Admission and Financial Aid

Application and Deadline

The Graduate School administers the application process for the Department of Political Science. Click here to apply.

DEADLINE: December 15


Three Letters of Recommendation
Statement of Intent
CV or Résumé
Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

The University of Notre Dame requires an official report of recent (five years or less) GRE scores for admission to graduate study. GRE scores are standardized, important components of a complete application to our program. All other things equal, our admissions process favors higher scores. We do not set a minimum GRE score requirement because we consider a broad set of factors in making admissions decisions.

The median GRE scores for the 2012 and 2013 cohort of graduate students (the average scores were similar):

  • Verbal 165
  • Quantitative 158
  • Analytical Writing 5.0
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

The Notre Dame Graduate School advises applicants that successful TOEFL scores on iBT are 80 overall and 23 speaking. On the older CBT, the minimum is 250.

Writing Sample

A writing sample is required. Writing samples that demonstrate an applicant's capacity for systematic and careful thought, reasoned argument, and clear writing about political phenomena improve the chances of admission.

Rate of Admission

The Department of Political Science attracts many highly qualified applicants for its graduate program. Each year more than 200 prospective students apply, from the U.S. and around the world. Approximately 10-12 new students enter our program each year. Our student body is diverse in terms of national origin, cultural background, and intellectual interest.

Financial Support

Tuition and Fellowship Stipend: Guaranteed Support

Political Science offers generous financial aid packages to its Ph.D. students and is committed to maintaining comfortable and productive assistance for entering students.

Our guaranteed support, tuition plus fellowship, lasts for five full years to Ph.D. students who are making satisfactory progress toward the degree (typically one year less for Ph.D. students who enter the program with an M.A.).

University Fellowships and Endowed Awards

Political Science applicants have been unusually successful in winning Notre Dame's select fellowships.  Please note: Regular application materials are used to nominate accepted applicants for these and other awards.

Kellogg Institute PhD Fellowships

The Kellogg Institute PhD Fellowship is a supplemental stipend of $5,000/year for five years, administered and funded by the Kellogg Institute. Students interested in the politics of Latin America, Africa and/or Asia as it relates to the Institute's research themes of democracy and human development may be nominated for this award.

Burns Fellowships

Students interested in learning to conduct research on educational practices, programs and policies should apply for the Rev. James A. Burns Fellowship to be a part of the Program for Interdisciplinary Educational Research. This fellowship provides a stipend for up to five years, along with professional development funding for research and travel. Interested students will apply as part of their graduate application to their departmental Ph.D. program.

Outside Fellowships

Students in the department have also fared well in winning major outside fellowships and prizes for dissertation research. In recent years, our students have won funding from:

  • Social Science Research Council
  • Inter-American Foundation
  • Fulbright
  • IREX
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Canada's SHRCC
  • Germany's DAAD
  • World Society Foundation
  • Irving L. Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy
  • Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies
  • Institute for the Study of World Affairs
  • Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford
  • US AID
  • Mellon/ACLS
  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship