The Summer Institute Campaign Lab at Suffolk University is gearing up for its inaugural session this June, and there couldn’t be a better time for it.

The 2016 presidential election provides a vivid backdrop for the for-credit program’s launch, with practical examples of Campaign Lab topics illustrated in the news on an almost daily basis.

“We’ll talk a lot in the course about branding and messaging—both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders do a good job of this, sticking to their talking points,” notes Professor Rachael Cobb, program co-chair and chair of the University’s Department of Government.

Another course topic, the role of endorsements in a campaign, is playing out in an unusual way this season as well. “Trump has only a few endorsements, which is atypical at this stage,” Cobb observes.

The program, which offers college credit or a certificate of completion, is a hands-on experience designed to teach the fundamentals of contemporary campaigning.

“The Campaign Lab will offer participants the skills they need to run for and win elected office—whether that be a school board member, governor, or a union post—or to organize and manage a competitive campaign for any of these positions,” says Professor Brian Conley, program co-chair and director of Suffolk’s graduate program in political science.

Course participants will master the nuts-and-bolts of the campaign process, from filing nomination papers to developing field teams to navigating finance rules. They will build campaign plans of their own, learning how to stake out positions, employ media tactics, tackle issues of diversity and identity politics, and manage get-out-the-vote operations.

Add in elements like site visits and distinguished guest speakers, and the program delivers a great deal of education and concrete experience in just two weeks.

“It will also offer unparalleled networking opportunities with others in the Boston area and beyond who share a passion for politics, public policy, and campaigns,” says Conley.

The Campaign Lab program is open to college students from both Suffolk University and other institutions. The registration deadline is April 15, and the course runs from June 6-17. More information and the program application may be found here. Questions may be directed to, or call 617-573-8538.