Summer Research College (SRC)

The Department of Political Science is pleased to announce summer research positions for undergraduates.

Participants will work directly with a faculty mentor for ten weeks and receive a $7,500 stipend with additional funding available based on financial need and/or location. Students also have the opportunity to attend optional research training seminars to learn additional skills throughout the summer. Projects will be done in person on campus. Summer Research College is designed to foster close intellectual exchange by involving students in the ongoing research of Stanford professors. 


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


Students will be expected to work 40 hours per week during the program. The program will run from June 20 through August 26, 2022. Students and faculty will present their collaborative research in lunchtime seminars that will take place twice per week. Students are expected to attend each seminar.


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


The department does not offer course credit for Summer Research College. Students are only eligible to receive the full Summer stipend. Students planning to take Summer courses may not enroll in courses that exceed 5 credits and must get prior approval from the faculty member with whom they are working.


For students who want to apply for on-campus summer housing, 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. Students may review the summer room and board rates on the Housing Assignment Services website.

How to Apply:

Click for cover letter guidelines.

For any questions, please email Natalie Badalov (nbadalov [at]


2022 Summer Research Opportunities 

Click each project title for more information.

Faculty member Project title
Michael Bernstein and Margaret Levi Ethics and Society Review
Gary Cox Tech Clusters in Early Modern Europe
James Fearon and David Laitin Historical Persistence of Warfare
Justin Grimmer and Shanto Iyengar From Convergence to Divergence: Tracking Media Issue Agendas Over Time
Katherine Jolluck East European Women & War in the 20th & 21st Centuries
Saad Gulzar

Air Pollution in South Asia

Jens Hainmueller, David Laitin, and Jeremy Weinstein

The Impact of Immigration Policies in the United States, Europe, Middle East, and Africa

Jon Krosnick Investigating the Psychology of Voting, Elections, and Public Opinion
Margaret Levi Causal Inference for Social Impact Lab
Margaret Levi Creating a New Moral Political Economy
Michael McFaul 21st Century Great Power Relations and Competition between Russia, China, and the United States
Norman M. Naimark Stalin's Terror, 1930-1953
Soledad Artiz Prillaman Identity Politics and Development Policy
Scott D. Sagan

The Laws of Armed Conflict and Nuclear Weapons


Project Descriptions

Ethics and Society Review

Professors Michael Bernstein and Margaret Levi

The Ethics and Society Review (ESR) is a process that facilitates ethical and societal reflection as a requirement to access funding. This process forces researchers to describe their project’s most salient risks to society, to subgroups in society, and globally as well as how they plan to mitigate those risks. Grant funding is not released by participating institutions until the researchers complete the ESR process on their proposed project. By conditioning funding on the ESR process, we engage researchers at the formative stages of their research, when projects are still open to change, and ensure broad engagement with the process rather than self-selection of just those who are motivated. Responsibilities of assistant on this project will include content analyzing interviews and proposals, doing basic data cleaning, locating relevant literature, and helping to create documents for public distribution on the ESR website. The student must be able to work in a team, as the work will involve engaging directly with the CASBS director, the program director, and others involved in the project.

Tech Clusters in Early Modern Europe

Professor Gary Cox

Gary Cox, a professor in the Department of Political Science, is looking to hire two research assistants for a project on technological and scientific innovation in early modern Europe. Research assistants will be expected to read short biographies from approximately 7,000 notable scientists and writers in England active in the period 1500-1800 and compile information such as their places of residence throughout their lives. The information will be used in a project that studies the political pre-conditions for elite clustering and how elite clustering spurs scientific innovation.

Historical Persistence of Warfare

Professors James Fearon and David Laitin

Professors James Fearon and David Laitin have a draft manuscript, “Does contemporary armed conflict have ‘deep historical roots’?” asking whether warfare in a country post-1945 could be predicted by warfare within the boundaries of today’s countries pre-1945. They now seek to update the literature review, the data, and the statistical tables. There is a companion paper on civil war termination that needs to be updated, as well, and if there is time, the RA will be asked for similar service. They seek a research assistant familiar with the "R" statistical program and with Overleaf, and interested in international relations to help prepare the manuscripts for journal submission.

From Convergence to Divergence: Tracking Media Issue Agendas Over Time

Professors Justin Grimmer and Shanto Iyengar

Research assistants will undertake a systematic content analysis of news transcripts over the past five decades. They will tabulate the amount of daily attention to a set of political issues. No technical expertise is required, other than familiarity with Excel. Professors Grimmer and Iyengar will provide the necessary substantive background and coding instructions for the research team.

East European Women & War in the 20th & 21st Centuries

Professor Katherine Jolluck

Seeking a research assistant to support a book project examining the diverse experiences of women during the wars in Eastern Europe of the past and current century: Balkan Wars of 1912-13, World War I, World War II, Yugoslav Wars, and the Russo-Ukrainian War. It seeks to cover women's involvement in war in the following capacities: as members of military forces; backbone of underground movements; workers "manning" the home front; mothers of soldiers; subjects and supporters of war aims and propaganda; collaborators; refugees; activists in peace movements; and objects of wartime destruction and dislocation, in general, and of sexual violation, in particular. The research assistant will create a bibliography of recent scholarship--published over the past 10-12 years--on these subjects. Additionally, the student will search for new theoretical works on women and war and for significant recent publications dealing with Western Europe. Gathering materials on the current war in Ukraine is of particular importance. The student will write brief summaries of the articles, books, and documents found, and then short papers on current knowledge and interpretations of the topics listed above. Previous research experience is preferred; knowledge of a language of the region is desirable, but not required.

Air Pollution in South Asia

Professor Saad Gulzar

This project examines the political economy determinants of one of the largest public health catastrophes of modern times: air pollution in South Asia. We are studying how the incentives of those who govern affect outcomes like crop stubble burning, which is a key contributor to air pollution in the region. We are seeking to recruit a student who has experience working with large datasets using Python and R. Familiarity with Sherlock (computing cluster at Stanford) is an added bonus but not mandatory.

The Impact of Immigration Policies in the United States, Europe, Middle East, and Africa

Professors Jens Hainmueller, David Laitin, and Jeremy Weinstein

Professors David Laitin, Jens Hainmueller, and Jeremy Weinstein are seeking up to four research assistants to assist in the Immigration Policy Lab’s research on the impact of immigration policies in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The Immigration Policy Lab has several projects underway, including a project examining the impact of state and local policies on immigrant intergenerational health, a multi-country project creating a new dataset on national policies for refugees and asylum seekers over time, and a project developing methods for measure immigrant location preferences. The research assistants will be responsible for data collection (quantitative and qualitative), data coding, data analysis, drafting literature reviews, as well as producing journal quality graphics and tables. Interest in immigration is a must, and a background in social science and statistics is preferred.

Investigating the Psychology of Voting, Elections, and Public Opinion

Professor Jon Krosnick

Students will join the Political Psychology Research Group working full time over the summer on a variety of projects. The major project currently underway is creating a “Clearinghouse” of data on American public opinion on climate change. Students have been gathering up data from surveys of truly random samples collected by a wide array of organizations in the U.S. The students are building presentations comparing pairs of seemingly similar questions that yielded different results and identifying wording differences that might account for the different results. When the Clearinghouse has been built, students will participate in the conduct and analysis of national survey experiments to test whether wording differences can account for differences in results. The ultimate work product will be a public website educating the public about how to make sense of the existing corpus of evidence on American public opinion. Ideally, we will show that seemingly inconsistent results (when considered without attention to details of wording) are actually not inconsistent at all, and that American public opinion is both coherent and consistent across surveys. But we'll see what we find! No special skills are required.

Causal Inference for Social Impact Lab

Professor Margaret Levi

The Causal Inference for Social Impact Lab (CISIL) at CASBS attempts to advance both causal inference techniques for non-randomized designs and their application to the design and evaluation of public policies. The application of non-randomized approaches faces many significant challenges. The techniques are often new and quite complicated, use individual-level data that cannot be made publicly available due to privacy protections, and can require a great deal of computing power. Complicating matters even further is the range of statistically reasonable analytic decisions a researcher can make and the effect those decisions have on their analysis. Not only could different non-randomized techniques (e.g. difference-in-differences versus a matching design) produce different results, but the myriad of small decisions nested within that technique (e.g. how concepts are measured, or the threshold a researcher sets for sufficient matches) may also change the outcome.

Creating a New Moral Political Economy

Professor Margaret Levi

The failure of neoliberalism in promoting human wellbeing, controlling inequality, protecting the environment, and shielding citizens from the malicious use of technology demands action. This project aims to build a new moral political economic framework. Student responsibilities will include proofreading academic and non-academic writing, participating in meetings, locating relevant literature, and researching academic programs in political economy. Additional tasks may include following news related to social movements around the world; compiling a literature review; and helping design a network visualization of international stakeholders, institutions, and academic programs that are reimagining how political economy is taught. The position does not require special skills, although familiarity with textual analysis and web design software is a plus. The student must be able to work in a team, as the work will involve engaging directly with the CASBS director, the program director, and the members of our working groups, as well as other RAs.

21st Century Great Power Relations and Competition between Russia, China, and the United States

Professor Michael McFaul

Professor Michael McFaul is looking to hire a student research assistant to support a book project about great power relations and competition between China, Russia, and the United States. The research assistant should be prepared to work both individually and collaboratively with other RAs on thematic and historical chapters that discuss themes such as power, ideology, multilateralism, and interdependence in the 21stcentury. Previous research experience, fluency in Russian or Chinese, and demonstrated interest in Russia or China are preferred.

Stalin's Terror, 1930-1953

Professor Norman M. Naimark

This project focuses on what Russians call the “repressions” of the Stalin period of rule in the Soviet Union, 1930-53. This is a vast subject with a surprisingly weak analytical literature. I will ask students to reconstruct the major episodes of the period, when possible using primary documents in the Hoover Archives or published. 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.

Identity Politics and Development Policy

Professor Soledad Artiz Prillaman

How does politician identity, particularly gender, affect the delivery of development programs in the world’s largest democracy? This project will study how and when female politicians in India deliver different political services than their male counterparts and how this shapes development in the communities they serve. The project will draw on administrative data from across India and develop statistical models to answer this question. Undergraduate research assistants will collect, compile, and analyze data on politicians at all levels of government and link this with data on policy implementation and development outcomes. Core responsibilities will include cleaning large government data sets, merging complex data sets using fuzzy matching, generating figures and graphics of statistical relationships, conducting preliminary statistical analyses, and conducting literature reviews. Experience working in Stata or R is preferable. By the end of the summer, we will aim to understand how identities such as caste and gender shape the experiences of politicians and bureaucrats and under what conditions politicians from marginalized identities are best able to represent the demands and interests of those identity groups.

The Laws of Armed Conflict and Nuclear Weapons

Professor Scott D. Sagan

Professor Scott Sagan is working on a book chapter for the upcoming Cambridge University Press volume “History of the Nuclear Age” that analyzes the history of the Laws of Armed Conflict and their application to nuclear weapons. This project will require both legal and political analysis. The body of international law has significantly shaped the options that are available to governments in their use of nuclear weapons. But it is not obvious why states accede to laws which limit their sovereignty. Moreover, these laws are drafted in an international context where states each try to shape the letter of the law to maximize their flexibility and constrain the options of their adversaries. These questions can only meaningfully be answered by examining the interplay between strategy and law. Students would be responsible for reading and analyzing past literature, government documents, and negotiation records in support of Professor Sagan’s writing. Students will provide their analysis to Professor Sagan in the form of a series of short research memos. Professor Sagan will meet with students multiple times a week, providing feedback on students’ research and writing. Students with interest and experience in studying international security, nuclear weapons and/or the Law of Armed Conflict should apply. Students may find classes like Rules of War or PS 114S helpful in providing a background to the issues studied, but these are not strictly necessary.