Skip to main content

Research Apprenticeship Program

Each student will collaborate with a doctoral candidate on the mentor’s own research project in the winter and spring quarters. Under the guidance of the mentor the student will write a seminar paper of approximately 20 pages in the spring quarter. Applications received by Friday, November 15th, 2019 will receive first consideration for the 2019/20 academic year, but positions will remain open until filled.

Graduate mentors are Ph.D. candidates in the Department of Political Science. The faculty member in charge is the Department Chair, Thad Kousser. Questions about the Research Apprenticeship Program should be directed to the Department's Undergraduate Advisor, Natalie Ikker, during in-person advising or via the Virtual Advising Center.


Participants must be majors in political science with junior or senior standing and a GPA of 3.0 or higher in all political science courses taken at UCSD. Individual projects may require other prerequisite training, such as Political Science 30(D). (Please read each project description carefully.)

Transfer students - Please note that the graduate students understand you are entering UCSD with a 0.0 GPA; please review the application form to see what GPA you input. 

Time Commitment

During the winter and spring quarters each student must commit to 12 hours per week as a research assistant in POLI 198RA

During the spring quarter each student enrolled in the POLI 199 component must contribute the completion of the jointly authored research paper or complete their own research paper, which must be a miminum of 20 pages in length.

Course Credit and Applicability to Major Requirements

Students enroll in POLI 198RA in the winter and spring quarters and in the optional POLI 199 course in the spring quarter. Students will receive 4 units for each quarter in POLI 198RA and 4 units for completing the course requirements of a POLI 199 with Professor Thad Kousser.  All three courses may count as major electives. 

Please note that POLI 198RA and POLI 199 are taken on a Pass/Not Pass basis only. By university regulations, no more than one-quarter of an undergraduate’s units toward graduation can be taken on a P/NP basis and no more than two 199s can be counted toward the Political Science major.

POLI 198RA and POLI 199 courses are the only courses allowable for "Pass" credit in the upper division Elective category of the Political Science majors. 

How to Apply

[1] Read the project descriptions

[2] Download and complete the preference form.

[3] Prepare a cover letter and resume. Read the guidelines about the cover letter.

[4] Print your academic record.

[5] E-mail the completed form with a cover letter, resume, and copy of your academic record to the Mentor of each project to which you are applying.

Deadline for First Consideration: Friday, November 15th, 2019

Timeline for the Research Apprenticeship Program & POLI 198RA/POLI 199 Enrollment

September - Mid-October: Graduate students eligible to serve as mentors for the Research Apprenticeship Program are invited by the Undergraduate Advisor to submit their research projects that need undergraduate research assistants. 

Mid-late October: The list of available projects are finalized. Undergraduate Political Science students are notified of the opportunity and may begin applying for the program, sending their application and other required materials to the graduate student whose project(s) they are interested in serving on.

Mid-November: First consideration of undergraduate research assistant applicants are due.

Mid-November - Mid-December: Graduate students interview, select, and confirm the undergraduate research assistants they would like to mentor for the Winter and Spring quarters. After this process, graduate students complete a form that indicates the research assistants that have been chosen for - and accepted their role in - the Research Apprenticeship Program. 

Mid-December - Late December: The Undergraduate Advisor receives the list of students chosen for the Research Apprenticeship Program and preauthorizes the selected students for POLI 198RA in the Winter quarter. 

Late December - Friday of Week 2 of Winter Quarter: Students selected as research assistants for the Research Apprenticeship Program must enroll in POLI 198RA for 4 units by the add deadline.