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Research Intensive Bachelor's Certificate


Political Science


RIBC Research News and Papers


Unique, Small-Group Learning Environment

Gain Practical Experience Working with Faculty and Doctoral Students in

Political Science

Engage in Cutting-edge Research as an Intern in

The Center for the Study of Democratic Performance

Learn Practical Research Skills

The Research Intensive Program in Political Science is a small-group educational experience for students who wish to gain high-caliber research skills and practical experience working in an academic research environment. Students must complete 12 hours of research-oriented classes and internships to earn the Research Intensive Program Certificate.

The program is limited to 25 students each year and admission is competitive.The program begins each fall. We encourage students to begin the program in their Sophomore or Junior year. Students admitted to the certificate program progress as a group through the sequence of intensive research methods classes and complete the program with an internship through The Center for the Study of Democratic Performance. Students will work one-on-one with faculty and doctoral students on research projects that are currently on-going in the department. Research projects are available in all fields, including American politics, comparative politics, public policy and international relations.


Fall I

POS 3713-I Political Research and Analysis, Research Intensive

Spring I

POS 3930-I Applied Research Design

Summer I or Fall II

POS 4941-I Research Internship

Summer I or Fall II

3 Hours Electives from the following list:
POS 4715 Politics and the Theory of Games
POS 3930 Experimental Research Methods
POS 4941 Research Internship (additional hours beyond those required)
Assorted Graduate Level Seminars (see department for approval)
Directed Individual Study (see department for approval)

Note that the Research Intensive Bachelor’s Certificate Program courses count towards fulfilling the requirements of the major in Political Science and the major in Interdisciplinary Social Science. POS 3713-I can be taken as a designated Honors course.

Students who complete the research intensive courses may become eligible to take graduate level work prior to completing their Bachelor’s degree. However, admission into a graduate level course must be approved by the professor teaching the course and the Director of the Research Intensive Bachelor's program. Graduate level course hours may be used towards fulfilling the hours for an undergraduate degree or a graduate degree, but not both.

The benefits of the program include:

  • enhanced attractiveness to graduate and professional programs,
  • practical research experience that will qualify students to work in research-oriented positions for government agencies, think-tanks, or other profit or non-profit employers
  • training on popular computer software programs for conducting statistical analysis such as STATA, SPSS and/or R

The program is especially helpful to students planning to complete honors in the major and for those planning to pursue a graduate degree in political science, law, or international affairs. Students who successfully complete the program requirements will receive a letter of completion detailing the skills and experience gained from the program as well as a letter of recommendation suitable for applications to graduate programs. Once the requirements for the certificate are met, the certification appears on the student's official transcript.

We will begin reviewing applications each year on February 15 for admission to the program in the following fall.

Admission to the program is competitive and is based on a review of a statement of interest, SAT or ACT scores, GPA, and fulfillment of coursework of one of the four following prerequisite courses or their equivalent (POS1041, POS2002, INR2002, PUP3002).  AP credit may be accepted, but requires departmental approval.

Enrollment is limited to 25 students, and decisions will be made on a rolling basis until all available slots are filled. You may pick up an application from Mr. Jerry Fisher in Bellamy 535 or click here for the application. Applications are due to the department by March 9th. If slots are still available after the initial application period, we will review applications as they come in until the program is full.

Program Administrators:

Dr. Cherie Maestas
Director, Research Intensive Bachelor's Certificate Program in Political Science

Dr. Chris Reenock
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Political Science

Dr. William Berry
Director, The Center for the Study of Democratic Politics

Mr. Jerry Fisher
Academic Coordinator, Political Science