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The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Political Science and International Affairs is administered jointly by the Departments of Political Science and International Affairs and is designed for students who wish to study politics in its many forms, but who also want to develop the analytic skills necessary to achieve mastery in their areas of study. The degree offers the opportunity to specialize in international relations, comparative politics, American politics, or political theory (including methodology).

The faculty, one of the most productive in the nation, has won numerous awards for research and teaching. The Departments of Political Science and International Affairs boast 40 tenured or tenure-track faculty members who specialize in the fields of American politics, law and courts, political theory, international relations and comparative politics.

Admission Requirements & Deadlines

Our graduate programs admit for fall semester only.

Applications must be complete and ready for review in the Departmental Graduate Office by February 15th of the year for which you are applying.

FALL 2019 DEADLINES
December 1st: Application deadline for those wishing to receive priority consideration for graduate assistantships.

February 15: Application deadline for ALL Fall 2019 admissions.

Please read and follow these instructions carefully to avoid delay in our handling of your application. Both the Graduate School and the Department handle each application, and it hinders rather than expedites the process to send incorrect or unnecessary documents to either address.

For further information about graduate programs or for answers to questions about your application, please email the Graduate Advisor at meganjs@uga.edu.

How to Apply

PART I: APPLY TO THE UGA GRADUATE SCHOOL 

For detailed information, please see the Graduate School Admissions Requirements.

1. Online Graduate School Application and fee ($75 domestic / $100 international)

2. One unofficial transcript from each institution of higher education attended, except the University of Georgia. University of Georgia transcripts are on file. You may upload transcripts through the application portal or mail them directly to the UGA Graduate School.

3. Official GRE general test score report. The UGA institutional code for ETS reporting is 5813.  No departmental code is required.

4. International applicants please see additional requirements.

Send these materials to:
Office of Graduate Admissions
The University of Georgia Graduate School
Terrell Hall
210 South Jackson Street
Athens, Georgia 30602
Fax: (706) 425-3095

PART II: APPLY TO THE DEPARTMENTAL GRADUATE OFFICE

1. Personal Objective Form

2. Statement of Purpose*

3. Curriculum vitae*

*If you prefer, you may upload and submit your Statement of Purpose and Curriculum vita when you submit your online application through the UGA Graduate School.

4. Three academic letters of recommendation.
The most convenient way for recommenders to submit letters of recommendation is through the online application process. List the names and email addresses of your recommenders on the online application. They will be sent a link to access a secure page where they can submit your recommendation online. If your recommender prefers to send the letter as a hard copy or an email, it should be sent directly to the Departmental Graduate Office.

5. Graduate Assistantship Application, if desired.

6. PhD and Fast-Track PhD applicants only: Submit a copy of an original research paper as a writing sample.

Send these materials to:
Graduate Office
Attn: Megan Morgan
180D Baldwin Hall
The University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602
Fax: (706) 542-4421

Departmental application materials can also be emailed as attachments to polgrad@uga.edu.

For more information about the statement of purpose and letters of recommendation, see FAQs below.

Fast-Track PhD

The Fast Track PhD is an option for highly qualified students who have or who will have obtained a bachelor’s degree and allows for direct entry into the PhD, bypassing the MA degree altogether. It is offered to a very limited number of strongly qualified individuals. They are expected to complete the PhD program in four years and are eligible for a four-year assistantship that will fund their studies for the duration of their graduate career.

One’s entire file is examined and provides the basis from which the ultimate decision regarding admission to the Fast Track will be made. Direct admission to the PhD program is restricted to only the most competitive applicants. If students meet the criteria for the Fast Track and are not admitted, they will be automatically considered for the MA program. Upon completion of the MA, students can request admission to the PhD program.

If you are interested in the Fast Track option, you should note this in your personal statement as well as on your Personal Objective Form.

Please see the Fast Track PhD Timetable for more information.

Scholarship & Assistantship Opportunities

The Graduate Program in Political Science and International Affairs is able to offer a number of graduate assistantships to qualified applicants. Graduate assistantships include a full tuition waiver (students are still expected to pay fees), stipend, and a work commitment as either a teaching or research assistant.

You must apply for all assistantships through the Departmental Graduate Office.  Do not contact the Graduate School about financial support. Most graduate assistantships come from departmental funding sources (SPIA Assistantships). Students who receive support from the Graduate School must be nominated by their department and go through a competitive process.

To apply, fill out the Graduate Assistantship Application and submit with the rest of your program application.  All applicants who submit an assistantship application will be considered for funding.

Applicants whose files are complete by December 1st are guaranteed consideration for the first round of awards. Students not receiving support during the first round are eligible in subsequent rounds if funding is still available. Awards follow the following timetable:

February
Exceptionally well-qualified applicants are nominated for a limited number of Graduate School Assistantships

Early March
Winners of Graduate School Assistantships are notified.

Mid-March
The first round of SPIA graduate assistantships are awarded to students.

Mid-April
If there are SPIA graduate assistantships available after the first round, a second round of offers is made.

May
Awarding of SPIA assistantships continues until all funds are exhausted.

We are also be able to nominate a limited number of applicants for a Regent’s Out of State Tuition Waiver (ROOSTW), which waives the out of state portion of a student’s tuition.  Out-of-state and international applicants are automatically considered for these waivers when they apply to the program.

 

Curriculum Overview & Program Timetables

The PhD in Political Science and International Affairs is a degree program culminating in a doctoral dissertation.  Students are required to declare a major field (minimum five courses) and minor field (minimum three courses) and must also take a course in a major field other than the fields in which they are sitting for exams, to be chosen in consultation with the Graduate Coordinator.  Students also complete a four-course methodology sequence.  After all required coursework has been successfully completed, students sit for comprehensive exams in both their major and minor fields.  A dissertation prospectus and doctoral dissertation must be successfully defended to complete the degree.

DEGREE PROGRAM TIMETABLES

Click the link below to view the degree timetable for the PhD program which best suits you.

Degree Timetable for PhD Students with MA in Political Science and International Affairs from UGA

Degree Timetable for PhD Students with MA from Another Institution

Degree Timetable for Fast-Track PhD Students

Placement

One of the key goals of the PhD program is to facilitate our students’ success in obtaining a job upon the completion of their degree. While many of our students pursue tenure-track jobs at universities, we also have a strong record of placing graduates in the public and private sectors as data analysts.

Recent graduates have obtained tenure-track positions at universities such as North Dakota State University, Eastern Kentucky University, University of Idaho, Auburn University, Texas Tech University, and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. Graduates have also taken prestigious post-doctoral fellowships through Duke University and through the American Political Science Association Congressional Fellows Program. Students have also found success in the private sector, working as data analysts for companies such as Luckie Advertising and Facebook.

Based on a survey of recent graduates, 85% of graduates were employed full-time after graduating, 7% were in post-doctoral positions, and 7% were self-employed.

Fields of Study

For purpose of graduate instruction in Political Science and International Affairs, the curriculum is divided into fields.

Four major fields and eight minor fields are currently available within our program.

At the doctoral level, PhD students must prepare for both written and oral examinations in one major field and one minor field.

MAJORS

American Politics

A large proportion of research in political science draws its data from the American context.

Comprehensive examinations in this field will be constructed so that questions will require knowledge of two American Politics subfields: Government Institutions and Political Behavior. Students will be held accountable for basic works, as well as journal articles and major books published during the previous five years.

Students majoring or minoring in American Politics are required to take a core seminar: POLS 6100, Pre-Seminar in American Politics. Additional courses should be selected in consultation with the student’s major professor and advisory committee.

Comparative Politics

Using the comparative method, students working in this field examine such phenomena as behavioral patterns and systems, governmental institutions and structures, policy processes and outcomes, and political goals and strategies. These phenomena are considered both within and across national systems. Nation-states are taken as the primary, but not exclusive, units of analysis.

Students preparing for comprehensive examinations in this field should expect some general questions that deal with the comparative approach to politics: its evolution, its major practitioners, its leading conceptual frameworks or paradigms, its utility, its contributions, difficulties or problems in its application, and ways of surmounting these problems.

Students majoring or minoring in Comparative Politics are required to take a core seminar: INTL 6300, Comparative Analysis and Method. Additional courses should be selected in consultation with the student’s major professor and advisory committee.

International Relations

The field of International Relations focuses on the important agents and structures of international politics. These include nation-states, intergovernmental organizations, and non-governmental organizations. Studies in this field examine the preferences and strategies of these actors, as well as the nature of the economic, military, political, and social interactions among them.

In preparing for the comprehensive examination in International Relations, the student should seek to understand the major actors on the international scene, their policies, and the sources of cooperation and conflict. Comprehensive exam questions will test the student’s general knowledge of these matters, as well as proficiency in selected subfields.

Students majoring or minoring in International Relations are required to take the core seminar: INTL 6200, Pre-Seminar in International Relations. In addition, at least one course is recommended from each of the following subfields: International Cooperation, International Conflict, International Political Economy, and Foreign Policy. Additional courses should be selected in consultation with the student’s major professor and advisory committee.

Political Theory

This field encompasses both normative political philosophy and empirically oriented theory. Its leading questions concern the ends or purposes of political action, the nature of a good or just political order, the proper relationship of individuals to their political communities, and the appropriate criteria for evaluating and designing voting systems. Empirically oriented theory seeks to explain regularities in politics such as how and when political actors come into conflict or behave cooperatively.

There is no pre-seminar in this field, but rather a series of distinct courses. A major in Political Theory involves a combination of the three subfields below. A minor in Political Theory is built around the first two subfields. There is no major in Formal Theory, but a distinct minor is available. Students in Political Theory often take related courses in other departments, such as Philosophy and Economics.

History of Political Philosophy. In this subfield, it will be the student’s responsibility to become familiar with the most influential works of major political philosophers from Plato to Rawls, and to understand the importance of these works in the development of political thought. Attention is given to the distinctive ways that problems are resolved and concepts defined during the history of political philosophy.

Normative Theory. In this subfield, students address fundamental issues of justice, fairness, political legitimacy, and individual rights. Study in this subfield develops the student’s ability to assess the standard approaches and positions associated with leading political philosophers.

Formal Political Theory. Students will be expected to understand formal political theory, particularly rational choice theory, and applications that contemporary political scientists have developed to explain political behavior and to account for individual decisions and collective outcomes. Rational choice theory in general, social choice theory, game theory, and political economy are among the approaches that are relevant to this subfield.

MINORS

Because minor fields consist of a minimum of three courses, students have great flexibility regarding which courses can be approved for a minor. In fact, courses from several departments can often be included in a minor. Students’ choices must be approved by the Graduate Coordinator.

Methodology Minor
This minor is designed by individual students subject to the approval of their advisory committee and the Graduate Coordinator. In addition to POLS 8501, students complete six more hours in advanced work such as directed readings and topics courses in Political Science and seminars in other departments such as Economics and Statistics. Qualitative Methods (INTL 8500) may count towards a methods minor. Additionally, one formal theory course may count towards a methods minor. Students may choose from POLS 8000 (Introduction to Rational Choice), POLS 8020 (Game Theory/Formal Analysis), or POLS 8030 (Spatial Voting Theory) if they would like to use this option.

Theory Minor
Students will be expected to understand formal political theory, particularly rational choice theory, and applications that contemporary political scientists have developed to explain political behavior and to account for individual decisions and collective outcomes. Rational choice theory in general, social choice theory, game theory, and political economy are among the approaches that are relevant to this subfield. In addition to  SPIA courses, students minoring in Formal Theory may take approved courses in other UGA departments, particularly Economics and Philosophy.

Normative Theory Minor: A total of 3 classes in Theory, 1 of which may be from the Formal Theory offerings.

Formal Theory Minor: A total of 3 classes in Theory, 1 of which may be from the Normative Theory offerings OR a total of 2 classes in Formal Theory and either POLS 8501 (MLE), POLS 8505 (Scaling), or POLS 8510 (Bayes).

Public Administration Minor
This minor is offered through SPIA’s Department of Public Administration and Policy (PADP). This required field involves intensive coursework in issues of and approaches to the general field of Public Administration, as well as coverage of major subfields, such as public personnel administration, public financial administration, and organization theory. Students should select courses for the minor in consultation with the Graduate Coordinator and relevant faculty in the department. PADP does not give a minor exam; students wishing to minor in this area are required to take the full comprehensive major exam.

Public Policy Minor
This minor is offered through SPIA’s Department of Public Administration and Policy (PADP). This required field involves intensive course work in issues of and approaches to the study of public policy generally, as well as in substantive policy areas that are of interest to the student. Students should select courses for the minor in consultation with the Graduate Coordinator and relevant faculty in the department. PADP does not give a minor exam; students wishing to minor in this area are required to take the full comprehensive major exam.

FAQs

If you have a question that is not answered below, please contact the Departmental Graduate Office at polgrad@uga.edu or (706) 542-2948.

  • What is the Fast-Track PhD?

The Fast-Track PhD is an option for highly qualified students who have or who will have obtained a bachelor’s degree and allows for direct entry into the PhD, bypassing the MA degree altogether. It is offered to a limited number of strongly qualified individuals. They are expected to complete the PhD program in four years and are eligible for a four-year assistantship that will fund their studies for the duration of their graduate career. One’s entire file is examined and provides the basis from which the ultimate decision regarding admission to the Fast Track will be made. Direct admission to the PhD program is restricted to only the most competitive applicants. If students meet the criteria for the Fast Track and are not admitted, they will be automatically considered for the MA program. Upon completion of the MA, students can request admission to the PhD program. If you are interested in the Fast Track option, you should note this in your personal statement as well as on your Personal Objective Form.

  • How Do I Know Whether to Apply for the MA or the PhD?

Students who will have been awarded a master’s degree in political science, international affairs, or a related field by the fall in which they plan to enroll should apply directly to the PhD program. Those who will have completed a bachelor’s degree should apply for the MA program, unless they qualify to apply for the Fast Track PhD (see next question for details), in which case they can apply for either. Those who will have completed professional degrees (J.D., M.B.A., M.Ed., etc) should apply to the PhD program. If there is any concern about your qualifications given the nature of the professional degree, the Graduate Committee may require you to complete the MA before applying to the PhD program.

  • Are there minimum requirements for GPA, GRE, etc?

Our program conducts holistic application review and considers the applicant’s entire application when considering offers of admission. As such, there are no minimum requirements set by the program. However, the Graduate School at the University of Georgia has the following minimum requirements:

GPA
The minimum undergraduate GPA standard for admission to the Graduate School at the University of Georgia for applicants who do not have a prior graduate degree is 3.0.

GRE
The GRE is required and cannot be waived, but the Graduate School does not set a minimum score.

TOEFL
The minimum TOEFL score for admission to the Graduate School at the University of Georgia is 80, with no subscore lower than 20.  It is highly recommended that international applicants have a combined score of at least 90.

IELTS
The minimum IELTS score for admission to the Graduate School at the University of Georgia is 6.5 overall band score with no lower than 6.0 on any band.

  • What should I include in my statement of purpose?

We are most concerned with your academic background, intellectual interests and professional plans. Please do not include material that is not relevant to your academic background or interest.

  • What kind of recommendation letters should I include in my application?

We require letters from professors who have taught you. Their letters should describe your academic work in detail so that the Graduate Committee can be assured that you can complete a rigorous graduate program. If you have done significant independent research, such as a thesis, the committee normally expects a letter from the professor who supervised that work. Letters from elected officials or “personal” references tend to be less valuable in determining your academic capability.  Letters from work supervisors are of little value unless your job entailed research.  In addition, letters from counselors, student affairs officers, and other non-faculty personnel on your campus generally provide little useful information for the committee. For those applicants who have been out of the academic setting for some time, getting letters from prior instructors can be difficult, but should be pursued nonetheless.  In this instance, the committee will grant some flexibility, but once again, references must be able to address your academic and related abilities to some degree.

  • How are admissions decisions made?

The six-member Graduate Committee considers your entire application file:  previous academic record, GRE scores, personal statement, CV, and recommendations. There are no “automatic” acceptance or refusal factors. The committee’s main concern is the likelihood that you will do well, not only in the graduate program you are applying for, but as a scholar and teacher once that degree is in hand. We also consider whether your interests are a good “fit” for the faculty, courses, and research centers available in the School of Public and International Affairs.

  • When will I hear whether I’ve been accepted for admission?

Once your file is complete, it will be considered at the next Graduate Committee meeting. The committee will discuss and vote on your application and then send its recommendation to the Graduate School, which makes the official decision on your application. The Graduate School normally contacts you 1-2 weeks after the Departmental recommendation is submitted.

  • Can I attend the program on a part-time basis?

Although our graduate programs are not designed for part-time students, it is possible for students to take less than a full course load (three courses per semester), thus extending their time in the program.

  • Are graduate courses offered online or off campus?

All graduate courses are held on the UGA campus in Athens, GA.  No online or distance learning options are available.

  • Are classes offered in the evenings or on weekends for working professionals?

The graduate course schedule is not created for working students.  Depending on the semester, there may be a course or two offered on a weekday evening, but this is not guaranteed.  There are no courses offered on weekends.

  • What is the cost of tuition?

As of Fall 2018, the current cost of graduate study per credit hour is $363 (in-state) and $1,029 (out-of-state). Fees are currently assessed at $1,139 per semester. 9 credits (3 courses) is considered a full-time course load for graduate students. A full-time student would thus pay $4,406 (in-state) or $10,400 (out-of-state) per semester. More information about current tuition rates can be found on the Bursar’s website.