The Department of Political Science will not be accepting applications for its PhD program for the 2021-22 academic year. Exceptions will be made for students who have an outside scholarship that includes a stipend and tuition remission. If you think you might be eligible for an exception and would like to apply, please contact Professor Beth Leech at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 Applications for the department's master's degree in United Nations and Global Policy Studies remain open for the 2021-22 academic year.

 Administration of admissions is handled by the Graduate Admissions Office, 18 Bishop Place, New Brunswick, N. J. 08901. The actual decisions are made by the Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid in political science. Confidentiality is maintained in the consideration of applicants.

The credentials to be submitted are the formal application, obtained through the Graduate Admissions website @, transcripts of all undergraduate work, recommendations of three persons (preferably Professors with whom the applicant has studied), and the verbal, math and writing scores on the Graduate Record Examinations.  Students should, in addition, submit a sample of their written work, which they believe to be indicative of their ability to do graduate work in political science.  Decisions on admission will normally not be made until all of these materials are in hand. 

Early application is urged. Persons seeking financial aid and persons seeking to transfer directly into the Ph.D. program are particularly advised to apply early, in any event, not later than January 10th. For everyone else, the deadline is February 10th (

Budgetary restraints on enrollment mean that all qualified students cannot be accepted. As rough rules, applicants are more likely to be accepted if they have an A- average or better, particularly in social science work, strong scores on the Graduate Record Examinations, and strong letters of recommendation. However, each case is considered individually. Rutgers desires to attract students from varied backgrounds, including women, members of minority groups, and foreign students. Therefore, the standards listed are rough rules only.

Experience has taught us that graduate school in the United States can be a particularly difficult experience for students whose native language is not English, and we therefore like to see TOEFL scores (Test of English as a Foreign Language) for such students at the 90th percentile or above. (This is 110 or higher on the new internet-based test          

Transfer Credits

Admitted students who come to Rutgers from another institution may transfer up to 24 credits of their previous work towards the Ph.D., after they have successfully completed one semester (12 credits) at Rutgers. However, there is no prior guarantee of the number of credits, which will be transferred. Credits will normally be transferred only for courses comparable in length, quality and content to those offered in the political science program in New Brunswick. Credits are usually not transferred for undergraduate courses or independent study programs. Applications for transfer credits, available at the Graduate School and the Department, must be submitted along with grade. Students should consult with the Director of Graduate Studies and their adviser before submitting this form. (

Financial Aid

A variety of financial aid is available to graduate students in political science at Rutgers. Included are:

Excellence Fellowships and Special Graduate School Fellowships are national awards for students of exceptional ability seeking the Ph.D. Several of these awards provide five-year packages ranging from $25,000 per year plus tuition remission

In each of the last several years, the department has offered six of these awards to outstanding applicants regardless of field and geographical origin. These awards include two years of fellowship and three years of being a T.A. In addition to the usual credentials, applicants for these awards should send a sample of their written research.

Teaching Assistantships Approximately 13 Teaching Assistantships are awarded, offering beginning salaries of approximately $26,000 plus full tuition and health benefits. These provide an opportunity for close work with faculty, and require about 15 hours of work weekly. The assistants are selected by the Admissions and Financial Aid Committee of the Graduate Faculty.

Most of the Assistantships are reserved for students who have completed 24 credits of graduate work at Rutgers by the beginning of the position. The positions are awarded for one year, with re-appointment for a second year considered upon satisfactory performance. A third-year appointment is possible for students showing excellent performance. Applications for Assistantships are circulated in February among enrolled students. In addition, 8 to 10 senior graduate students in political science (ABD) serve as teaching assistants in the English department. Students teach basic expository writing courses which, among other things, stress the importance of "writing across the curriculum."

Various opportunities for research assistantships and part-time employment are available at the Eagleton Institute of Politics and its Center for American Women in Politics and with other Centers and Institutes and individual faculty holding outside grants. ( )  The Eagleton Institute also offers fellowship opportunities for graduate students who wish to further their understanding of the practice of politics and public affairs. (

The William and Mary Porte Peace Dissertation Fellowship is funded by a gift of William and Mary Porte. It supports dissertation research that promises to make a significant intellectual contribution to the understanding of conditions that contribute to world peace.

Students are also encouraged to apply for external dissertation support from organizations such as the National Science Foundation, Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowships, and Fulbright. Our students have had notable successes in each of these areas in recent years.

Course Selection

When registering for courses, students should keep in mind the following principles, regulations and advice. In all cases, students should see their advisers before registration.

All students must submit in writing their major and minor field choices at the end of their first year. Students should consult with their advisor of the field chair of their proposed major field regarding the selection of major and minor fields and get the signature of their adviser on the standard form (available from the graduate office).

Each Ph.D. student must take the proseminar and core courses for his or her major and minor fields, and should then build on this preparation in more specialized work. A minimum of three courses (including the core course) is required in field. As much as possible, students are well advised to diversify their courses among their three fields.

All Ph.D. students must demonstrate competence in research methods by completing 790:532-533 Research Design in Political Science (normally in their first year) and submit at least one significant research paper, which addresses a theoretically interesting topic and/or an analytically important controversy.

Comparative politics and political theory students must pass a foreign language examination. Students in American Politics and International Relations have additional requirements in research methods.

Annual 2nd Year Research Conference

All Ph.D. students are required to submit a "significant research paper" to the graduate office before they sit for their comprehensive exams. Beginning with the entering class of 2008, this paper will be presented at an annual end-of-the-year student research conference held every May. The research is most likely to develop out of one seminar or another (ideally, but not necessarily, in the student's major field), and students are strongly encouraged to begin discussing their research ideas with faculty before the end of their first year of graduate study, and certainly by the beginning of their second year.

On the last Friday of October, all second year graduate students are required to turn in to the Graduate Office a one-page description of their proposed research with a tentative paper title. (If they have already begun seriously talking to a particular faculty member about this research, they should convey this information along with the brief description of the research itself.)

The Director of Graduate Studies will then distribute the research proposals to the various subfields (working through the field chairs), who will select an appropriate faculty supervisor for any research proposal without one.

Students should then begin (or continue) meeting with the faculty formally supervising the research project to continue developing the research idea. These research proposals must describe a project that can be completed in one semester, and faculty will have more realistic ideas about what is possible to achieve. A final (potentially revised) research proposal must be submitted to the Graduate Office by the end of the fall semester of the second year of graduate study. This proposal should be signed by both the student and their faculty sponsor.

Student will register for a 3-credit independent study with their faculty sponsor in the spring of their second year of graduate study. The faculty sponsor has responsibility for supervision and guidance of the research. A formal paper describing the results of the research will be due the final Friday of the spring semester.

Students will also present their research to the department at an annual end-of-the-year student research conference, typically held during the "reading days" after the end of classes in the Spring semester but before finals start. Papers will be organized into as coherently-structured-as-possible panels of 4 or 5 papers each, and students would make a 15-minute presentation of their project to the entire department. A different faculty member will chair each panel, with more advanced (ABD) graduate students serving as discussants on these panels.

Our goal is that every one of these second-year projects is quickly submitted to some professional conference, if not directly to a journal for publication.

Because the faculty believes the responsibility for an opportunity to supervise these second-year research projects should be widely shared among the faculty, no individual faculty member may supervise more than two second-year projects in any given year, nor more than three in any two consecutive years.