Graduate Placement

information and services

Our Placement Success

We pride ourselves on our job placement on the academic job market.  Our placement record is among the top in the discipline: We place about 90 percent of our students and we place most of them in tenure-track positions.

Consider our recent track record: Since 1998, the department has awarded 37 doctorates. 31 of those students landed tenure-track jobs. The list of schools includes: Bates, Denison, Florida State, Harvard University, Iowa State, Midwestern State, Milliken, Notre Dame, Portland University, Princeton University, Rhodes, San Diego State, St. Louis University, Texas A&M, University of Georgia, University of Kansas, University of Minnesota, University of Missouri, University of Pittsburgh, University of Southern Illinois, University of Southern California, University of Southern Maine, West Point, and Wright State University.

Placement Data (PDF)

There is probably no one factor that explains our success. Rather, it is a combination of some of the following:

Strong Alumni Network

Since virtually all of our students go into academics, we have alumni all over the country-and at a wide range of institutions, from the top private schools to the major state universities to small liberal arts colleges. Our alumni are a dedicated lot and have been quite helpful with placement. For one thing, because they know just how well we train students, they do not require a lot of convincing to recommend our people for positions. For another, because our alumni have done well themselves, their departments don't need a lot of convincing either. Along these lines, Rice is a good example. The department there hired one of our Ph.D.'s six years ago. At least in part because of its satisfaction with his performance, the department interviewed (and made offers to) two other students in subsequent years.

Our Students

We have a reputation for producing "complete" scholars-those with excellent theoretical and methodological skills but who are motivated to answer interesting substantive questions. Since these are the very same qualities that many departments desire in their candidates, we often receive inquiries about our students in advance of formal searches.


Whether related to the small size of our program or the dedication of our faculty, our department has a reputation for well socializing our students into the norms of the discipline. By the time our students go on the job market, they have attended many conventions, presented at least one conference paper, worked on NSF-sponsored projects, and, in many cases, published an article or a book chapter. Students are also put through rigorous "practice job talks" before they go on interviews.

Visible Faculty

Virtually all members of our faculty, from the most junior to the most senior, are active professionals: they attend meetings and they publish. The work of many faculty transcends subfields within political science, as well as conventional disciplinary boundaries. Nevertheless, we can safely say we are home to some of the most prominent scholars in their respective fields. See our list of faculty and their interest.

Placement Services

The Department of Political Science supports students on the job market by paying for copying and postage of application packets, and coordinating the compilation and distribution of dossiers (including a cover letter from the Department Chair).  A student becomes eligible for these services after they have scheduled a practice job talk authorized by the Department Chair, the Director of Graduate Studies and their dissertation advisor. This support is available for two years.

Graduate students should plan to begin formal placement activities early in the calendar year they wish to enter the market.  These activities generally conform to the following timetable:

January through June

  • Confirm readiness for the market with dissertation advisor
  • Identify and confirm letter writers
  • Begin assembling documents typically needed for application packets


  • Meet with DGS and PC to review placement service process
  • Provide PC with list of confirmed letter writers
  • Request WU registrar to send official transcript to PC, if transcripts are to be included in the dossier
  • Begin reviewing job notices


  • Schedule date for practice job talk with advisor and PC
  • Inform PC where you want dossiers sent
  • Begin sending out application packets

September through end of Academic Year

  • Hold practice job talk
  • Interviews begin
  • Inform advisor and PC of progress on the job market
  • Continue sending out application packets

Have questions?

For more information, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies. 

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