitch?

This is up to you! We hope that you will describe a research direction: a political phenomenon or dynamic, in a particular place or places, at a certain time or over the course of some time, that you would like to learn more about. And we encourage you to tell us why you think it is important for the field of political science that research is done on that topic in order to discover more about it.

Are there any other application requirements?

Yes – you need to be majoring in political science, government, international relations, or a related field (e.g., a liberal arts or humanities field with a focus on government or politics), and you need to have a cumulative GPA to date of 3.5 and have demonstrated excellence in the field of political science.  

I know I have to indicate the name of a faculty member who can serve as a reference for me.  Should I ask that person to serve as a reference before I put their name down?

Yes, it is a good idea to ask that person if they would be willing to serve as a reference for you before you include their name on the application form.

Who should I ask to serve as a reference for me?

We will ask the person you note as a reference to write a letter of recommendation for you. The best recommendation letters are written by a professor you have taken a class with or otherwise worked with, who knows your abilities, and who can speak to your strengths. Alternatively a faculty member who serves as an academic mentor to you, or a Teaching Assistant who has graded your work and with whom you have a good relationship, could write you a recommendation.


ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS

I think I would like to attend the PS-PSI, but I am not sure I want to apply to Georgetown’s PhD in Government program. Do I have to apply to Georgetown’s PhD program if I attend the PS-PSI?

No, you are under no obligation to apply to Georgetown’s PhD in Government program if you attend the PS-PSI. However, if you do apply, Georgetown will waive the application fee. 

What if I’m not sure I want to go to graduate school yet?

That’s perfectly fine! The PS-PSI is designed to give you an impression of what it would be like to pursue a PhD in political science. If the PS-PSI helps you to make up your mind, whether that means you very much do or absolutely do not want to pursue a PhD in Political Science, it will have been a success. 

What will happen after the PS-PSI?

After the PS-PSI, we hope to stay in touch. Current PhD students from the Department of Government at Georgetown University will be available to help you with questions as you continue your studies as a junior or senior in college, or apply to graduate school, in the Fall of 2022. You can reach out to your “near-peer” mentor for help at any point during the twelve months following the PS-PSI. 

I would love to apply, but this year does not work for me. Will there be another chance?

This is the first year we are holding the PS-PSI, and we hope to continue offering the program each summer for many years to come. We would love to see your application next year, or whenever you are ready!

If you have questions about any other aspect of the PS-PSI – or if you have questions about our answers above! – please don’t hesitate to send us an email at pspredocsumminst@georgetown.edu. We look forward to hearing from you!