Graduate Admissions and Aid

The Department of Political Science welcomes applicants to our Fifth-Year Master of Arts in Political Science; Race, Ethnicity, and Politics Graduate Certificate; and Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science programs.

Graduate Program Admissions

Fifth-Year Master of Arts in Political Science

UConn juniors applying for admission to the POLS 5th Year Master’s Program are required to submit:

  1. An unofficial transcript demonstrating a minimum GPA of 3.5 in POLS and closely related classes.
  2. Two signed letters of recommendation on official letterhead speaking specifically to the applicant’s research potential. Please direct potential references to the Recommendation Page.
  3. A personal statement outlining applicant’s:
    1. Research interests.
    2. Proposed plan of study.
    3. Identification of faculty with whom they would like to study.
    4. Kinds of courses student would like to take.
    5. Prior relevant academic experience.

Further, potential students are urged to meet with an undergraduate academic advisor to discuss whether they can count six credits of coursework from their senior year toward the master’s and not their undergraduate degree.

The application deadline is May 1; however, the POLS Graduate Affairs Committee may begin reviewing applications before then. Please apply as soon as possible.

Master of Arts in Race, Ethnicity, and Politics

In 2021, the Department will begin accepting applicants for our new Master of Arts in Race, Ethnicity, and Politics. Applicants are required to submit:

  1. An official transcript demonstrating a GPA of 3.5 or higher in courses relevant to the master’s program
  2. Two letters of recommendation that speak specifically to the applicant’s research potential and interest in/commitment to race, ethnicity, and politics
  3. A personal statement outlining the applicant’s aims for seeking admission in the program
  4. A writing sample

Students are not required to take the GRE. Potential applicants should contact the program coordinator, Professor Evelyn Simien, to make sure that their interests can be met by the program.

Graduate Certificate in Race, Ethnicity, and Politics

Admitted or enrolled UConn MA or Ph.D. students can earn a graduate certificate by completing four pre-approved related courses in race, ethnicity, and politics. Before applying, all interested students must meet with the program coordinator, Professor Evelyn Simien, to review the program requirements and to discuss the student's goals. Before being admitted, interested graduate students must also obtain consent from their advisor. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis in accordance with Graduate School guidelines.

Find out more and start the application process.

Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science

Applicants for the Ph.D. program in political science must apply to and be accepted by both the UConn Graduate School and the Department of Political Science. Please review the section below on financial aid for Ph.D. students prior to submitting your application.

Applicants must apply online via the UConn Graduate School website. All application materials, including supporting documents, must be received by January 15. Applications will not be processed until the application fee is paid. The Graduate School can, when a genuine need is demonstrated, extend fee waivers. Applicants must meet a minimum GPA of 3.0.

International applicants must submit transcripts and degree statements both in the original language and an official English translation. Additionally, international applicants from countries where the official language is not English, or who have not received a degree from an institution where the language of instruction is English, must submit the results of the TOEFL examination to the Graduate Admissions Office:

Admissions Office
Graduate School, University of Connecticut
438 Whitney Road Ext., Unit 1152
Storrs, CT 06269-1152
Phone: (860) 486-3617
Email: gradschool@uconn.edu

The Department of Political Science is unable to consider applications until the requirements of the Graduate School have been fulfilled.

In addition to the Graduate School materials:

  • The Department of Political Science requires a personal statement, writing sample, and three letters of recommendation. The Department also recommends (but does not require) students submit the test scores from the verbal and quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE).
  • The personal statement should indicate that you understand what undertaking a Ph.D. in political science involves, that you have relevant preparation for it, and that UConn’s program will enable you to work effectively toward your aims.
  • Applicants without a master’s degree should apply directly to the Ph.D. program.
  • Your writing sample should be a substantial piece of written work that demonstrates your ability to communicate effectively and to engage in sophisticated critical reasoning with materials and on themes related to the study of politics.
  • Your letter writers should be sure that they will be able to submit their recommendations for you by the January 15th deadline and that they can write with considerable detail about your intellectual experience and talent and suitability to a doctoral program. There is no form for letters of recommendation, but they should appear on letterhead with complete contact information for the person writing the letter.
  • Letter writers will receive an email asking them to upload your letter to the graduate application website.

For more information about admission to the Ph.D. program, please contact Christine Luberto.


Financial Aid for Ph.D. Students

Graduate Assistantships

Most UConn political science doctoral students are awarded graduate assistantships upon admission. Tuition is waived for graduate students who are awarded a 50% or larger graduate assistantships, who are enrolled in six credits or more of courses per semester, and who maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better. All graduate assistantships require twenty-hours per week of service to the department. Learn more about graduate assistantships on the Graduate School's website.

The majority of political science Ph.D. students work as graduate assistants (GAs) for the Department of Political Science. While GA duties may involve teaching discussion sections once a week for the large introductory lecture courses, most GAs work with faculty by helping to grade, keeping attendance, and assisting with audio-visual, library, and other course-related matters. Once students have completed their first Ph.D. exam, they usually teach their own courses at one of UConn’s regional campuses and occasionally in Storrs. These courses usually occur during the regular semesters and occasionally during the summer.

International applicants regularly receive graduate assistantships; however, to be classroom instructors, they must earn a score of 27 or higher on their TOEFL. If they do not earn a 27, they must pass SPEAK and TEACH tests at UConn, administered by ISSS, before they can become classroom instructors.

All GAs are strongly encouraged to participate in programs sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) that focus on developing their teaching skills.

Graduate School Fellowships

The Graduate School offers a small set of Internal Fellowships. In order for an applicant to be considered for one of these fellowships, they must select that they wish to be considered in your graduate school application. Recipients of these fellowships will be the most academically promising members of the entering class of graduate students at the University of Connecticut. The criteria used to select recipients include the following:

  • Evidence of scholarly or creative achievement highlighted by the department or program in their nomination and evidence that the department or program provides the environment necessary for success in the areas of interest highlighted by the applicant.
  • Evidence of any prior scholarly or creative achievement by the nominee, e.g. publications, presentations, exhibits, performances.
  • Evidence that the nominee has been successful at previous academic institutions, e.g. letters of recommendation.
  • Quantitative evidence of academic accomplishment, e.g. undergraduate grade point average, GRE/GMAT (when available).

The Jorgensen Fellowship (JF) and the Harriott Fellowship (HF) are available to outstanding young scholars who have been admitted to doctoral programs at the University of Connecticut. The awards consists of a service-free fellowship providing a $20,000 annual stipend for five years.

For HF fellowships students must submit a diversity statement through the SLATE application system. Students must demonstrate a commitment to enhancing diversity in higher education through participation in organizations or activities that (a) directly relate to increasing access to higher education and retention in higher education of individuals, regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, gender, nationality, cultural background, religion, or beliefs or (b) that help to ensure that individuals are welcomed and included in higher education environments regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, gender, nationality, cultural background, religion, or beliefs. Such organization and activities might include participation/affiliation with TRIO programs, cultural/affinity organizations/centers, volunteer experiences, and college or university committees focused on these goals. Students provide evidence of this commitment through research and educational experience reflected on their CV/resume (articles, presentations, internship, and research experience), in their personal statement, or in letters of recommendation.

Predoctoral Fellowships

Pending budgetary approval, summer pre-doctoral funding is awarded each spring. All political science graduate students enrolled in the Ph.D. program can apply. Award amounts range from $300 to $2,000, and can be used toward participating in a methods course, supporting the conducting of international fieldwork, or covering research expenses such as transcription services or software. Funds can be spent as soon as they are awarded but must be used by the end of the funded summer.

To apply for funds, students submit an application that is workshopped with members of the Graduate Affairs Committee at the beginning of the spring semester. Their revised applications are due in February and funding decisions are made by the end of March. To remain eligible for funding, students who have previously received predoctoral funds must submit a predoctoral usage form. For questions and more information, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Political Science.

Doctoral Student Travel Award

The Graduate School provides travel funding to support a limited number of doctoral students’ travel to present their research at national or international meetings/conferences. There are two (2) competitions during an academic year. The first one is designated for fall semester travel and the second one is reserved for spring semester travel. Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible for travel as funding runs out.

Learn more on the Graduate School's website.

Semi-Annual Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship Program

Pending budgetary approval, the Graduate School awards a limited number of $2,000 Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships for advanced students in doctoral programs requiring a dissertation. The purpose is to enable students to place high priority on writing the doctoral dissertation as expeditiously as possible.

Learn more on the Graduate School's website.

Office of Financial Aid

Based on financial need, additional grants are available for domestic students through programs, including work-study grants, administered by the Office of Financial Aid.

Short-Term Emergency Loans Fund (STELF)

The Dean of Students Office has an emergency loan fund available to graduate students during the months of the year when they are in classes at the University. The fund is intended to help students in financial emergencies such as transportation cost home when there is an illness or other family emergency, car repairs, living expenses, school supplies, etc. To find out more, contact the Dean of Students Office.

Short-Term Loans through the Graduate Student Senate

This fund is administered by the Graduate Student Senate (GSS) and is funded by graduate student activities fees. It provides loans of up to $1,000 to assist graduate students dealing with financial emergencies. Loans are issued for 60-day periods and are interest free. Applications are available in the Graduate Student Senate Office, Student Union Room 213 and on the GSS Website.