Admissions

The Department of Political Science will once again be accepting applications for its PhD program for the 2022-2023 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 http://gradstudy.rutgers.edu/, transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work, and recommendations of three persons (preferably professors with whom the applicant has studied). Graduate Record Examination scores are optional but will be reviewed if submitted. All students are asked to write a personal statement in which they describe their research interests and discuss how they think those research interests would be advanced by coming to Rutgers and studying with faculty in the department. Core faculty and their research interests can be viewed here.  Students should, in addition, submit a sample of their written work that 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 10.

Budgetary restraints on enrollment mean that not all qualified students can be accepted. Applicants are more likely to be accepted if they have an A- average or better, particularly in social science work, strong letters of recommendation, and a clear connection with the research interests of our core faculty. However, each case is considered individually and Rutgers desires to attract students from varied backgrounds, including women, members of historically excluded groups, and international 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  http://www.ets.org/toefl/ibt/register/)  Students who have completed a master’s degree taught in English or who have at least three years of undergraduate work taught entirely in English are exempt from the requirement to submit TOEFL scores.       

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 that  will be accepted for transfer. 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 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 a transcript and syllabi for the classes that are to be transferred. Students should consult with the Director of Graduate Studies and their adviser before submitting this form. (http://gsnb.rutgers.edu/resources/graduate-students-forms)

Financial Aid

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

Excellence Fellowships and Graduate School Dean’s Fellowships are national awards for students of exceptional ability seeking the Ph.D. These provide $25,000 per year plus tuition remission and student health insurance

Teaching Assistantships offer beginning salaries of $30,162 plus tuition and health benefits. These provide an opportunity for close work with faculty, and require about 15 hours of work weekly.

In each of the last several years, the department has offered funding packages to up to eight outstanding applicants regardless of field and geographical origin. These awards typically include two years of fellowship and two or three years of being a Teaching Assistant.

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 considered upon satisfactory performance. In addition, each year several  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. (http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/ )  The Eagleton Institute also offers fellowship opportunities for graduate students who wish to further their understanding of the practice of politics and public affairs. (http://www.eagleton.rutgers.edu/)

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. Guidance in these applications is provided by the university’s renowned Grad Fund program.

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.

                                                                                              
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 each 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 790:600-601 Research Design in Political Science and Introduction to Quantitative Methods (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.

Emerging Scholars 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. 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.

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 a little more than one semester, and faculty will have more realistic ideas about what is possible to achieve. In discussion with the advisor, the student should select a second faculty reader for the paper, who can provide additional guidance and who must approve the final paper. After the conference, both faculty advisors must sign a form, available through the departmental graduate office, confirming that the student has fulfilled the requirement of presenting a significant research paper. Students may register for a 3-credit independent study with their faculty sponsor in either the fall or 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 one week before the scheduled conference.

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.