Graduate Program


The Department of Political Science offers flexible programs of graduate study leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree. Our aim is to provide the highest quality graduate training for students who go on to academic teaching and research positions, and to non-academic careers in the public and private sectors. Our department's faculty placed eighth in the nation in the Faculty Scholarly Production Index ranking. Our graduate students benefit from an active, engaged faculty, extensive methodological training, a focus in the department on inter-disciplinary approaches, and close work with a faculty mentor under our apprenticeship model of faculty-student relationships. Graduate students are involved in all areas of faculty research.

Information about our graduate program, facilities, and financial aid is detailed in our comprehensive handbook, Graduate Study in Political Science.

To see the profiles of current students enrolled in our graduate program, visit the department "People" webpage. To learn more about our students currently seeking academic positions, please visit the "On the Market" webpage

Alumni and current students are invited to connect with one another through the MA/PhD LinkedIn group.

Graduate Program Advisor

Professor Paige Digeser

Admission Committee Chair

Professor Andrew Norris

Graduate Program Coordinator

Carol Conley

Placement Advisor

Professor M. Kent Jennings


Ellison Hall 3835

Contact Info
Phone: 805-893-3626
Fax: 805-893-3309

Hours: M-F 8am-12pm, 1-4:45pm

Graduate Program Profile

2013 Program Profile (pdf)


Doctoral students are trained in primary and secondary fields, in addition to methods.  The primary field is chosen from the department's four traditional sub-fields (American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations , and Political Theory ) and is completed via coursework and a written comprehensive exam.  The second field may be chosen from the four main sub-fields, or from the department's research foci (the Politics of Identity, and the Politics of the Environment), or may be defined by the student and approved according to departmental policy.  The second field is completed via coursework and by either a written comprehensive exam or a field paper. 

The Graduate Seminar Schedule is posted on-line at the beginning of each academic year. Changes to the schedule may occur each quarter. For a description of these courses, please see the UCSB catalog.

In addition to the scheduled graduate seminars, each year the Political Science Department hosts lectures and presentations on current research and timely topics by noted experts in the field. See Events for more information.

Approximately 70 students are enrolled in the Department's graduate program. This ratio of four students per professor permits extensive contact and mentoring by the faculty. The graduate program in Political Science also occasionally admits non-degree students who meet all the regular admission requirements but prefer not to work toward an advanced degree. Our students come from all over the world.