The Political Science Department at the University of Colorado, Boulder has a long and vibrant tradition of excellence in training graduate students. At CU, a diverse faculty of nearly thirty train graduate students to conduct original research in six areas of political science: American government and politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory, public policy, and research methods. We enroll approximately ten new graduate students each fall, ensuring a high faculty-student ratio and close mentoring opportunities.

The faculty at CU Boulder pursues rigorous research that contributes to theory development in political science and addresses real world challenges.

  • In American politics, our faculty specializes in Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, federalism, local politics, voting behavior, public opinion, social networks, and political participation.
  • In comparative politics, our strengths reside in comparative political economy, comparative political behavior, cultural identity, the politics of non-governmental organizations, Asian politics, Latin American politics, European politics, and the European Union.
  • Our international relations faculty analyzes international institutions, globalization, conflict, security, and peacemaking.
  • Our political theory faculty focuses on environmental and social justice, the justification of war, citizenship, and diversity.
  • Our public policy faculty takes an analytical approach to urban policy, environmental policy and resource management, the military, social welfare, and education policy.

Please check out individual faculty web pages for information on our latest projects and publications.

Our department is distinctive for encouraging and supporting collaboration. Recent initiatives crossing traditional subfield lines include environmental ethics and policy, political economy, local politics, comparative judicial institutions, political mobilization and participation, ethnic conflict, emotions and political attitudes, social networks, identity politics, and gender politics. Our rigorous, multi-method research and training contribute to a highly visible research profile and a strong international reputation. Our faculty frequently publish articles in the top-ranked journals in the discipline, including American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Politics, and International Organization. In addition to the top journals, our work regularly appears in books published by the top academic presses: Cambridge University Press, Duke University Press, Oxford University Press, Princeton University Press, and University of Chicago Press.

Scenic image of campus during autumn

This collaborative, multi-method orientation also characterizes our graduate training. With a diverse offering of courses in each of the subfields, students can explore their varied interests and discover the topics and methodologies that best suit their career objectives. We have a long history of faculty-graduate student collaboration and co-authorship on scholarly publications and research proposals as well as collaboration among graduate students on publications. Methodologically, we offer courses in advanced statistical analysis, network analysis, game theory, comparative case study methodology, survey design, and context-sensitive research methods. To supplement offerings in the department, we encourage – and provide financial support for – additional methodological training at summer programs such as the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at University of Michigan and the program in Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models (EITM). Along with additional support for methodological training, the department provides summer stipends and travel grants (both international and domestic) to cover expenses associated with students’ dissertations. The department also provides financial support for conference attendance and grant writing.

The graduate program is the life-blood of our department. In addition to working closely with faculty, our graduate students have created their own peer-mentoring program for professional development. Each graduate student participates in our Teaching Political Science seminar and many are involved in the campus-wide, nationally-recognized Graduate Teacher Program. The talent in our graduate student community is reflected in recent external awards: we have had multiple winners of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants, Boren Fellowships, Fulbright awards, and post-doctoral fellowships at Harvard, Stanford and Yale.

Placement Process

Our faculty work closely with graduate students to assist them in building distinguished research records so that they may move into careers at some of the nation’s top institutions. We are very proud of the positions they have received at leading colleges and universities and a wide range of other institutions and organizations. 

Among many other college and universities, our graduates have received tenure track positions at University of California (Los Angeles), University of California (San Diego), University of Chicago, Clemson University, Colorado State University, University of Alabama, Cornell University, University of Denver, Emory University, Florida State University, Essex University, University of Georgia, University of Iowa, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, University of New Mexico, Mount Holyoke College, and the University of Tennessee.


Our graduates have also been placed in high-level liberal arts colleges and universities, such as Wesleyan University, Gonzaga University, and Middlebury College.

Many of our graduates have obtained positions as leaders at research organizations, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and in the private sector, including employment at the Colorado Children’s Campaign, First Nations Development Institute, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, Penn Schoen Berland (PSB), Pew Research Center, the Department of State, the Department of Defense, USAID, the National Defense University, the One Earth Foundation, and the State of Colorado.

We are pleased you are considering the graduate program at CU Boulder and we encourage you to contact us at with your questions.

Interested in the program, but not yet ready to apply? Fill out the form below to keep in touch! 

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