Eligibility, Selection Criteria, & Application Guidance


Applications will be accepted from undergraduate students who are enrolled full-time at an accredited college or university in the United States or one of its Territories. Students who have graduated in mid-year (e.g., December) may apply if the paper was completed before graduation.

Although applicants need not be majoring or minoring in Political Science, or one of its sub-fields, the paper must deal with topics such as public policy, international relations, public administration, comparative politics, governance, law, political philosophy, or political economics.

Selection Criteria

Successful submissions must meet the following criteria:

  1. Address a well-defined problem
  2. Describe a solution that fits the problem and can be judged (by the Selection Committee) to have worked or is likely to work in addressing the problem
  3. Present innovation via either a completely new approach or a unique application of a known effective approach
  4. Show a breadth of knowledge
  5. Consist of good writing
  6. Includes all required application materials

Application Guidance

The Bert & Phyllis Lamb Prize in Political Science is awarded to an undergraduate student enrolled full-time in a degree-seeking program at an accredited college or university in the United States or one of its territories.

Candidates will be considered through applications. Although we prefer to receive applications as email attachments, submission via the U.S. Postal Service will be accepted.

Submit email application to: Dr. Donna Lybecker, Chair, Selection Committee, Department of Political Science, Idaho State University: donnalybecker@isu.edu

Submit mailed applications to Dr. Donna Lybecker, Chair, Selection Committee, Department of Political Science, Box 8073, Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID 83209.

Deadline for Applications

Completed applications must be received by the close of business on the third Friday in February each year.

Required Application Materials

  1. A completed and signed application form, (The Application Form will be available in July, 2023)
  2. Signature and contact information of a faculty sponsor,
  3. A letter of application,
  4. An abstract, and
  5. A paper.

The Abstract

The abstract should be a single paragraph of no more than 400 words, single spaced, and typed. 

The Paper 

The paper should be typed, double spaced and no more than 6,000 words (exclusive of references). The applicant may choose any reference or citation style, but the style must be consistently used.


The Selection Committee will use the abstract, along with other documentation, to screen the submissions and will use the papers to select a winner from among the finalists.

We are not responsible for loss or damage of submissions.  Your submission will not be returned; please retain a copy for your records.

Innovation, Good Writing and Breadth of Knowledge

For the purpose of this prize, “innovation” includes, but is not limited to: creative expression and scholarship; research suggestive of new methodology; advances in conflict-resolution, institutional design, negotiation, political and policy-based solutions; and original and inventive works (such as papers, projects, and research) that examine political issues.

For the purpose of this prize, “good writing” includes, but is not limited to: proper use of grammar; scholarly tone; communication that is specific to the problem; conventions that are correct and communicative; logical organization and clarity; and articulation of interesting and important ideas.

For the purpose of this prize, “breadth of knowledge” includes but is not limited to: consideration of the origins and attempts to deal with the problem; and evaluation of evidence-based information pertinent to the problem.