We invite applications broadly from prospective students with a diversity of backgrounds and interests. UC Santa Barbara and the Department of Political Science are deeply committed to a diverse graduate student body and to developing scholarship, leadership, and professionalism of graduate students from all, including underrepresented minorities, first generation college students, students who identify as LGBTQ, women, veterans, disabled students, and other students from non-traditional backgrounds. Read about Diversity in our program here. We admit applicants coming directly from undergraduate study, those with some work experience, and those with masters degrees or other post-graduate training.
Our Ph.D. program combines rigorous training in research methods, breadth of coursework across the discipline, and flexibility through a comparatively large set of options for qualifying fields. We offer training and qualification in traditional areas of the discipline, namely American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Theory. We also offer training and qualification in Environmental Politics, the Politics of Identity, and in special cases another subfield.
We welcome applications from highly-qualified prospective students in all areas. If you are considering applying, please feel free to contact the department by email:
Professor Heather Stoll
Co-Director of Graduate Admissions
Professor Bruce Bimber
Co-Director of Graduate Admissions
We employ a holistic approach to reviewing graduate applications. We consider all relevant aspects of applicants’ backgrounds and preparation for doctoral studies, without assigning a fixed weight to any particular aspect. We assess applicants in five areas:
- Academic Preparation (grades, academic honors or awards, relevant undergraduate degree, relevant language skills, advanced degree, type of undergraduate institution)
- Research Experience (experience with original research outside of the classroom, relevant technical skills, clarity about research interests)
- Perseverance (success at overcoming obstacles, especially on-going or persistent ones, long-range drive to accomplish goals beyond the PhD)
- Leadership and Outreach (involvement and leadership in academic or extramural groups, engagement with diversity, equity, and inclusion, experiences with overcoming systematic challenges or potential to serve as exemplar to others)
- Self-Knowledge (understanding of strengths and weaknesses, efforts at self-development, positive attitude about completing goals, identification of a support network including professional mentors)
Applicants should address these areas in their written application materials. Letters of recommendation should also address these aspects of the applicant’s background and experiences.
Application Materials & Deadlines
The APPLICATION DEADLINE is December 14 for the following September. Students are only admitted into the program for Fall Quarter.
All application materials should be submitted via the Graduate Division's Online Application. For department specific information and a link to the online information, please visit the Political Science section of the Graduate Division webpage.
The department requests the following materials (submitted online):
- Transcripts from each college and graduate program attended: Please upload unofficial transcripts online. Originals are sent directly to the Graduate Division, only if admitted and attending.
- Three letters of recommendations
- Statement of Purpose, Personal Achievements/Contributions, and Resume or CV.
- One writing sample
- TOEFL score for international students
For more information, on applying to a graduate program at UCSB, please visit the Graduate Division's application webpage.
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