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Home >> Graduate Programs >> Prospective Students >> Doctoral Program >> Application


We hope you will apply for admission to our Doctoral Program. You do not need a Master’s degree to be admitted to the program. Students who enter without a Master’s degree in Political Science will obtain it after completing coursework in our program and proceed right to the dissertation stage to complete the Ph.D.

The application process has two parts, a department application with supporting materials and a University application with supporting materials. Both parts must be completed before we can consider your application. The department application and supporting materials will be uploaded as supporting documents to your electronic University application. You will be required to submit the following through to Office of Admission using their electronic application procedures:

1. University application
2. GRE Scores
3. Transcripts from all previous schools
4. Department Application
5. Statement of Purpose
6. 3 letters of recommendation
7. Optional additional statements of interest for fellowships

During the application process, feel free to contact the Department’s Academic Coordinator, Jerry Fisher (jfisher@fsu.edu), to check on the status of your file, or to pose any questions or concerns you may have. Additional instructions on filing the application can be found at http://polisci.fsu.edu/instructionsphd.htm.

Decisions about admission are based on Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, undergraduate and graduate work already completed, the applicant’s own statement of interests and goals, and three letters of recommendation. Those interested in applying the LeRoy Collins Fellowship in State Politics and Policy should also include a 500 word statement indicating why they wish to hold the fellowship.

The personal statement of interests and goals as well as the fellowship statement should be as specific as possible about the topics within political science you would like to study, and your career goals upon receiving your degree. Feel free to add other information you would like the faculty to know about you.

Three letters of recommendation are required for those seeking admission to the Doctoral Program in political science. Ideally, these letters will be from faculty who can assess your scholarly potential. These letters will be submitted electronically through the University application. You must enter the names and email addresses of each letter writer in the appropriate place in the University application.

GRE and TOEFL score reports must be sent directly to the University's Office of Admissions (FSU's code for these examinations is 5219), as well as the required application fee. An OFFICIAL copy of transcripts from all previous universities/colleges attended must be submitted, one set to each to the following addresses:

1) Department of Political Science
Attn: Doctoral Admissions Committee
Florida State University
P.O. Box 3062230
Tallahassee, FL 32306-2230

2) Office of Graduate Admissions
Florida State University
P.O. Box 3062400
Tallahassee, FL 32306-2400

Students having earned a bachelor's degree from FSU are not required to submit paper copies of transcripts.

Admission to the Doctoral program Political Science is granted only in the fall term. The University's deadlines for fall admission are July 1 for U.S. citizens, and May 1 for international applicants. The Department's deadline is January 15 for guaranteed consideration for funding. Applications received after January 15th will be considered for funding and admissions as positions become available.

Decisions about admission are based on Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores and grades in undergraduate work already completed, as well as letters of recommendation and the applicant’s own statement of interests and goals. The Department seeks a target score of 155 or higher on the Quantitative section, 160 or higher on the Verbal section, and 4.0 or higher on the Analytical Writing section of the GRE. Applicants scoring below 146 on the Quantitative section, 156 on the Verbal section, and 3.5 on the Analytical Writing sections of the GRE will generally not be considered by the Departmental Admissions Committee, except under exceptional circumstances. Scores for examinations taken under the older GRE scoring format will be considered using comparable standards. Occasional deviations from these standards are allowed for applicants who possess exceptional qualities that are not reflected in these criteria. Because admission is competitive, no particular GRE or GPA guarantees acceptance. The program requires that international students complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 600 (250 computer-based, 100 internet-based). The target for admission is 10-15 new students per year. This keeps the program small, thereby allowing for close collaboration between graduate students and faculty.

All applicants who intend to pursue a Ph.D. in the department and whose files are complete by January 15th are assured consideration for department funding in the form of a teaching or research assistantship. Funds may not be available for even the most accomplished applicants after that date. Assistantships are awarded competitively, not only to give financial assistance but also to provide outstanding students with experience in teaching and research. When an assistantship is offered, the Department expects to fund it for five years, if the recipient makes continued satisfactory progress toward the doctoral degree. Criteria for continued funding include GPA; faculty evaluations; progress in the program; and, for international students, English language proficiency.

Outstanding applicants will be considered for the Department’s highly competitive and prestigious Collins Fellowships or nominated by the Department for College or University fellowships (information available at http://gradschool.fsu.edu/Funding-Awards/Graduate-School-Fellowships-and-Grants). Additional support for summer teaching is also available on a competitive basis.


The Department values the enrichment provided by international students in the program, and understands when international students are not fluent in English upon their arrival at FSU. But, since English language proficiency is essential for the student’s full participation and ultimate success, those accepting admission must be willing to undertake, if necessary, the additional expense and effort required to achieve a sufficient level of competence. There are various resources available at FSU for improving English language proficiency. Classes taken to improve English competency cannot be counted toward degree requirements. Spoken English proficiency is required for funded students beyond the first year and they may be asked to demonstrate their abilities in that area.


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