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Immersion Grants

CSDI Undergraduate Immersion Grants


The Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions is committed to help students immerse themselves in experiences and investigations of how various institutions continue to influence the nature and consequences of politics. Many impactful immersions are possible, ranging from student-led investigations and independent studies to internship experiences.

To help support undergraduate research and immersion, the Center for the Study of Democratic Institution is creating grants that undergraduates – working with an advisor – can receive to support immersive experiences. See:

There are no formal limits on the amount that can be requested or the use of the funds aside from the formal limits that Vanderbilt imposes on the use of research funds. Among other things, awards can support research activities (e.g., purchasing data, conducting a survey, obtaining access to statistical software), travel (to conduct interviews, to present research, etc.), or other well-justified uses that help create an immersive experience. There is no official cap on the award amount that is possible, but smaller awards are preferable all else equal. Priority will be given to funding as many high-quality, high-impact grants as possible to maximize the ability of CSDI to support student immersion.

Questions about the grant, application, or process should be emailed to with the subject line: “Question about 2023 CSDI Immersion Grant.”

Who Can Apply?

• Students must be a political science major OR have a primary advisor who is an Affiliated Faculty with CSDI.
• Full consideration will be given to students who have at least a 3.0 GPA.
• Faculty members may endorse only TWO applications for the 2022 competition.

How Can I Apply?
Applicants will be asked to provide the following (stated word limits apply):

• A summary of the proposed immersion experience (2000 words maximum). What is the motivation and importance of the proposed immersion. What are the measurable and shareable outputs of the immersion experience that can be used to evaluate whether the immersion achieved the intended goal? If the research involves human subjects, what is the plan for obtaining IRB approval?
• A description of how this proposed research connects with the mission of CSDI (500 words maximum)
• A proposed budget with justification for the requested amount (1000 words maximum). The budget should answer: what precisely is the proposed grant going to be used for, and how does it help contribute to the immersive experience you seek.  Evidence of the costs being expensed should be provided. Include a statement of other grants/awards being applied for to cover proposed expenses.
• An unofficial transcript
• A letter of reccomendation from a Faculty sponsor. (faculty member can only endorse two applications). This information should be emailed to with the Subject line: Application for 2023 CSDI Immersion Grant.

When and How are Decisions Made?
• Grant applications are considered on a rolling and ongoing basis. There is no formal deadline associated with the grant.
• Applications are evaluated by Affiliated Faculty members of CSDI based on the merit of the proposal as well and also potentially the budgetary impact.