General Info

  • Faculty working with students: 33
  • Students: 62
  • Students receiving Financial Aid: 100% of Ph.D. students
  • Part time study available: No
  • Application terms: Fall
  • Application deadlines: December 20
Application Info


Christopher Johnston
Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Political Science
Duke University
Box 90204
Durham, NC  27708-0719
Phone: (919) 660-4300



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: Fall

Application Deadlines: December 20

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
The submission of a writing sample (limited to fewer than 15 pages) is required. Writing samples should be uploaded to the Departmental Requirements section of the application.

Additional Component
Applicants to the joint Ph.D. program in Public Policy and Allied Disciplines must submit an additional essay for admission to the program. Regardless of your selection of primary department, please respond to the following prompt:

In 500 words or less, please explain your interest in the joint Ph.D. program offered between Public Policy and an Allied Discipline. Highlight how your research interests and past experiences lie at the intersection between Public Policy and the Allied Discipline and how participation in the joint program will facilitate your professional goals after receiving your degree.

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