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About the Program

Penn State’s program encourages the extensive interaction between students and faculty that leads to success.

  • Our small class size (about 10 students a year) and low student-faculty ration allow faculty to devote considerable time to mentoring graduate students.
  • Students have the opportunity to work closely with faculty on major research projects, often leading to co-authored articles with faculty, and cutting-edge student research projects that attracts external grant funding.
  • Our cohesive graduate community encourages collaboration among the graduate students, helping our students to excel.


Penn State graduate students are highly visible in the discipline.

  • In 2010-2011, our graduate students won awards for the best dissertation in State and Local Politics, the best graduate student paper in the Law and Court Section, the Best Comparative Public Policy Paper from the Public Policy section of APSA, and the best dissertation in the Comparative Study of Democracy.
  • In the last couple of years, our students have published articles in Political Analysis,American Politics Research, Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, European Journal of Political Research, Foreign Policy Analysis, and World Development.
  • In addition in the last three years, our graduate students have won 6 National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grants and three National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.


Penn State’s  program provides you with access to top-notch methodology instruction and an extensive interdisciplinary community.

  • We offer extensive offerings in methodology including game theory, time series models, pooled cross section-time series models, event data analysis, robustness models, exploratory models and machine learning.
  • Penn State's new IGERT in Big Data Social Science provides fellowships and training in dealing with the challenges of massive sources of data in political science research.
  • The Quantitative Social Science Initiative (QuaSSI) provides fellowships for methodological study and brings leading methodologists to the Penn State campus.
  • Graduate students are able to design programs of study that benefit from interdisciplinary research conducted at Penn State.  Recent students have benefited from coursework in Sociology (with strengths in social movements and demography), Geography (with top-notch GIS training) as well as connections with on-campus interdisciplinary centers and institutes such as the Institutes of Energy and the Environment, the Rock Ethics Institute, and the Social and Life Sciences Imaging Center.
  • Penn State Political Science has a number of dual degree programs and minor certificates including dual degrees in Asian Studies, African Studies, and Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and minors or certificates available in Survey Research Methods, Teaching with Technology, and Computational Science.
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