Admissions and Aid

We invite students from a broad range of academic backgrounds to apply to the Ph.D. and M.A. programs. As a student of political science at the Graduate Center, you will join a dynamic community of scholars dedicated to gaining, expanding, and sharing knowledge about the political trends of societies, governments, and institutions.

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Admissions Overview

Application Deadlines:

December 15 for Ph.D. and priority deadline for M.A.

April 15 final deadline for M.A.

Please note we do not accept late applications. 

Applicants for the Ph.D and M.A. program in Political Science must have completed a minimum of 24 credits of undergraduate work in acceptable courses in the disciplines of Political Science, History, Economics, Sociology, or in related fields.

Please note that applicants for Fall 2023 will not be required to take the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). This requirement will be suspended in light of the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 public health crisis on GRE testing.

Applications for the Ph.D. and M.A. program in Political Science comprise the following elements; see below (“Helpful tips for applicants”) for guidance in preparing your application:

  • A statement of purpose that is between 2 and 5 pages long;

  • A writing sample (or samples, although only one writing sample is required for submission);

  • Academic transcripts from each college or university that you attended (even if you did not complete a degree or did not enroll in courses in Political Science);

  • At least two academic letters of recommendation.

In addition to these items, international students must present evidence of sufficient competence in the English language.

  • Applicants that completed a post-secondary degree in a non-English speaking country are required to submit scores from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

  • Applicants that completed a post-secondary degree in one of the countries listed here are not required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. Here, evidence of degree completion (e.g. academic transcripts) is sufficient to meet the English language requirement.

Learn more about requirements for International Students »

Applicants are encouraged to review the FAQ on the Graduate Center’s admissions site. There, you will find useful guidance regarding academic transcripts and academic letters of recommendation. Regarding the latter, please make sure that you provide two academic references from professors who can attest to your scholarly ability and performance.

Your statement of purpose should discuss your research interests and the work you would like to do as a political scientist. We are interested in how you view yourself as a future professional. Be sure to edit your statement of purpose carefully, such that it demonstrates your ability to write well and communicate ideas persuasively. Further guidance for writing a successful statement of purpose is available here.

We will not review incomplete applications. Make sure that all supporting materials are received by the deadline in order to ensure that your application is reviewed.

FYI, the Ph.D. program accepts a maximum of 21 credits from other graduate programs. The M.A. program accepts a maximum of 12 credits from other graduate programs. Transfer credit evaluations are made during the student’s first semester.

Fellowships and Financial Aid

Every applicant to The Graduate Center’s doctoral programs will automatically be considered for five-year institutional funding packages. The aid we offer — including fellowships, tuition awards, and assistantships — is based on merit. 

Learn more about institutional aid for doctoral students »

Federal aid for doctoral students includes:

New York State also provides the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) for eligible graduate students who are New York State residents.

Additional funding may be available to incoming students from underrepresented populations through offerings from the Office of Educational Opportunity and Diversity, including several fellowships and the CUNY Pipeline Program for undergraduate CUNY students.

Learn more about funding opportunities from OEOD »

Tuition and Fees

Tuition rates for doctoral programs at The Graduate Center are based on a student's “level,” which is determined by a combination of the number of graduate credits completed (including, in the case of transfer students, credits accepted by the student's degree program and the Registrar) and specific academic accomplishments. 

The fee structure is also affected by a student’s resident status.

See current doctoral tuition rates »

Each student will be billed for a Graduate School student activities fee, a University student senate fee, a University consolidated services fee and a technology fee. These fees are not refundable.

Additional Information

Anyone wishing to enroll in a Political Science course as a non-matriculated student must have transcripts documenting at least three undergraduate courses in Political Science, with excellent grades. Prospective applicants who meet this requirement should email the Executive Officer or Deputy Executive Officer two weeks before the start of classes (no earlier, please) to schedule an appointment to complete the necessary forms. Click here for more information.

Registration for non-matriculated students is subject to the availability of places in requested courses and the approval of the Executive Officer. There is a $75 application fee. Non-matriculated students are not permitted to accumulate a total of more than two courses or eight credits (whichever is less) at The Graduate Center.

Students applying for readmission to the Political Science program should consult the Graduate Center Registrar’s Readmissions information. All applications for readmission will be reviewed by the Political Science Program’s Admissions Committee.

Homo Politcus newsletter - Fall 2021 cover


Homo Politicus

Read our department newsletter Homo Politicus which shares the recent achievements of our faculty, students, and graduates, to celebrate those successes, and to showcase the talent in our program.

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