I.  General Questions


How important are GPA and GRE scores?

Lower than average scores do not necessarily decrease your chances of being admitted.  The admissions committee tries to look at all aspects of a students record -- not just grades and scores but also your research goals, experience, and a whole host of considerations.  Your statement of purpose and letter of recommendation are thus very important. 


Do I need an undergraduate degree in political science or international relations in order to be admitted to the Ph.D. program?

No, a good proportion of the students we admit each year did their undergraduate work in other fields.  For example, of the students we admitted for 2007, a little under 20 percent had degrees from other fields, including Anthropology, History, Mathematics, Psychology, and Women’s Studies.


Do you require an M.A. degree for admission to the Ph.D. program?  Do most of your students have further education beyond the B.A.?  

We do not require that students have an M.A. degree before entering the Ph.D. program. 

Many of our new students come right out of undergraduate programs, but perhaps a third to one-half will have already earned master's degrees at other universities. 


Is an interview required for admission?


However, if you are given an offer of admission, you will be invited to a “Visiting Day” before you will need to make your decision on whether to enroll.  This visit gives you a chance to familiarize yourself with the campus and program.


Do you offer an M.A. in political science?

Students may earn an M.A. degree on the way to earning the Ph.D., but we do not admit students who intend to complete their studies with an M.A..


Can I enroll part time in the Ph.D. program?  Can I take classes during the evening to fulfill your degree requirements?

No, the Ph.D. program requires a full-time commitment to classes prior to advancement to Ph.D. candidacy (generally at the end of the student’s third year in the Ph.D. program).  Most of our graduate classes are offered during the work day. 


I have an M.A. degree already.  Can I transfer some of these credits to your program?

The department allows students who have an M.A. degree to transfer up to six courses for credit.  Final decisions on transfer credit will be made only after you have been admitted to the program.


II.  Financial Aid


What additional financial support is available to students after they enroll in UCI? 

During the course of the academic year the Department of Political Science and/or the School of Social Sciences occasionally hold competitions for fellowship quarters, which allow students to receive a stipend without needing to serve as a T.A..  In the past, separate competitions have been held for students who have not yet advanced to candidacy and for those working on their dissertations.


The Department also makes funds available for summer stipends, on a competitive basis.  The School of Social Sciences and the department provide funding support for travel to conferences.


In addition, many of our students have received grants and awards from other units in the school or on campus.  In the past academic year, our students have received grants from the Center for the Study of Democracy, The Center for Global Peace and Security, The Center for Asian Studies, the Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics and Morality, the Center for Citizen Peacebuilding, and others.


Do you offer Research Assistant (RA) positions?

RA appointments are made directly by faculty with research grants.  Generally, faculty make these to students who they advise or who they have worked with in the past.  As a result, relatively few RA appointments are made to first year students.


How do students typically support themselves over the summer? 

The Department holds a competition each spring to support summer research projects.  In addition, for students remaining on campus, summer classes provide some opportunities to serve as teaching assistants or graders.  Once students advance to Ph.D. candidacy, graduate students are eligible to teach summer session courses as instructors, on a competitive basis.


What duties will I perform as a Teaching Assistant?  What is a “half-time” T.A.?

Your T.A. duties entail working with the professor in charge of the class to which are assigned, including holding discussion sections and/or office hours, grading papers, and other duties assigned by the professor.  T.A.s are expected to work approximately 20 hours per week.


III.  Other


What is the code for UCI’s Department of Political Science?

UC Irvine’s Institution Code is 4859. 

The department code for Political Science is 1902 for the GRE and 89 for the TOEFL.


Where do I go for more information?

Other links on this page contain more information on the Political Science program.  If you have specific questions about the program, contact the department’s Graduate Admissions Director, Professor Simone Chambers at sechambe@uci.edu or (949) 824-3187.


If you have further questions about admissions or financial aid, contact the Director of Graduate Affairs in the School of Social Sciences, John Sommerhauser at john.sommerhauser@uci.edu or (949) 824-4074.


More information about the University, the admissions process, financial aid, and more, can be found on the “Prospective Student” page on the Office of Graduate Studies website, at UCI Graduate Division


How can I apply on-line?

The application is available at Online Application


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