The University of Chicago | Graduate Admissions

Political Science - PhD

Division: Social Sciences
Degree Type: PhD (For the MA degree, see the Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences or the Master of Arts in International Relations)

Program Description

We are a theoretically innovative department that encourages methodological and intellectual pluralism. Our research unsettles conventional assumptions and pushes the boundaries of both disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge. Our graduate education enables students to teach at the top research institutions and to contribute to scholarly and policy-oriented conversations. We are a department that contributes to the mission of the University of Chicago, to the intellectual ferocity and anti-hierarchical character of this faculty-run institution. We are committed to providing the finest, most rigorous and inventive education experience in the country.

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Specific Areas of Focus

  • Political Theory
  • American Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • International Relations
  • Methodology


Application Method

Applications should be initiated through the online application. Paper applications are not accepted.


Deadline for admissions and financial aid: December 15

The Department of Political Science admits applicants once a year for the following Autumn Quarter. Applications received after the deadline cannot be considered.

Campus Visits

Campus visits and interviews are not required. Contact the department for more information.

Degree Objective

The Department of Political Science admits applicants only for the PhD degree. We do not offer an MA program. If you are interested in pursuing an MA focusing in Political Science, look at the Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences (MAPSS) or the Committee on International Relations (CIR).

Application Requirements

  1. Online Application Form and Supplemental Form
  2. Non-refundable application fee Fee waiver information »
  3. 3 Letters of Recommendation
  4. GRE and TOEFL Scores
  5. Resume/CV
  6. Statement of Academic Purpose
  7. Writing Sample
  8. Transcripts

Admissions Decisions

Admissions decisions are emailed in early March. Direct all questions about your application directly to the admissions office.

Program Requirements

The Department of Political Science is committed to training students in political science broadly conceived. The faculty believes that the best work in political science often crosses subfields and disciplines. Our aim is to help students develop their intellectual interests while grounding them in the various approaches and methodologies that currently characterize the discipline. The requirements, mixing research papers with courses and exams, aim to achieve these goals. Here is a brief overview of the requirements for the PhD degree:

  • 12 courses for quality grades including three courses in three fields to meet the course distribution requirement
  • First Year Seminar paper
  • MA paper
  • Comprehensive Exams in two fields
  • Dissertation Proposal hearing
  • Dissertation defense

See requirement details »

Costs & Financial Aid

As a general principle, we provide extensive funding for all students who matriculate in our doctoral programs. Applicants to our doctoral programs are considered for all fellowship resources at the University of Chicago for which they are eligible.

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