The doctoral program in political science at Washington University is one of the top programs in the country. Graduate students take classes and engage in research with a faculty recognized nationally and internationally as among the most expert, active, and productive in the country.
Our graduate program is relatively small. We admit around eight students into the Ph.D. program each year, and most of these complete the doctorate, generally in four to five years. There are approximately forty graduate students currently in residence.
Washington University's Ph.D. program in political science is designed to prepare students for academic careers in research and teaching at major institutions across the country. While our program stresses the importance of political methodology (applied statistics) and formal theory (game theory and mathematical modeling), our program is designed to train all students in these methods, regardless of their mathematical background. We provide professional training in the discipline through our professional development seminar and we encourage our students to attend professional meetings and participate in convention programs.
We have active research groups in American politics and institutions, comparative politics, international political economy, positive and normative theory, and political methodology. A number of students also work in the field of political economy, collaborating with faculty in political science, economics, law, and business.
It is important to emphasize that we do not regard these sub-fields as separate entities. Many of our faculty have research and teaching interests that transcend political science sub-fields, as well as traditional disciplinary boundaries. We have strong connections with other departments at Washington University, including economics, anthropology, the law school, and with various interdisciplinary research centers on campus.
Our incoming classes are fully funded, covering tuition and living expenses. We try to provide financial support for our students during most if not all of their time at Washington University. This support comes from several sources - fellowships awarded by the university, teaching and research assistantships in the Political Science Department, summer teaching, and research fellowships from outside sources such as the National Science Foundation, the Fulbright Commission, and so on. More information about funding and other matters of interest to prospective students can be found on the frequently asked questions (FAQs) sections page.
Professional Training and Job Placement
The graduate program prepares students primarily for academic careers in research and teaching. The curriculum is designed to help students master the best work being done in political science, and to become producers of original research themselves. Political Science today makes extensive use of quantitative techniques, and our curriculum aims to provide all students with command of these approaches, to be both literate and numerate, and to be able to employ them in their own research when appropriate. The frequently asked questions (FAQs) section provides more details on our curriculum.
We pride ourselves on our job placement on the academic job market. Our graduates go on to have successful careers in tenure track jobs. Our placement record is among the top in the discipline. In the last three years we placed 13 out of 14 of our Ph.D.s into tenure track jobs at schools such as Harvard, University of Chicago, and University of California - Davis.
Life in the Department and in St. Louis
Finally, it is worth noting that our department has long had a reputation for collegiality, and for treating graduate students as participants in the enterprise of teaching and research to which the faculty is committed, and from which we get a good deal of satisfaction, and fun.
The University is centrally located in Saint Louis, Missouri, a metropolitan area rich in heritage and cultural offerings with an increasingly diverse community. Most faculty and students live in the neighborhoods immediately surrounding our attractive campus, but there is much to do and explore all over the Saint Louis region.