Non-USC Applications for Summer 2022 now closed

Accepting USC student Applications for Summer 2022 until april:

The Security and Political Economy (SPEC) Lab at the University of Southern California is welcoming
applications from current undergraduate students for an 8-week intensive summer research and training
program in summer 2022. The program includes training in research methods and work as a research
assistant on faculty-led projects related to the political economy of security. The program is funded by the
National Science Foundation and all non-USC student participants will receive free housing on the USC campus, travel reimbursement, and a stipend. If the COVID-19 situation prevents in-person programming, we will conduct the program remotely.


The SPEC Lab REU runs from June 13th to August 6th. Students will be expected to work 30 hours per
week in the lab, inclusive of hours spent in formal trainings and professionalization.

Program Overview

An unprecedented level of economic interdependence complicates development of any U.S. strategy for
competition with rivals like China or Russia. This heightened economic interdependence between allies
and competitors alike both shapes the costs of military conflict and makes available new tools of
economic statecraft and coercion. Equipping future scholars to both understand the economic dynamics
that drive conflict and propose solutions is critical for pursuing US national interests in an era of
economic interdependence. The SPEC Lab will provide ten undergraduates per year with an 8-week
summer research experience (SRE), where they will engage in graduate-level research on the political
economy of international security and attend weekly workshops in research design, data science, and
professional development.

Each SRE participant will contribute to one of several ongoing research projects in a collaborative team format. In addition to their research work, SRE participants will complete formal trainings in research design and applied data science. They will also participate in professional development programming aiming to prepare students for doctoral programs in the social sciences and careers as social scientists more broadly.

Qualifications and Application Procedures

Prior research experience is not required for participation. However, we hope to prioritize participation by
students who intend to pursue research careers in the social sciences. We expect that most participants
will be rising juniors or rising seniors. We also particularly welcome applications from first-generation
college students, minority students, and other students from under-represented groups. Due to constraints on NSF funding, participation by non-USC students is limited to US citizens and legal permanent residents.In addition, we can not accept students entering university after Spring 2022 or graduating prior to Fall 2022. 

Application due date for non-USC applicants: February 23, 2022

Application due date for USC applicants: April 2022

Please reach out to us at with any questions. 

NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates

A SPEC Summer Program Funded by the National Science Foundation