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Political Science

For more information contact

Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Political Science
Duke University
Box 90204
Durham, NC  27708-0719
Phone: (919) 660-4336



General Information

Degree offered:
M.A., Ph.D.
Faculty working with students:
Students receiving Financial Aid:
100% of Ph.D. students, no financial aid available for M.A. students
Part time study available:

Program Description

The graduate program in Political Science is designed primarily to prepare students for research and teaching. Major fields of specialization are:  Political Institutions; Political Economy; Security, Peace and Conflict; Political Behavior and Identities; Political Methodology; and Normative Political Theory and Political Philosophy.  Students can also integrate courses of study around a common theme, such as Race, Ethnicity and Politics; Religion and Politics; or Law and Politics. Students can supplement their training with coursework in other departments including Anthropology, Computer Science, Economics, History, Mathematics, Philosophy, Psychology, Public Policy, Sociology, and Statistics.

Our department goals are served by close and supportive relations with the faculty and with other students.  Typically, about 10-13 new graduate students enter each year.  The ratio of students in residence to faculty is approximately 2:1.

Resources for study include the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI); Duke Initiative on Survey Methodology; Political Institutions and Public Choice (PIPC); Program in Asia Security Studies; Social Science Workshop for Chinese Scholars; Triangle Institute for Security Studies (TISS); and Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models (EITM), among others.


Application Information

Application Terms Available
Ph.D.: Fall
M.A.: Spring, Fall

Application Deadlines
M.A.: October 1

Ph.D.: December 20
M.A.: February 15

Graduate School Application Requirements
See the Application Instructions page for important details about each Graduate School requirement.

  • Transcripts: Unofficial transcripts required with application submission; official transcripts required upon admission
  • Letters of Recommendation: 3 Required
  • Statement of Purpose: Required (See department guidance below)
  • Résumé: Required
  • GRE Scores: GRE General Required
  • English Language Exam: TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test required* for applicants whose first language is not English
    *test waiver may apply for some applicants
  • GPA: Undergraduate GPA calculated on 4.0 scale required
  • Writing Sample (see departmental guidance below)

Writing Sample
Please upload your 10-20 page writing sample in the Departmental Requirements section of the online application. 

Additional Component

We strongly encourage you to review additional department-specific application guidance from the program to which you are applying: 

Departmental Application Guidance