Ph.D. Program

Ph.D. in Politics and International Affairs

PhD in Politics and International Affairs Test Picture

The Ph.D. in Politics and International Affairs is an interdisciplinary program designed to prepare students to teach at the university and college levels and to conduct high-level research in the academic and nonacademic sectors. It combines a broad focus on international relations, comparative politics, American politics, and political theory with a critical understanding of institutions, rights, citizenship/identity, governance, global policy, and justice. Students work closely with faculty to frame their dissertation research and to advance their knowledge of their chosen fields of specialization. The program’s interdisciplinary approach to a variety of global issues provides a rich and open-ended opportunity to research current and past problems, movements, and transformations in politics.


We welcome your interest in our Ph.D. program. The deadline for fall admission is February 1. Students must apply online with the Office of Graduate Studies through the Online Application. In addition, each applicant is expected to upload all application materials to the application directly or to send them to the Graduate Academic Program Specialist.

Admission Requirements

  1. A concise personal statement (not to exceed 1000 words) that discusses your academic goals and objectives, why you wish to pursue a Ph.D. in Politics and International Affairs, and the faculty member(s) under whom you wish to study.
  2. Three letters of recommendation, preferably from academics who can write about and speak directly to your academic skills and potential for undertaking advanced academic research.
  3. Official GRE scores. There is no required, minimum GRE score for admission, but the average scores of previously-funded applicants have been approximately 160 Verbal, 152 Analytical, 5 Writing.
  4. TOEFL scores (only for non-native speakers).  International Students must score at least a 79 overall on the TOEFL to meet the requirements for graduate admission and earn a 26 on the writing, speaking, and reading sections to qualify for a Teaching Assistantship. In the event that the latter requirement is not fulfilled, students have the option of taking a special training course to qualify for a Graduate Assistantship.
  5. Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate level courses. Only official transcripts will be accepted. All transcripts of international students must be in English. And those wishing to transfer course credit must obtain a course-by-course assessment from an evaluation service.
  6. Curriculum Vitae/Resume.
  7. Writing sample of no more than 25 pages. This can either be a published article in a professional journal, a paper presented at a conference, a section of the applicant’s master’s thesis, or an academic research paper (for a graduate or upper-level undergraduate course).

International Students: Transcripts/documents that are issued in a language other than English must be accompanied by a literal English translation. In addition, transfer applicants who completed any postsecondary work (college or university) at an institution not in the U.S. are required to submit an evaluation of that academic work. The evaluation must include a course-by-course assessment, with grades or marks and credits or hours equated to the U.S. system. Click here for a list of evaluation services and select Academic Credentials.

PLEASE NOTE: International students whose native language is not English and who want to be considered for a teaching assistantship must show proficiency in spoken English even if their TOEFL has been waived for admission to a graduate program. They will need to score at least a 26 on the spoken portion of the internet-based TOEFL (iBT).