Political Science Scholars

The Department of Political Science has established the Political Science Scholar Program to recognize the achievements and potential of a small number of our best students (approximately 20 per year).

  • About the program

    The program provides each scholar with opportunities to enhance his or her undergraduate education including:

    • Assignment to a faculty mentor who will provide expert advice on courses and the discipline of political science. In addition, mentors can provide advice to matching coursework with long-term goals, opportunities for post-graduate studies in political science and law, and possible job opportunities available to talented undergraduate students. This advice will be over and above that offered by the Department’s regular advisor and (if applicable) the Honors advisor.
    • Opportunities to compete for paid positions to develop undergraduate research projects with faculty members with a view to presenting the research at the University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF) at Michigan State.
    • Access by competitive application to funding support for enhancement activities, including especially research support, travel to professional conferences, and other research-related purposes.
    • Opportunities to serve as paid Undergraduate Learning Assistants (ULA) in political science classes.
    • Opportunities to meet in small group settings with distinguished alums of the department and university and to participate in activities sponsored by the Governor Jim Blanchard Public Service Forum.
    • Opportunities to meet legislators, lobbyists, and policy professionals in the State Capital for career and professional advice.
    • Eligibility to compete for attractive internships, in Lansing, Detroit, and Washington, D.C., identified by internship coordinators and alumni supporters.
    • Access in informal settings to visiting scholars who come to MSU by invitation of the Department and by invitation of the Symposium on Science, Reason, & Modern Democracy, the Workshop on Conflict, and other institutions in the Department.
    • Guaranteed admission to honors sections and study abroad programs offered by the Department, including PLS 481H, “Undergraduate Research Seminar.”


  • Funding support

    Undergraduate Research Assistants (URAs)

    PLS Scholars are eligible to compete for paid positions as Undergraduate Research Assistants (URAs) for PLS faculty members. These typically span one semester. Interested students and faculty members should complete an application form and attach a research abstract (to be prepared by the faculty sponsor), statement (to be prepared by the student researcher), and PLS faculty nomination form. Applications are due April 15 for summer, May 15 for fall semester, and November 1 for spring semester research.

    Undergraduate Learning Assistants (ULAs)

    PLS scholars are eligible to compete for paid positions as Undergraduate Learning Assistants (ULAs) in our department course offerings. Students interested in being considered for positions should complete an application form and statement and ask a PLS faculty member to submit a nomination form on their behalf. Applications are due April 15 for summer, May 15 for fall semester, and November 1 for spring semester.

    Both URA and URL applications require a faculty nomination form, which can be found here: Faculty Nomination Form

    Other Research-Related Funding

    The Department of Political Science considers requests for other funding related to research activities, such as travel to academic conferences and costs associated with printing posters.  Interested PLS Scholars should submit a statement detailing the nature of their requests, their qualifications for selection, and a proposed budget.  Students should also ask a PLS faculty member to submit a nomination form on their behalf.  Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

  • How to apply
    We encourage students currently in their sophomore year to apply, although students at other stages will also be considered.  Students who are interested in becoming a Political Science Scholar should submit a PLS Scholars Application (including the names of at least one PLS faculty member who can serve as a reference for you) by April 1st. All Applications should be submitted in hard copy or email to Krista Zeig.
  • Meet the current scholars!





Political Science Scholars enjoy a brunch before graduation with their parents and faculty. Photography by Jackie Belden Hawthorne, College of Social Science.