skip to main content

Ph.D. in Political Science

Focusing in on politics and the global stage

The strength of the Ph.D. program in political science lies in its small size and the diversity of its faculty. Students accepted into the doctoral program are expected to have a major and minor field in the areas the department offers as specializations, which include:

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

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

Within this context, the university confers the Ph.D. degree for work of distinction in which the student displays decided contributions of original scholarship, and only in recognition of marked ability and achievement.  The Political Science doctoral program is specifically designed to allow students to:

  • Develop research skills through the advanced study of research design and methodology, political processes and problems, and policy issues
  • Prepare for careers in research and teaching institutions of higher education, public administration and public policy
  • Support University‚Äźbased research involving issues of politics and public policy

For more information, refer to the Ph.D. program handbook.

Application Process

Admission to the doctoral program is competitive; a limited number of applicants are accepted each year. To be considered, all application must be complete and submitted through the University's Graduate School.

Application Deadlines

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

  • Fall admission with funding consideration: The application deadline is Feb. 15 for admission with funding consideration in the following fall semester. Please download the Graduate Assistantship application.
  • Regular fall admission deadline (with no request for funding): April 15
  • Spring admission: The application deadline is Nov. 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 (six 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.

Related Degrees and Programs

Contact College of Liberal Arts

Phone (775) 784-6155
Fax (775) 784-1478
Location Ansari Business Building
Address University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, NV 89557

Take the next step...