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Political Science

The Department of Political Science offers instruction and trains graduate students to conduct original research in six areas of political science: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Theory, Public Policy, and Empirical Theory and Methodology.

Degrees Offered:

Degree Details: 

The Department offers a Master of Arts in Political Science for students enrolled in the Ph.D. program. This degree will be awarded following completion of 30 hours of course work including the core course work requirements for the Ph.D. degree, the two-semester teaching seminar, and successful defense of the Qualifying Research Paper. Students in the Ph.D. program earn a M.A. in Political Science after the completion of a successful qualifying paper and defense at the end of the second year in the program. The Department does not accept applications for a terminal M.A. in political science.

Requirements for the Ph.D. in political science fall into five major categories: course work, qualifying paper defense, comprehensive examination, prospectus defense, and doctoral dissertation. The satisfactory completion of a total of 42 semester hours of course work and 30 hours of dissertation research is required. For further details, please refer to the Ph.D. Degree Requirements section of the graduate webpage for the Department of Political Science. 

Admissions Requirements: 

Carefully review information contained on the Apply section of the graduate webpage for the Department of Political Science.

Applicants must:

  1. Have a cumulative undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 (out of 4.0) from an accredited university in the United States, or equivalent credentials from a non-U.S. institution, or a graduate cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale.
  2. Have a cumulative score on the Graduate Record Examination of at least 300 (verbal + quantitative), with a score of at least 153 on the verbal examination. (This equates to 1100 and 500, respectively, under the old scoring system.) Students not meeting the GRE requirements are advised to resubmit their application after retaking the examinations and obtaining satisfactory scores.
  3. All international applicants are required to meet a minimum standard of English proficiency. International students must provide TOEFL or IELTS exam scores or show proof of English. The department requires minimum scores of 90 for TOEFL and 7.0 for IELTS. If you have completed at least one year of full-time study at a U.S. institution (or at an institution in a country where English is the native language) at the time you apply and within two years from your desired admission term, you may be exempt from the English language proficiency exam. This can be confirmed by your transcripts. 
  4. Submit one unofficial copy of your transcript(s) from each college or university you have attended. 
  5. Submit three letters of recommendation from members of the profession who can judge your ability to participate in a graduate program. You will be asked to supply the names of your recommenders and their email addresses within the application. Electronic requests for letters will be sent out after you submit your application.
  6. Provide a statement of professional and academic goals and intent. Prepare your statement as a .doc or .pdf file, and upload it with your application.


Financial Support: 

Financial support is available to Ph.D. students in the form of teaching and research assistantships, instructorships, and fellowships based on academic excellence. 

Fall Domestic Application Deadline: 
Monday, December 14, 2015
Fall International Application Deadline: 
Monday, December 14, 2015
Contact Information: 

University of Colorado Boulder
Department of Political Science
Graduate Program Assistant
333 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0333
Phone: (303) 492-7872
Fax: (303) 492-0978