Political Science

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

Master of Arts (M.A.), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Location(s): Foggy Bottom - Main Campus

Program Overview

As part of the social and behavioral sciences discipline in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the program examines politics on a national and international scale, with emphases on American politics, comparative politics and international relations.

The nationally recognized political science program at GW offers graduate students an opportunity to work with prominent scholars in a wide range of fields and to take advantage of the resources and opportunities of the nation’s capital. We train students broadly and emphasize mastery of a variety of research methods. Our graduate students have won prestigious dissertation and post-doctoral awards and are active in all aspects of the profession.

Our graduates have secured tenure-track positions at such schools as William & Mary, DePaul University, the University of Indiana, the University of Toronto, Colorado State University, Occidental College, SOAS/University of London, and the University of Oregon. Graduates seeking positions outside a university setting have found positions at the Congressional Research Service, the World Bank, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, among others.

The Ph.D. program allows students to construct a program consisting of a major and minor field of study. The three major fields are American politics, international relations and comparative politics. Any of the major fields—plus public policy, political theory or research methodology—is an option for a minor. The public policy program and the Department of Political Science offer students the chance to receive both an M.P.P. and a Ph.D. in political science.


Admission Requirements

Admission deadlines:
Fall - PH.D: The Political Science PHD program will not be accepting applications for the 2021-2022 academic year.
       - M.A.: 1 April  (1 February to be considered for fellowships)
Standardized test scores:
GRE general test (institutional code 5246)
The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the PTE Academic is required of all applicants except those who hold a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a college or university in the United States or from an institution located in a country in which English is the official language, provided English was the language of instruction. 
Minimum scores for the Ph.D. and M.A. program are:
  • Academic IELTS: an overall band score of 7.0 with no individual score below 6.0; or
  • TOEFL: 600 on paper-based or 100 on Internet-based;  or
  • PTE Academic: 68
Recommendations required: 
Three (3) academic letters of recommendations required
Prior academic records: 
Transcripts are required from all colleges and universities attended, whether or not credit was earned, the program was completed, or the credit appears as transfer credit on another transcript. Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be uploaded to your online application. Official transcripts are required only of applicants who are offered admission.

If transcripts are in a language other than English, English language translations must be provided. The English translation alone should be uploaded into your application.
Statement of purpose: 
In an essay of 250 – 500 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study in your chosen field and describe what political problems or questions motivate you. Include your academic objectives, research interests, and career plans. Also discuss your related qualifications, including collegiate, professional, and community activities, and any other substantial accomplishments not already mentioned on the application. If you are applying for an assistantship or fellowship, you should also describe any teaching experience you have had.
Writing Sample:
Academic writing sample of not more than 30 pages required.
International applicants only:
Please review International Applicant Information carefully for details on required documents, earlier deadlines for applicants requiring an I-20 or DS-2019 from GW, and English language requirements.
For more information on the admission process, please visit the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Frequently Asked Questions page.

Supporting documents not submitted online should be mailed to:
Columbian College of Arts and Sciences – Graduate Admissions Office
The George Washington University
801 22nd Street NW, Phillips Hall 215
Washington DC 20052
Contact for questions:
[email protected] ~ 202.994.6210 (phone) ~ 202.994.6213 (fax)
8:30 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday