Ph.D. Program in Political Science


The goals of the Ph.D. program are:

  • To develop the research and analysis skills of students through the advanced study of political processes and problems, and through an increased understanding of policy issues and research methodology.
  • To prepare students for careers at research and teaching institutions of higher education.
  • To provide advanced training for careers in public administration or public policy.

The strength of this program lies in the diverse research interests of its faculty and the collaborative work between faculty and graduate students. Students accepted into the Ph.D. program are expected to have both a major and minor field within the discipline. These fields include:

  • American Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • International Relations
  • Public Administration
  • Public Policy

The program requires major and minor comprehensive exams in students’ selected fields.

Admissions Requirements
Admission to the Ph.D. program is competitive; a limited number of applicants are accepted each year. To be considered, all applications must be complete and submitted through the university’s Graduate School. Please visit the Graduate School website

Application deadlines

A departmental selection committee makes the admission decisions in three cycles.

  • Fall admission with funding consideration: The application deadline is February 15 for admission with funding consideration in the following fall semester.
  • Regular fall admission deadline (with no request for funding): April 15
  • Spring admission: The application deadline is November 1 for admission the following spring semester. (Assistantship offers generally are not made for the spring admission cycle.)

Minimum Requirements

  • Undergraduate Degree (B.A./B.S.)
  • Minimum 3.0 overall GPA (B.A./B.S.)
  • GRE Scores: Verbal and Quantitative scores should be a minimum of 154, though some exceptions are made for students based on upon their skill set and other qualifications (or GMAT, LSAT equivalent)
  • 18 credit hours (6 courses) of coursework in the social sciences

Please note that these are minimum requirements; meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to the program. Students are admitted on an increasingly competitive basis. We take into consideration a student’s overall record, as well as the department’s ability to accommodate a student’s research/teaching interest.

Application materials need to be mailed to the Graduate School—please check the Graduate School website for deadlines:

To Apply

The following documents must be submitted to the Graduate School, University of Nevada, Reno:

  • Undergraduate and graduate transcripts
  • GRE/GMAT/LSAT scores
  • Three letters of recommendation of which a minimum of two are from professors with whom you have taken and completed coursework.
  • Statement of Purpose
    This one-to-two page statement should be 500 words, double-spaced and printed in a standard font. In this statement you should discuss your career and educational goals and how those goals fit into the research specializations of the department. Please make sure your name at the top of the each page.