Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

Why Study at Penn State?

Why Study at Penn State?

Why Study at Penn State?


Our graduate students receive excellent training that prepares them well for careers as political scientists. Our program emphasizes rigorous training in research methods and statistical analysis, with an eye toward producing excellent researchers.

Our program’s excellence was recently recognized in a 2019 study ranking our faculty #5 in research impact, #12 in top publications, and #17 in citations per capita. We are also ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News and World Report for International Relations, Comparative Politics, and Methodology.

Our Graduates Excel in a Variety of Careers

In contrast to programs that focus on training students primarily for academic careers, we are dedicated to preparing our students for the career of their choice, whether inside or outside of academia. Our alumni hold positions in academia, government, nonprofits and industry.

Excellent Financial Support

Doctoral students typically receive an award of five years of funding. We work to ensure that the assignments vary so that all students will have the opportunity to become better researchers and better teachers. In a typical semester, about 30 percent of our students are Teaching Assistants, while 40 percent are RAs, and 30 percent have fellowships with no responsibilities.

Most students are funded during the summers, and several competitive programs provide grants to support student travel, data collection, and writing the dissertation. More details can be found on our funding for graduate students page.

Research Involvement for All Students

In the first two years of study, most students are already involved in collaborative research projects with faculty and other graduate students. Many students write publishable M.A. papers. This success is due to our excellent student-faculty ratio, early professionalization, and financial support.

Dual-Title Ph.D. Options

Many of our graduate students pursue a dual-title Ph.D., providing them with a degree in two disciplines at graduation and broadening their career pathways. We offer dual degree Ph.D. programs in African Studies, African American and Diaspora Studies, Asian Studies, Social Data Analytics, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Ready to apply?

All applications are submitted via the online Penn State GRADS portal. We admit students for the Fall term only, and we do not admit students seeking to complete a terminal M.A. degree. The deadline for admission is December 10 each year for enrollment in August.

Additional information on the application process.

Still not sure?