The department does not accept applications for a terminal M.A. in Political Science. (A terminal M.A. is a two year program with the purpose of attaining a Masters degree only and not a Ph.D.) Students in the Ph.D. program typically earn a M.A. degree in Political Science at the completion of their second year in the program.

Mailing physical letters is strongly discouraged as this can cause delays in the processing of your application. It is best to have recommenders upload their letters electronically via the link that is sent to them. If a letter must be mailed in, the letters should come in signed and sealed envelopes. See "Letters of Recommendation" at:

No. The Political Science Department reviews applications once a year. The review occurs early in the spring semester to determine the fall class of incoming graduate students. We welcome your application for next year if you missed the deadline for this admission cycle.

Yes. The University of Colorado allows students to enroll on a trial basis through the Access Program. Admission is contingent upon the instructor’s permission, which must be secured prior to enrollment.

Most, but not all, admitted applicants receive teaching assistantships covering five calendar years (ten semesters) of funding from the department. This year's stipend for a 50% appointment is $23,464.88 ($11,732.44) per semester) as a teaching assistant. The department also provides an in-state tuition waiver and partial coverage for subsidized health insurance towards the cost of the Gold Comprehensive Insurance Plan for those offered teaching assistantships. When funded, students teach two recitation sections for a large lecture class or grade for an upper division class. Advanced graduate students have the option of teaching their own classes and receive a higher stipend.

Students must complete all of the course work requirements for the Ph.D. However, students may create independent studies focusing on a topic of particular interest with the permission of a professor in the department. Furthermore, students may take courses outside of the department after securing departmental permission.

No. We require our graduate students to be present in Boulder in order to take the required courses.

The institution code is 4841. You do not need to supply a department code.

An applicant may defer enrollment for up to one year upon approval of the Director of Graduate Studies and Admissions Committee.

Students wishing to qualify for in-state tuition beginning in their second year must establish Colorado residency.

If you need to be full time according to Graduate School standards, you can review the Graduate School Rules (PDF) (Section 8: Full-time status and Minimum Registration Requirements)

For financial aid purposes, students enrolled at least half-time (4 credit hours) in a graduate or professional program and who meet all of the other general eligibility requirements are able to apply for federal student aid.

If you need to be full time according to the standards of the Financial Aid Office, you will need to check with them. Financial Aid’s full time and part time standards are different than those set by the Graduate School, and are established based partly on federal law. If you have any financial aid, you MUST make sure you are in compliance with the registration requirements of their office. 

We have an outstanding record of job placement for our graduate students. Recent academic job placements include the University of Chicago, University of Iowa, University of Calgary, University of West Florida, and Tennessee State University. We also have a strong record of placement of students in leadership positions in non-profit organizations, think tanks, research organizations, and government.

The Ph.D. program takes 5-6 years to complete even if a student comes in with a master’s degree already earned. Most students earn a second master’s along the way because classes taken previously are not equivalent to courses at CU and will not prepare you for comprehensive exams. The comprehensive exams are tailored to our graduate courses according to fields of study, which might be difficult to pass if you have not taken our courses.

The department will consider up to 9 credits maximum to transfer from outside CU Boulder that count as part of Ph.D. requirements. Students interested in transferring credits from a previous degree or outside institution must consult with the Graduate Program Assistant to review whether or not the course(s) would fulfill program credit requirements. Please plan to provide an official transcript, syllabus, and supporting documentation for each course you wish to have transferred. After an initial review the course(s) will be further reviewed by faculty in the field(s) most applicable to assess rigor, equivalency, and eligibility of the transfer. Final approval will be determined by Director of Graduate Studies. Other rules and restrictions apply.

We do interview applicants before making admissions decisions in certain cases. More commonly, after we decide whom to admit we meet with these accepted students (in person or on Skype or by phone) before making our final decisions on funding. Most admitted students visit us in Boulder for our annual recruitment event. Annual recruitment events tend to take place early in March.