In 2020, APSA received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to administer the Political Science DDRIG Program for the next three years. 

The Political Science Program at the NSF supports scientific research that advances knowledge and understanding of citizenship, government, and politics. Research proposals are expected to be theoretically motivated, conceptually precise, methodologically rigorous, and empirically oriented. Substantive areas include, but are not limited to, American government and politics, comparative government and politics, international relations, political behavior, political economy, and political institutions. DDRIG proposals are due to APSA in September annually

Application and Eligibility 

The APSA Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants are available to all US-based graduate students who are at the point of initiating or are already conducting dissertation research focused on advancing knowledge and understanding of citizenship, government, and politics. Learn more.

Format and Materials 

All proposals for APSA Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants must include these application materials and formats.


These frequently asked questions will be helpful to PhD students who are considering applying for the APSA Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant. See FAQs.

Application Submission Process 

For a PhD student in the Political Science Department in the Maxwell School, here are the steps to submit a DDRIG application to APSA. Caroline McMullin ( is Maxwell’s Research Administrator in the Office of Sponsored Programs; there are a few times along the way (detailed below) when you will work with her.  

  1. Go to the APSA Application Portal:

  2. Find “APSA Dissertation Improvement Grant” in the program list and click “Submit Now.” Log in with your APSA username and password.

  3. Follow the application instructions to complete the required fields and prepare your materials. You can save and come back to an in-progress application.

  4. Meanwhile, request required support forms:

    1. Letter of support from research sponsor. Proposals must include a letter of support from the research scholar’s dissertation advisor, affirming the research scholar’s academic progress and supporting the research scholar’s skills and ability to conduct the proposed research.

    2. Institutional support formProposals will require a completed form from the research scholar’s graduate institution confirming the research scholar’s academic progress and noting the institution’s willingness to handle the grant funds. The form should be downloaded, completed and signed, and uploaded to the application. The form can be found here

      • To complete sections 1 and 2, send to Candy Brooks and Seth Jolly (PSC).
      • To complete section 3, send to Caroline McMullin (OSP).  
  5. Budget and budget justificationApplicants should download the Excel budget template, enter the appropriate information, and then upload the Excel file to their application. The template can be found hereAlong with the proposed budget itself, proposals must include a budget justification, explaining and justifying each budget line. The budget justification should be no longer than three pages single spaced.

      • Be sure to follow the program guidelines to only include allowable costs.
      • Send your completed Excel budget template and budget justification to Caroline for review and approval.

  6. An internal-only form (i.e., you will not send it to APSA), complete the SU OSP Internal Routing and Review Form and obtain approval signatures. You will submit this form to Caroline when your application is ready for her final review before you submit it to APSA.

  7. Once given the go-ahead from Caroline, log back into the application portal and submit to APSA.
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