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 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

    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’ll be matched. 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.