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Summer Research College 2024


2019 summer research college presentations

The IR Program and Political Science Department Announce Undergraduate Summer Research Positions

Summer Research College (SRC) is designed to foster close intellectual exchange by involving students in the ongoing research of Stanford professors. Participants will work directly with a faculty mentor for ten weeks and receive a $7,500 stipend. There may be an additional supplement based on financial need.  Students also have the opportunity to attend optional research training seminars to learn additional skills throughout the summer (e.g., Stata, R). Projects will be done in person on campus.

“The International Relations Summer Research College offers students a unique opportunity to experience the process of doing actual research while allowing them to gain valuable job skills, and preparing them for careers in either academia or the corporate world,” says Mike Tomz, Political Science Professor and Summer Research College Director.  


To be eligible for SRC, you must:

  • be a current undergraduate at Stanford
  • be available to work 40 hours per week for the duration of the program
  • not be serving a suspension or be on a Leave of Absence (LOA) while participating
  • not have received Stanford funding for a full-time experiential learning opportunity in the 2023-24 academic year

Co-term students and seniors are eligible only if the bachelor’s degree will not be conferred before the end of the research appointment.

Student athletes should confirm the impact of any awarded stipend on their athletic eligibility by contacting the Compliance Services Office prior to applying.


Student participation is expected to be 40 hours per week during the program dates June 24 through August 30, 2024. The program is in person on campus. Students and faculty will present their collaborative research in lunchtime seminars that will take place twice per week. Students are expected to attend all lunchtime presentation seminars.


Each student participant will receive a $7,500 stipend with additional funding available based on financial need and/or location.


IR does not offer course credit for SRC. Students are only eligible to receive the full Summer stipend. Faculty mentor approval is required if taking summer courses. Summer enrollment generally should not exceed 5 units.


Students may apply for on-campus summer housing—please note that room, board, house dues, and other academic expenses are paid by the student. Students are responsible for paying their university summer bill, which will include any other academic expenses incurred. To learn more about and apply for summer housing, see the Housing Assignment Services website.

Apply to SRC:

Click on the Project Preference Form and use it to express your preference regarding faculty mentors and research projects (see project descriptions below). Please attach your cover letters, resume, and unofficial transcript to this preference form. If your application is approved, someone will contact you to set up an interview. We are accepting applications only via the preference form link above.

SRC Cover Letter Guidelines 


Monday, February 5, 5:00 PM PST.

Questions? Contact pfesta [at] (Paul Festa), Encina Hall Central, Suite 30.

2024 Summer Research Opportunities 

Lisa BlaydesStates and Social Hierarchies in the Arab Gulf Region 
Adam BonicaTracking Campaign Donations by Important Political Elites in the Run-Up to the 2024 Election
Brandice Canes-WroneHow has Congressional Responsiveness to Campaign Donor Changed across Time?
Gary Cox and Jonathan RoddenDemonization as a Political Strategy 
Jens Hainmueller, David Laitin, and Jeremy WeinsteinThe Impact of Refugee and Migration Policies and Programs in the United States, Europe,  Africa, and Latin America
Colin KahlArtificial Intelligence and Deterrence 
Neil MalhotraDoes the Supreme Court Represent the Public?
Michael McFaulGreat Power Competition Between Russia, China, and the United States in the 21st Century and Its Impact Around the World 
Norman NaimarkStalin's Terror, 1930-1953
Soledad PrillamanElevating Elected Women's Voices in Indian Politics and Policymaking 
Scott Sagan Public Opinion, Just War, and Hiroshima

Project Descriptions

States and Social Hierarchies in the Arab Gulf Region

Professor Lisa Blaydes

With a total GDP of over $3.5 trillion, the Arab Gulf states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) loom large with regard to transnational flows of people, capital, and commodities. About 60 million people live in the six states, about half of whom are expatriates. The Arab Gulf states are some of the largest oil producers in the world and all six countries are monarchies. Yet despite the political and economic significance of the region, Arab Gulf states have been largely ignored by the field of comparative politics, under-represented in both quantitative and qualitative studies. In this project, we will explore the politics of Arab Gulf societies, both past and present, with a focus on understanding social classes and class hierarchies. Student researchers will be responsible for collecting data and writing literature reviews related to these topics. We are seeking students with an interest in political science, history, or sociology as well as quantitative research methods or a regional interest in the Middle East and Muslim societies. Knowledge of Arabic is a plus but not required.

Tracking Campaign Donations by Important Political Elites in the Run-Up to the 2024 Election

Professor Adam Bonica

The Database on Ideology, Money in Politics, and Elections (DIME) is a widely used resource for academics studying campaign finance and elections. The role will entail helping to identify and track campaign donations made by important political actors, such as judges, CEOs, members of the Forbes 400, and congressional candidates. Experience working with R is preferable.

How has Congressional Responsiveness to Campaign Donors Changed across Time?

Professor Brandice Canes-Wrone

The project examines how the association between donor opinion and congressional roll call voting has evolved over time. To analyze this question systematically, we will collect historical public opinion data going back at least 50 years on a range of policy issues in addition to corresponding data on roll call voting. The student's primary responsibility will be to collect historical public opinion data and data on congressional roll call voting from established databases. For students with sufficient background in statistics, some data analysis work can be incorporated. Additionally, the student may be asked to summarize existing research.

Demonization as a Political Strategy

Professors Gary Cox and Jonathan Rodden

Professors Cox and Rodden are working on a series of articles and a book about efforts of political party leaders and message-makers in the United States. An important observation is that the American political parties are internally very heterogeneous—and becoming more so over time. As a result, they face weaker incentives to highlight the policy positions of their own party, and growing incentives to characterize the proposals of the out-party as extreme. Summer researchers will help develop strategies for using large bodies of text—including the Congressional record, partisan cable news, and other sources—to identify the emergence of efforts by party leaders and media allies to characterize the out-party as extreme in specific issue areas. Students will scrape and clean data sets and learn to implement existing techniques for using text as data. The ideal candidate will have a strong background in data science and ideally, using text as data.

The Impact of Refugee and Migration Policies and Programs in the United States, Europe, Africa, and Latin America

Professors Jens Hainmueller, David Laitin, and Jeremy Weinstein

We are seeking up to four students to assist in the Immigration Policy Lab’s research on the impact of migration policies in the United States, Europe, Africa, and Latin America. IPL has several projects underway, including an evaluation of a refugee livelihoods program in East Africa; a study on the impact of state and local policies on immigrant intergenerational health in the U.S.; an application of a machine-learning algorithm to match refugees and immigrants in the U.S., Canada, and Europe to locations where they are most likely to thrive; a project on the reintegration of deportees in Honduras; and a study examining the impact of remittance-sending on climate adaptation and resilience in Central America. The research assistants will be responsible for developing and drafting literature reviews, data collection (quantitative and qualitative), data coding (of policies and interventions), data analysis, and producing journal-quality graphics and tables. Students will be fully welcomed into the Immigration Policy Lab for the summer, which includes weekly lab meetings with faculty, staff, and students to learn about IPL projects, along with a weekly reading group/speaker series, where they will read leading research on migration policy to learn about new methods and applications and to further explore their own individual interests. This is a great opportunity to experience working in a multidisciplinary applied policy research lab with multiple projects. Interest in migration is a must, and a background in social science and statistics is preferred.

Artificial Intelligence and Deterrence

Professor Colin Kahl

The Artificial Intelligence and Deterrence Project examines how recent developments in AI contribute to deterrence. In particular, it focuses on the role AI systems (e.g., AI sensors, AI/ML-enabled big data analytics, LLMs, autonomous systems, etc.) can play in what the 2022 U.S. National Defense Strategy calls “deterrence by denial” (thwarting an adversary's aggressive military operations) and “deterrence by resilience” (limiting the effect of adversary effects on military networks). Students applying to be an RA on the project should have experience analyzing AI systems and a basic understanding of core concepts in international relations and national security.

Does the Supreme Court Represent the Public?

Professor Neil Malhotra

Since 2020, I have been conducting annual surveys of the American public in the spring, asking them how they would vote on upcoming cases the Supreme Court was considering. The findings from these studies are published every summer in the New York Times. We are working on a book that will summarize the survey data from a five-year period (2020-2024), during a time when the Court has seen major changes to its composition, and the public's approval of the Court has plummeted. Although we generally find that the Court is located to the right of the public, this varies in interesting ways over time. In addition to general research assistance associated with writing the book (looking up and summarizing literature, historical analyses), we would need help designing and producing the figures and tables that will constitute the book. Prospective RAs should have an interest in law and the courts, as well as basic statistical programming skills (R, Stata) for assistance in generating publication-quality figures and tables.

Great Power Competition Between Russia, China, and the United States in the 21st Century and Its Impact Around the World

Professor Michael McFaul

Professor Michael McFaul is looking to hire two student research assistants to support a book project about great power relations and competition between China, Russia, Europe, and the United States as well as its impact around the world. The research assistant should be prepared to work both individually and collaboratively with Professor McFaul's Research Assistants on thematic and historical chapters that discuss themes such as power, ideology, multilateralism, and interdependence in the 21st century. Previous research and writing experience, fluency in Russian or Mandarin, and demonstrated interest in Russia or China are preferred.

Stalin’s Terror, 1930-1953

Professor Norman Naimark

The project examines the dramatic period of Stalin's terror in the 1930s. Students will reconstruct the major episodes of the period, when possible using primary documents in the Hoover Archives or published. Each student will be assigned a particular aspect of the terror to investigate. They will be responsible for taking notes on what they have read, and for writing a short essay on what they have learned from their research. Students with a reading knowledge of Russian and/or Ukrainian will be given preference, but there is much English-language material to be examined, as well. The final product will be a comprehensive book on the subject.

Elevating Elected Women’s Voices in Indian Politics and Policymaking

Professor Soledad Prillaman

How can we facilitate India’s transition from gender parity in governance to gender equality in governance? Despite widespread policies aimed at gender equality, women remain poorly represented in politics and policy in India. Our research team seeks to 1) understand the barriers to women’s substantive political representation in India, and 2) identify and evaluate the optimal set of solutions to support women elected representatives and link them with their women constituents. We’re seeking an undergraduate research assistant with an intermediate to advanced skill level in Stata or R to assist us with data analysis over the summer of 2024. This student will analyze new survey data to identify the factors that shape gendered political engagement and behavior as elected representatives. The student will additionally be asked to translate the results of this analysis into a series of reports and policy briefs. In addition to this quantitative analysis, this student researcher may additionally work with qualitative observational data to produce a report on the results of a micro-pilot of interventions to build the capacity of women elected representatives. The student researcher’s analysis efforts over the summer of 2024 will be directly translated into the refinement of a final set of pilot interventions to elevate the voices of elected women representatives that will be scaled up in the fall of 2024.

Public Opinion, Just War, and Hiroshima

Professor Scott Sagan

I am looking for three students to help with two related projects: 1) I will be conducting a survey experiment on US public support for targeting civilians in war including the use nuclear weapons against Japan in 1945 and will need students to code the open ended responses from respondents; 2) I will need literature review memos written on the evolution of just war doctrine and the laws of armed conflict regarding "supreme emergency," "non-combatant immunity" and "reasonable prospect of success." I am looking for students who are highly motivated and willing and able to work both independently and in teams. Some background gained in courses like Intro to IR, International Security in a Changing World, and/or The Rules of War would be helpful, but not a requirement.