Research Opportunities

The University of Minnesota is known for its top researchers, and faculty within the Department of Political Science are no exception. Research opportunities allow you to work one-on-one with faculty of high caliber. Be sure to take the time to get to know our faculty and their interests.

The Department of Political Science invites full-time students at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities who are interested in conducting academic research on the Presidency, the national policymaking process, or the President’s relationships with Congress and other political actors to apply for the Presidential Fellows Program offered by the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress (CSPC)

The Presidential Fellows Program is a year-long, non-resident program in which students:

  • Conduct original academic research culminating in a 10-15 page research paper.
  • Consult regularly with a professional Mentor chosen to match their interests.
  • Travel to Washington, D.C., for a leadership conference.
  • Engage with national political leaders throughout the year.
  • Build a network of peers from across the US and around the world.

Only one student per year will be chosen from the University of Minnesota to participate in this long-standing and prestigious program. That student will be known as The Eiger Family Presidential Fellow. This is an excellent opportunity for students interested in conducting political research and participating in American national politics. The CSPC will cover the cost of lodging for the conference in Washington, D.C. and the Department will pay for airfare.

Application Deadline: February 18, 2024 at 11:59pm

Requirements for Fellows

  • Fellows must meet all deadlines for the Program or forfeit their status in the Program.
  • Fellows must engage with their assigned Mentor.
  • Fellows must attend a policy conference in Washington, D.C. (typically in mid-to-late spring).
  • Fellows must produce a 10-15 page research paper on a subject relevant to the U.S. Presidency and/or the Congress.
  • Fellows must also write an op-ed and a policy memo over the course of the Fellowship year. 

Recommended Qualifications for Applicants

  • Strong academic credentials, including a minimum G.P.A. of 3.25.
  • Strong interest in American national government (evidenced in coursework, papers, internships).
  • Skilled at and comfortable with writing, speaking, and presenting in academic settings.
  • Responsible, open to constructive criticism, and willing to engage with mentors.
  • Demonstrated time-management skills: ability to meet deadlines while taking a demanding course load and/or completing internships or working in a paid job.
  • Preference will be given to students in the final two years of their undergraduate education.
  • The Fellowship Program is open to both US and non-US citizens, and we strongly encourage students from diverse backgrounds to apply.

The student chosen for the Fellowship will be notified by late April. Their name will then be forwarded to the CSPC, which will contact the student in early September.

To Apply

Please submit the following materials through this link:

  • Current UofM Transcript.
  • Personal Statement – Describe your planned or possible academic research topic. Explain why you are interested in this topic or how it grows out of your past coursework, research, or political activities. Your statement should be 1-2 pages, single-spaced. 
  • One Letter of Recommendation from a college instructor who can speak to your research, writing, speaking, and presentation skills and your preparation to participate actively in the CSPC Fellowship Program. You can submit the letter through the Google Docs form linked above OR your letter writer can submit the letter directly to Paul Soper at: 
  • One Writing Sample, preferably a research paper on a topic within the social sciences.

If you have any questions about the Eiger Family Presidential Fellowship or the application process, please contact Paul Soper at

The Distinguished Undergraduate Research Program (DURP) provides an opportunity for political science majors to connect more closely with ongoing faculty research projects. The program is designed to expose selected students to the processes through which faculty conduct research. By doing so, students will deepen their research, organizational, and communication skills that will be useful for further training in political science or for other careers. The DURP also helps facilitate a mentor-mentee relationship that will enhance students' undergraduate experience.

Students selected to be research interns will receive two course credits by registering for POL 3994. Students should expect to dedicate 4-6 hours a week on average to DURP-related project tasks with their faculty mentor. Some of these tasks may include doing content analysis of newspapers or other texts, data entry, research existing literature on a topic, preparing visualizations such as maps or charts, or, depending on skills, statistical data analysis. At the end of the semester, research interns will present their research at the DURP Showcase. We hope you will consider applying for this special opportunity.

DURP Application Details

DURP Application - Applications for Fall 2024 will open March 1, and are due 4:00pm on March 25, 2024.

We accept applications for our department's DURP in fall for spring registration and in spring for fall registration. Watch the PoliSci Pulse newsletter, social media, and your email for an announcement that the application is open.

The number of research internships available in each semester will be limited and will vary depending on faculty research projects. The application consists of questions to learn more about your interests and skill set, and you will need to provide an unofficial transcript. 

Eligibility Criteria

  • Must be a declared political science major
  • Must have taken a minimum of two political science (POL) courses at the 3xxx-level or higher. These must be completed, with a grade, by the time you apply.
  • 3.2 political science GPA (highly suggested)

Application Suggestions

If you are interested in participating in the DURP, we recommend looking into the faculty research areas, and learning more about what research interests you. If a faculty member’s research is of interest to you, we suggest contacting them and asking if they are participating in the DURP. If they are, and they indicate they want to work with you, you will be matched, regardless of GPA and coursework. Due to the limited number of research internships, the selection process will be competitive. However, doing some work before to contact faculty can increase the chance that you will be accepted to this program.

The Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) has information on how to approach a faculty member about research.

Do you have an opportunity to attend or present your work at a professional political science research conference? The application for the Political Science Undergraduate Research/Conference Travel Awards can be found by scrolling down on our Scholarship Page. The awards are available for undergraduate political science majors who are traveling for a research conference or for official University of Minnesota political science faculty research.

If you have a unique opportunity that does not fit within these parameters, be sure to email our undergraduate advising office ( to describe your particular opportunity. The Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies will be able to assess if the opportunity can be approved.

We also encourage undergraduate students to apply for the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). This program, sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Research, supports research projects dedicated to fulfilling the U of M’s commitment to research and expanding the store of human knowledge and expression. Students who successfully apply will receive a stipend to support their research and will also have an opportunity to present their research at various university symposia.  

Students who earn a UROP will be mentored by one of nearly 3000 diverse faculty members and will meet other students who share a passion for discovery about the human condition. The UROP will help you delve deeply into a personal topic of interest and importance under the direct supervision of a faculty member in the department.

If you are interested in pursuing a program with UROP, please consult our undergraduate advisor in the Undergraduate Advising Office or visit the Office of Undergraduate Research for more information.