Political Science

Department Head

Professor David A. Yalof


Arat, Best, Boyer, Herbst, Herrnson, Sterling-Folker, Scruggs, Sylvester, Yalof, Zirakzadeh

Full Professor in Residence


Associate Professors

Bayulgen, Dudas, Dyson, Gordon, Hertel, Hettinger, Kelly, Ladewig, Lefebvre, Morrell, Nunnally, Pressman, Richards, Simien, Singer, Venator, Waddell

Associate Professor in Residence


Assistant Professors

Cai, Hayes, Herrera, Kashwan, Lee, Moscardelli, Newman

Assistant Professors in Residence

Bergendahl, cole, Ginsberg

Admission to the Ph.D. Degree Program

Applicants who are seeking a Ph.D. in Political Science should apply directly to the Ph.D. Program even if they do not possess a Master’s Degree. Students who are admitted directly into the Ph.D. program in Political Science will automatically receive their M.A. after they pass their first Ph.D. Exam.

Applicants for graduate study in Political Science must apply to and be accepted by both the Graduate School of the University of Connecticut and the Department of Political Science.

In order to apply to the Graduate School, applicants need to apply online via the UConn Graduate School website http://grad.uconn.edu/prospective-students/applying-to-uconn/. All application materials, including supporting documents, must be received by November 15th. Applications will not be processed until the application fee is paid. The Graduate School can, when 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.

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 and requests the test scores from the verbal and quantitative sections of the Graduate Record examinations. 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. 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 November 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. Further information about admission to the Ph.D. Program can be obtained by contacting the POLS Graduate Program Coordinator, Christine Lounsbury (christine.lounsbury@uconn.edu).

Departmental Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree

The Ph.D. program involves two distinct stages. First, doctoral students prepare for their Ph.D. Exams or comprehensive written exams in two subfields (American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Theory, or Public Law) of Political Science. In order to take the Ph.D. Exams, students must fill out a form with signatures of approval from their Major Advisor, the chairs of their two subfields, and the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). The Ph.D. Exams cover broad subfields, not just the content of specific, individual courses. Each subfield has its own set of recommended courses and options for students and only the subfield committee can waive a subfield requirement or approve substitutes for required courses.

In addition subfield courses, all doctoral students are required to take the following sequence of methods courses:

  1. POLS 5600, Nature of Political Inquiry (Fall Semester, 1st year)
  2. POLS 5605, Intermediate Seminar in Quantitative Methods (Spring Semester, 1st year)
  3. POLS 5615, Seminar in Qualitative Methods (Fall Semester, 2nd year)
  4. One Advanced Methods Course (to be determined in consultation with the student’s major advisor and taken Spring Semester, 2nd year)

After passing both subfield Ph.D. Exams, students devote themselves to researching and writing a dissertation.

Special Facilities

The Political Science Department hosts or is affiliated with a number of projects, centers and institutes around the University. They include the Journal of Human Rights, the GlobalED Project, the CIRI Human Rights Data Project, the Comparative Welfare Entitlements Dataset II, the Human Rights Institute, and the Africana Studies Institute. Students interested in Latin America and the Caribbean and in comparative politics will find El Instituto: Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies a valuable resource while those interested in women, gender, and sexuality studies may wish to obtain the WGSS Feminist Studies Graduate Certificate.

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