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Political Science Graduate Program

Admission to the Political Science Ph.D. Program

Admission to the graduate program in Political Science is based primarily on the applicant's academic record, standardized test scores (GRE for all applicants; English proficiency exam scores for non-native English speakers), references from instructors, and statement of purpose. 

The Graduate Studies Committee considers all elements of the application when deciding admission. While GRE scores and GPAs are a very important part of the total application package, there are no strict minimum criteria. Recently admitted students have had an average GRE score of around 148 for the quantitative section, 156 for the verbal section, and 5.0 for the analytical section. Recently admitted students have had an average GPA of around 3.5. Recently admitted international students have a score of at least 20 for each section of the TOEFL. 

An undergraduate major in Political Science is not required, but PhD applicants are expected to have completed at least 15 semester hours of graduate-level courses in Political Science and (except in cases of specific exemption by the Graduate Studies Committee) hold a master's degree or its equivalent in Political Science or a closely related field from an accredited U.S. institution. 

Students who just completed a M.A. in Political Science from this department at the University of Kansas can provide a statement and three letters of recommendation from faculty to apply to the Ph.D. program without having to submit a formal online application. If some time has passed since the student received the degree, and they are not enrolled at the university, then they will still have to apply online to the program. The courses taken in this department toward the MA also apply toward the PhD. 

Minority group members and women are encouraged to apply. The Department actively pursues equal opportunity policies. Minority fellowships are available for qualified applicants. 

Application Deadlines

Applications and all required supplemental materials for the Fall 2021 semester are due no later than February 1 to be considered for departmental funding in the form of a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA). Applications for the fall semester will be accepted until April 15 but will not be considered for departmental funding if submitted after February 1. The Department of Political Science does not admit students for the spring or summer semesters.  

Application Materials

To be considered for admission to the Political Science Ph.D. program, all domestic and international degree-seeking students must submit the following:

Online Admissions Application & Application Fee

Complete the online application available at KU's Graduate Studies website and submit it. The application fee can be paid online as the last step of the application. Application forms submitted without a fee cannot be processed.

Application Fees:

  • Domestic Application: $65.00
  • Degree Seeking International Application $85.00
  • Non Degree Seeking Application (Domestic and International) $30.00
  • Reenrollment Application $20.00
Three Letters of Recommendation

These letters should be from former or current instructors and/or those able to recommend you on the basis of professional experience. Provide names and email addresses for each recommender on your application. The recommender will receive a notice from the Office of Graduate Admissions instructing them to upload a recommendation letter. The applicant must assume responsibility for ensuring that the department receives these letters by the application deadline.

Official Transcript(s)

Students must have at least a 3.0 GPA in their previous academic work to be admitted to regular graduate student status. Applicants should provide a copy of an official transcript from all colleges and universities attended. Upload a copy of each transcript to your application. If admitted, you’ll also need to send an official copy of all transcripts to Graduate Admissions. It can take three weeks for transcripts to arrive.

Statement of Purpose

The department requires an essay stating your research interests and career goals while also describing your intellectual development, previous academic training, and areas of academic interest. We hope this essay will describe some of your intended research topics. The quality of this statement is an especially important factor in the decisions of our admissions committee. The statement should be a maximum of two pages, single spaced. 

Resume or CV

Your resume or CV may include your education, employment history, volunteer experience, internships, scholarships/fellowships, and/or academic awards.

GRE Scores

The department requires that all applicants submit Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores. The scores may not be more than five years old. Only the general test is required (verbal, quantitative and analytical portions). To register for the GRE, please see the GRE web site http://www.ets.org or call 1-800-967-1100. For score reporting, KU's institution code is 6871.

Proof of English Proficiency

All applicants to graduate study at the University of Kansas who are self-identified non-native English speakers must provide proof of English proficiency. Please visit https://graduate.ku.edu/english-proficiency-requirements for more information regarding verification of English proficiency.

Provisional Admission

On rare occasions the department may recommend an applicant who does not meet the University’s minimum requirements for provisional admission. This may occur, for example, if a student’s overall undergraduate GPA is deficient but other application materials suggest strong potential for success in graduate study. All recommendations for provisional admission are contingent on approval by the Office of Graduate Studies.

To continue in the program, students admitted provisionally must meet with the Director of Graduate Studies at the start of the academic term, must comply with any requests for additional meetings or communications, and must earn at least a 3.0 GPA in the first semester of graduate coursework at KU.


If you have questions about the academic program or curriculum, contact the Director of Graduate Studies.  

Dr. Nazli Avdan 
Assistant Professor & Director of Graduate Studies 
Department of Political Science

If you have questions about the application process or required materials, contact the Graduate Academic Advisor.  

Cornelius Baker
Graduate Academic Advisor 




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