The Society for Political Methodology’s 2021 Expansions Initiative

The Society for Political Methodology, with the support of the National Science Foundation, is pleased to announce the renewal of The Society for Political Methodology’s Expansions Initiative. 

Our goal is to increase the diversity of The Society for Political Methodology by increasing diversity of the political methodology community and the field of political science. Our plan is to identify promising students from underrepresented communities and recruit them into the field by offering these students unique learning experiences intended to stimulate interest in political methodology and by preparing the students to apply to political science graduate programs. 

Funded by the National Science Foundation, a cohort of 8 student fellows will be invited to participate in the first summer session of the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) Summer Program from June 21-July 16.

Since 1963, the ICPSR has offered the Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research. Sometimes called “summer camp for social sciences,” the ICPSR Summer Program provides rigorous, hands-on training in statistical techniques, research methodologies, and data analysis. ICPSR Summer Program courses emphasize the integration of methodological strategies with the theoretical and practical concerns that arise in research on substantive issues. Participants in each year's Summer Program generally represent about 30 different disciplines from more than 350 colleges, universities, and organizations around the world. Because of the premier quality of instruction and unparalleled opportunities for networking, the ICPSR Summer Program is internationally recognized as the leader for training in research methodologies and technologies used across the social, behavioral, and medical sciences.

The ICPSR Summer Program will be offering courses online this year. Expansions Initiative fellows will take courses online, participate in a series of Expansions Initiative webinar events, and join a Slack channel organized by the Society of Political Methodology to receive regular mentorship and build community. 

At the end of their ICPSR Summer Program experience, Expansions Initiative fellows will be paired with a faculty mentors who will collaborate with the fellows on original research projects. The Society for Political Methodology will provide $4,000 in funding to support this mentored research. 

Interested students should complete this application form ( and ask a faculty member to send one letter of recommendation to Clayton Webb at 


The deadline for applications is March 29, 2021, and participants should expect to be informed of their selection shortly thereafter. Only students who are currently enrolled in a US-based institution are eligible to apply. 



1. Do I have to be a political science major or completely committed to going to grad school/specializing in political methodology to apply?

The aim of the program is to diversify the subfield of political methodology, so we are particularly enthusiastic about students for whom this is either likely to be a focus or are at least open to that being a focus. 

There is no requirement for being a political science major, and we expect students to use this program as a point of evaluation as they decide if graduate school is a good fit for them. 

2. Are there other specific qualifications I need to apply? (eg. classes taken, familiarization with specific software…)

The sole requirement is a potential interest in graduate school in political methodology. That can be demonstrated in a variety of ways -- via statement of interest, via courses taken, via letters of recommendation. We do not expect applicants to meet any specific prerequisites. 

3. Where can I access the application form?

            The link is here (and can be accessed below):


4. Is there a preferred format for faculty recommendations?

Letters should be submitted as .pdf documents. You may want to share information about the ICPSR Summer Program and the Expansions Initiative. If faculty have questions, encourage them to reach out to the current director of the initiative, Clayton Webb, at