Skip to main content
The Basics
  • Deadline for submissions is June 15, 2023
  • A signed faculty nomination form must accompany your paper
  • An application form must also accompany your paper
  • Email your paper as a PDF or Word Document and the signed nomination form to Ryan Denniston, Librarian for Political Science and Public Policy

What are the Holsti Prizes?

Duke University Libraries awards the Ole R. Holsti Prizes for excellence in undergraduate research using primary sources for political science or public policy.  Funding for the awards was provided by Ole Holsti, George V. Allen Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Duke University.

  • One award is awarded to the best undergraduate paper written for a semester-long course.
  • One award is awarded to the best undergraduate thesis written for Graduation with Distinction.
  • Each Prize carries a $1,000 cash award.


Is my paper eligible?

  • Your paper must have been written in the past academic year (last Summer through Spring terms of present year) and must be written for a course, thesis, or independent study in the Political Science or Public Policy departments.
  • You must be an undergraduate.
  • Primary sources must be used in the paper.  In these fields, primary sources include (but are not limited to):
    • data sets
    • government documents
    • first-person accounts
    • public opinion polls
    • contemporaneous news


How do I apply?

  • If your paper is eligible, it must also be nominated by the faculty member or instructor for whom you wrote the paper using the nomination form
  • Email one clean copy of your paper (without your name, course, professor, grade, or marginal notes) as a PDF or Word document, the faculty nomination form, and a completed application form to Ryan Denniston , Librarian for Public Policy and Political Science.  The nominating faculty member may also email or mail the nomination form himself or herself.
  • Papers should be double spaced and formatted with standard margins.  Include all bibliography and appendices.
  • Deadline for submissions is June 15, 2023


How is a winner chosen?

Papers shall be judged based on students’ effective use of primary sources and research procedures, as evidenced by the following:

  • sophistication or unusual depth or breadth in the identification, evaluation and use of primary sources
  • exceptional ability to integrate primary sources in a research project that shows originality and the potential to contribute to scholarship in the field
  • excellent writing style and thorough documentation