Graduate Program Overview
Our graduate program is small and very selective; each year’s entering cohort is approximately 15 students. We admit students for the Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science; we welcome applicants with a bachelor’s degree, as well as applicants who already hold master’s or professional degrees.
The focus of our graduate program is to train students for professional careers in political science, usually in academic institutions but also (and increasingly) in government agencies and non-governmental organizations. In our graduate program, we emphasize the acquisition of substantive knowledge, methodological skills and communication tools that will allow the student to conduct cutting-edge research and to teach effectively.
We aim to train political scientists with competence in the discipline as a whole, as well as expertise in specific subfields. To this end, we offer our students small classes on wide array of substantive and methodological topics. Our graduate students also receive a great deal of individual attention from faculty members, with many opportunities for collaboration and co-authorship. Our students also gain substantial experience in teaching, both through teaching assistantships and via the opportunity to teach one’s own course. This experience, coupled with the research training we offer, is essential for success in careers in university-level teaching and scholarly research. Ph.D. candidates who elect to work in nonacademic settings, including think tanks and government agencies, also find that our program’s combination of substantive training and methodological competency is invaluable.
Our admissions committee aims to select students for admission who will thrive at UNC. To that end, we consider not only each applicant’s academic credentials (GRE scores, GPA, course transcripts, letters of recommendation), but also his or her research interests, writing skills, and past research experience. We seek students who are not only highly motivated, but also whose interests overlap with those of our faculty. We give careful attention to each applicant, with an aim of making a holistic assessment.