GOVT 3220: Presidential Nominations Lab (Spring 2024)

Welcome to the website for the Georgetown Department of Government’s 2024 Presidential Nominations Lab. This course is application only. If you are interested in applying, see below.

Course description: Parties in the United States have a singularly unusual method of selecting their ultimate leaders. The mishmash product of decades of decisions involves party leaders, ordinary voters, campaign donors, media personalities and nearly every other actor of relevance in American politics. Moreover, the choice of nominee for the office of president may be even more significant than the choice made in the general election, especially in a polarized politics in which voters will typically choose their party’s candidate. But by opening the process to ordinary voters, both parties limit their ability to control of what has been called “the most important activity of the party.”

This course will explore the nominating system in America from the point of view of political science research. Students will have the opportunity to visit key sites in the process and participate in active research projects related to the nomination process.

Field Trips: Students in GOVT 3220 will attend field trips to early caucus and primary states, such as Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, as well as events in the greater Washington, D.C., area. Students must be willing to travel on these trips, making arrangements to miss other classes and obligations as necessary. Because the nomination calendar starts so early, we may be making trips before the first meeting of the course.

This course is application-only. Applications involve two steps: (1) Record a video and (2) complete an application form. The deadline for applications is NOVEMBER 3, 2023 at midnight.

  1. Record a short video of yourself (2 to 3 minutes long) describing the state of the Republican presidential primary as of today. You can do as much or as little as you like with the presentation and production values. Past successful videos have ranged from highly polished and edited projects to simple and straightforward talking heads in front of your computer in your dorm room.
  2. Complete the application form, which includes questions on your background and interests, as well as an opportunity to explain why you are interested in teh course.

Complete the application form and upload your video at the following link:

Application and upload here
Deadline: November 3, 2023, midnight

Nearly all students at Georgetown are qualified and capable of taking this course, so selecting those who are admitted is difficult. Students are chosen both on the basis of their insights about and enthusiasm for the material and to reflect the diversity of perspectives at Georgetown.

Please feel free to reach out with any questions about the course or the application process. I can be reached at My office hours are on Tuesdays, and you can make an appointment online. If the available times on Tuesday do not work for you, email me and we can make an appointment.

You can check out the current draft of the syllabus here and see information about the 2020 version of this course here.