FAQ for Prospective Ph.D. Students
- What is your department's philosophy?
- What graduate degrees does the department of Political Science offer?
- How long is your program?
- What are the requirements for the Ph.D. degree?
- How is your placement record?
- Where can I get more information on life at Stanford, housing, financial aid or being an international student?
- Can I complete the program via distance learning, online or on a part time basis?
- Can you tell me more about the JD/PhD program? How do I apply for it? How long does it take? How much does it cost?
- Can you provide any advice on applying for graduate school, how to prepare myself for graduate school or how to prepare and strengthen my application?
- What is the annual cost of attending your program?
- What type of financial support do you offer?
- Do you offer support for the summer months?
- Is there support available for field work?
- How do I apply to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program?
- What are your research areas?
- How can I find out if any of your faculty members does research in my area of interest?
Preparing for Admission
- Am I required to secure an advisor before applying to your graduate program?
- Is Political Science a required major to apply to your graduate programs?
- Is a master's degree required for admissions?
- Are applicants expected to have taken advanced coursework in mathematics and statistics?
- If admitted, can I obtain credit for previous work?
- Can you provide some guidelines for preparation?
- What are the admissions committee's expectations of prospective students?
- Do you have a minimum GRE score or GPA Requirement?
- If admitted, may I defer my offer until a later year?
- How do I apply?
- What is the application deadline?
- Are applications reviewed and admissions decisions made on a rolling basis?
- Can you tell me if you received my application/transcripts/test scores/letters of recommendation? Why does my application status say 'incomplete?'
- When and how will admission decisions be announced?
- When will the application for the 2022-23 academic year be available?
- Can I apply for winter, spring, or summer quarter admission?
- What are the application requirements?
- Are there any additional application documents or materials I need to provide in order to be considered for a funding package?
- What is a Statement of Purpose?
- Can I submit a CV as part of my application?
- Can I apply for an application fee waiver?
- How do I apply to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program?
- Can I update my application materials (CV, writing sample, statement of purpose or unofficial transcripts) after I submit my application?
- Does the 20-35 page writing sample page limit include the bibliography?
- I am having technical problems with my online application. What do I do?
GRE and TOEFL
- Are GRE scores required for the Political Science PhD program?
- Do I have to submit GRE scores if I already have a Master's degree?
- I sent my official GRE or TOEFL scores but it still says they haven’t been received on my application status page. Should I resend them?
- What happens if my official GRE/TOEFL scores arrive after the application deadline?
- I asked ETS to send my GRE scores in a previous year. Do I need to resubmit my GRE scores?
- My GRE/TOEFL scores are not recent. Will you accept them?
- I’ve taken the GRE multiple times. How should I report my scores?
Letters of Recommendation
- Some of my letters of recommendation might arrive after the deadline. Is this okay?
- One of my letter writers is having technical issues submitting their letters of recommendation. Who should I contact?
- Will you accept letters of recommendation mailed from Interfolio or my university's career center or letter service? Can my letter writers submit letters via email, mail, or fax?
- I'd like to make changes to my letters of recommendation writers after I submitted my application or sent the letter of recommendation request. How can I do that?
- May I submit more than three letters of recommendation, and will they all be included in the review process?
- Can you provide guidance on who I should ask for a letter of recommendation?
- Do I need to send official transcripts at the time of application?
- Does Stanford want an updated transcript with my fall quarter/semester grades?
- Are there any special application requirements for international applicants? Do I need to submit TOEFL scores?
- May I submit IELTS scores instead of TOEFL scores?
- My school's grading system does not use a 1-4 scale. How do I enter my grade point average in the online application?
- My undergraduate degree is not from the U.S. Am I eligible to apply for graduate study at Stanford University?
- As an international student, am I eligible for funding?
- I went to school outside of the United States. Do I have to use Certifile/CHESICC/the CollegeNet Document Service to submit my official transcripts?
- Can I contact the admissions committee to inquire about my preparation in advance of my application?
- Should I contact Stanford faculty to discuss my interest in the program?
- Will I have a chance to talk to someone before I decide to accept an offer of admission?
Master's degree for doctoral students
The Department of Political Science does not embrace any particular philosophy or approach to the study of political science. We offer courses and research opportunities in a wide variety of fields in the discipline (see Research Areas below). Our principal goal is the training of scholars. The small size of our student body allows more individual work with members of the faculty than most graduate programs. It also makes possible financial assistance in one form or another to most students admitted to the Ph.D. program.
Our graduate program is built around small seminars that analyze critically the literature of a field or focus on a research problem. These courses prepare students for the Ph.D. comprehensive exam requirement within a two-year period and for work on the doctoral dissertation.
We offer a PhD in Political Science. The Department does not offer a master’s degree for external applicants. Only students currently enrolled in a PhD or professional school program at Stanford University may apply for a Master of Arts (MA) in Political Science.
The Ph.D. program is designed to be completed in five years of full-time study. Actual time depends on students' progress, research and travel requirements, and fields of study. The minimum residence requirement for the Ph.D. degree is 135 units of completed coursework, which takes approximately four years. The fifth year is typically spent writing the dissertation.
Requirements vary depending on which fields a student elects to study. The minimum residence requirement for the Ph.D. degree is 135 units of completed coursework, which takes approximately four years. The fifth year is typically spent writing the dissertation. All students must complete five units of graduate instruction in Political Theory unless previously taken as an undergraduate, and take a two-quarter sequence in quantitative methods. A language might also be required if the student and advisor think it appropriate for dissertation research. Beginning in their second year, students serve as teaching assistants in undergraduate courses for a minimum of three quarters, but most will serve as many as five quarters.
Students are required to satisfy the Ph.D. comprehensive examination requirements in one field as well as take coursework and fulfill any additional requirements in a second and third field and write at least one research paper. Upon completion of these three requirements, the student is eligible to be recommended for Ph.D. candidacy. It is expected that students will attain candidacy by the end of the second year. In their third year, students are asked to submit a formal dissertation proposal for approval. Doctoral candidates form a Dissertation Reading Committee in the fourth year and take the University Oral Examination after they have made substantial progress on their dissertations. Students must finish all requirements and file a thesis to receive their Ph.D. degree.
See the requirements page for more details.
Most students who receive doctorates in the program do research and teach at colleges or universities. In recent years, they have obtained positions in political science departments at such institutions as the University of California at Berkeley, UCLA, Harvard, NYU, M.I.T., Princeton, Yale, Southern California, Virginia, and Wellesley. Others have positions in research organizations like RAND, and still others have positions in university administration and government. Click to see the list of recent placements.
Where can I get more information on life at Stanford, housing, financial aid or being an international student?
Visit the Graduate Student Gateway.
No. The Ph.D. program requires students to be present on campus and in-person for each quarter enrolled. However, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic remote learning is expected for the 2020-21 academic year only.
Can you tell me more about the JD/PhD program? How do I apply for it? How long does it take? How much does it cost?
Information on the JD/PhD program is available here.
Can you provide any advice on applying for graduate school, how to prepare myself for graduate school or how to prepare and strengthen my application?
Please review the information on the ‘Guide on Getting Into Grad School.’ We are not able to speculate on an applicant's chances of admission, or review application materials prior to application, or provide guidance on individual applications beyond what is provided on the Political Science department website and the Guide to Getting Into Grad School.
The costs of pursuing graduate study at Stanford depend on various factors, including student's housing preferences and family circumstances, among other factors. Information about financing graduate study and typical expenses for graduate students can be found through Graduate Admissions. Information about our financial support, which usually covers tuition and living expenses, follows below.
The Department intends that all graduate students (both domestic and international) should have adequate support to enable them to complete their studies while enrolled full-time. The standard financial package offered to admitted students covers the full cost of tuition and an additional amount for living expenses . The latter amount comes in the form of a stipend during the first year and a combination of teaching and research assistantships during years 2-5. The Department also provides students with annual funds for professional development and health insurance fees. The Department provides five years of support for Ph.D. students who are making sufficient progress towards degree. Current information regarding tuition, fees, and living expenses.
As of academic year 2020-21, funded PhD students in good standing are eligible to receive 12 months of funding each year, for as long as five years.
In addition to providing the standard package described above, the Department will provide each student $1,000 in discretionary funds every year in year 1-5. Most students use this money to fund professional development expenses, including language study, faculty guided research and field work. In addition, as of academic year 2020-21, funded PhD students in good standing are eligible to receive 12 months of funding each year for as long as five years, which provides students with the possibility of conducting field work during the summer. It is also possible to use pre-doc fellowship funds to support field work during the later years of the program. There are also numerous opportunities to supplement the funding by the department with grants and stipends from university research centers.
Knight-Hennessy Scholars develops a community of future global leaders to address complex challenges through collaboration and innovation. This year, the program will award up to 75 high-achieving students with full funding to pursue a graduate education at Stanford, including Master's and PhD's in Political Science. To be considered, you must apply to Knight-Hennessy Scholars by their deadline and separately apply to the Political Science department by December 1, 2020.
Read more about eligibility requirements and the application process on the Knight-Hennessy Scholars website.
Applying to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars is not required in order to be admitted to the Political Science PhD program or to receive a funding package.
The department offers teaching and research opportunities in five major research areas: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Methodology, and Political Theory. In addition, there are ample opportunities for graduate study in related departments at the university.
You can access more specific information about particular faculty members by going to the faculty page.
Preparing for Admission
No. It is not necessary or possible to secure an advisor before admission to the program. Offers of admission are made to the program, not to work with particular advisors. Applicants are encouraged to read the Admissions FAQ and contact Jennifer Radley with any general admissions questions before contacting faculty.
No, the department does not require that prospective students be political science majors. On the other hand, the department does expect that prospective students have had sufficient exposure to the field for them to develop a clear statement of purpose for attending our graduate program. In addition, as part of the application materials, applicants are required to submit a written sample that will certainly justify students having previously studied political science.
No, a master’s degree is not required for admission, although roughly one-third of our applicants have completed a graduate degree prior to application to the PhD program.
No, students are not required to have taken advanced courses in quantitative methods as a prerequisite for admission. In fact, the department offers a four quarter sequence in quantitative methods that introduces first and second year students to methodological tools that they can later use in their chosen fields of study. This sequence does not assume that students have had prior exposure to statistics or advanced mathematics. In addition to the sequence, the department offers a math refresher course for three weeks prior to the start of classes in the fall for all students. Note, however, that there are certain areas of study (such as American politics and political behavior) that will require more training in quantitative methods beyond the first-year sequence. Opportunities to pursue advanced work in quantitative methods exist both within and outside the department (e.g., taking courses in the economics and statistics departments).
The Department rarely accepts the transfer of previous graduate work toward fulfilling degree requirements. However, students with previous graduate work may be able to count some of their previous course credits toward the university residency requirement, thus reducing the time required for the Ph.D. degree. The university may allow a maximum of 45 units for work done elsewhere in another graduate program. Transfer credit is subject to the approval of the Office of the University Registrar, and there is no guarantee that transfer credit will be awarded. Students cannot apply for transfer credit until they have completed at least one quarter of study at Stanford.
Admission to our program is highly competitive. The selection of PhD students admitted to the Department of Political Science is based on an individualized, holistic review of each application, including (but not limited to) the applicant’s academic record, the letters of recommendation, the scores on the General GRE (Graduate Record Examination), the statement of purpose, and the writing sample. About 12-15 students, chosen from a large pool of applicants, enter the program every year. These students are chosen on the basis of a strong academic background as evidenced by previous study, test results, writing sample, and letters of recommendation. Although we have no official score requirement, admitted students typically have GRE scores of 166+ verbal, 163+ quantitative, and a score of 5.5 in the analytical section. Admitted students typically have a GPA of at least 3.8 in their previous studies. Please be assured that the department reviews each application very carefully and makes decisions on an individual basis. We are not able to speculate on an applicant's chances of admission, or review application materials prior to application, or provide guidance on individual applications beyond what is provided on this website.
Admission committees follow guidelines established by the university and the department to ensure a fair review of application materials and the selection of a high quality pool of incoming students. An overview of graduate admission and study at Stanford is available.
No. However, admission to our program is highly competitive. Admitted students typically have very high GRE scores (approximately 166+ verbal, 163+ quantitative, and a score of 5.5 in the Analytical section). Admitted students typically have a GPA of at least 3.8 in their previous studies.
One year deferrals are granted only for serious and unforeseen circumstances that occur after the time of application. The one exception to that policy is that one year deferrals are allowed for students who will spend the 2021-22 academic year at Stanford Law School as part of the Stanford joint JD/PhD program. Deferral requests to allow students to attend another university for a different degree program (such as a JD) are highly unlikely to be granted. Deferrals for longer than one academic year are not possible. Students should only apply during this admissions cycle if they intend to be at Stanford for the 2021-22 academic year.
How do I apply?
You must apply online via the Graduate Admissions web site. Note that online applications require the use of a credit card.
What is the application deadline?
The deadline to apply for admission for the 2021-22 academic year was 11:59pm (Pacific time) on December 1, 2020. No late applications will be accepted.
Are applications reviewed and admissions decisions made on a rolling basis?
No. We begin reviewing all applications after the application deadline and make all admissions decisions by the end of February. There is no advantage to applying early.
Can you tell me if you received my application/transcripts/test scores/letters of recommendation? Why does my application status say 'incomplete?'
Please check your Application Activity Status page if you have any questions about whether your application is complete. Due to the number of applications that we receive we cannot confirm receipt of any application documents or tell you why your application is incomplete so please do not contact the department to ask this question. Applicants may check to see whether their application materials have been received on their Application Activity Status page.
Test scores: Information on when applicants can expect to see GRE and TOEFL scores listed as 'official' on their Application Activity Status page is below in the GRE and TOEFL section of the FAQ's.
Letters of recommendation: The Application Activity Status page will update automatically when letters of recommendation are received. Contact your recommendation writers (not the department) if you are missing letters of recommendation. Additional information about letters of recommendation is below in the Letter of Recommendation section of the FAQ's.
Transcripts: Official transcripts are not required at the time of application. If you are offered admission to Stanford and accept the offer, you will be required to submit official transcripts that show your degree conferral. Please do not send official transcripts with your application.
All applications, even those marked as "incomplete," will be considered by the committee.
When and how will admission decisions be announced?
Offers of admission will be made in late February. Admissions decisions will be announced on the Application Activity Status Page. Admitted applicants will be invited to attend our Ph.D. Admit Visit to be held in early April 2021. Knight-Hennessy Scholars applicants who are advanced to the Knight-Hennessy finalist round will be notified of their admission to the PhD program and to the Knight-Hennessy scholars program in March.
When will the application for the 2022-23 academic year be available?
It will be available in September 2021.
Can I apply for winter, spring, or summer quarter admission?
No, students may only enter the program during the fall quarter.
What are the application requirements?
A complete application consists of the following documentation:
- Stanford online application including statement of purpose
- At least three letters of recommendation
- Unofficial transcripts from each institution you attended for at least one year (Official transcripts are not required at the time of application. If you are offered admission to Stanford and accept the offer, you will be required to submit official transcripts that show your degree conferral.)
- General GRE and TOEFL scores reported directly to Stanford (code 4704) - Learn more about these test requirements. GRE scores are required for the Fall 2021 admissions cycle. We will accept results from the ETS home tests.
- Writing Sample: a recent scholarly or critical paper (20-35 pages, double-spaced). Applicants may submit two or three shorter samples if they do not have a long one. Writing samples must be written in English.
- CV/resume (optional but recommended)
- Application fee of $125. Information on Graduate Fee Waivers is available here.
Please refer to the Office of Graduate Admissions Frequently Asked Questions for additional information on the application process and requirements.
Are there any additional application documents or materials I need to provide in order to be considered for a funding package?
No. All you need to do is answer 'yes' to the question in the online application that asks "Are you applying for financial aid such as fellowships or assistantships from Stanford University?"
What is a Statement of Purpose?
The Statement of Purpose should describe succinctly your reasons for applying to the proposed program at Stanford, your preparation for this field of study, research interests, future career plans, and other aspects of your background and interests which may aid the admissions committee in evaluating your aptitude and motivation for graduate study. The Statement of Purpose should not exceed two single spaced pages. Additional information on crafting your statement of purpose is available here.
Can I submit a CV as part of my application?
Yes. Submitting a CV is optional but recommended. Applications may upload a CV under "Additional Information" after uploading the statement of purpose and writing sample.
Can I apply for an application fee waiver?
Please do not contact the Department to request a fee waiver as we are unable to grant them. Please visit Graduate Admissions for information on applying for an Application Fee Waiver.
Information on applying to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program is available here. Applying to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars is not required in order to be admitted to the Political Science PhD program or to receive a funding package from the department.
Can I update my application materials (CV, writing sample, statement of purpose or unofficial transcripts) after I submit my application?
If you need to make significant changes or updates to your application materials (such as you uploaded the wrong document altogether or you won a major award after submitting your application and want to update your CV) you may email Jennifer Radley (email@example.com) with your updated documents by December 11th. Please ensure that the document is saved using the following format: Last Name.First Name.Document Title (example: Radley.Jennifer.CV). No changes to applications can be made after December 11th. Please do not ask us to update your materials for minor reasons such as small typos or grammatical errors.
No. The bibliography is not included in the 20-35 page writing sample.
Technical support is available from any page within the online application by clicking on the CollegeNET Tech Support link. You can also send an email to the CollegeNET Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org. CollegeNET responds to technical support questions within 24 hours.
GRE and TOEFL
Are GRE scores required for the Political Science PhD program?
Yes, GRE scores are required for the Fall 2021 admissions cycle for all applicants. We are not able to grant waivers or make exceptions to the GRE requirement. We will accept test results from Educational Testing Service (ETS) home tests. If you are unable to take the GRE either at a testing center or via the at-home testing service by the application deadline, unfortunately you will need to wait until the next application cycle to apply.
No other exams (including the LSAT or GMAT) are accepted in lieu of the GRE.
Do I have to submit GRE scores if I already have a Master's degree?
Yes, all applicants must submit GRE scores, even if they have completed an advanced degree.
I sent my official GRE or TOEFL scores but it still says they haven’t been received on my application status page. Should I resend them?
It will take two weeks from the date you submit your application to Stanford for GRE and TOEFL scores to merge with your application and appear as "Official" on your application status page. For example, if you asked ETS to send your scores to Stanford on October 1st but do not submit your application until December 1st, you can expect the scores to appear as Official on your application status page on December 15th, even though you asked ETS to send the scores much earlier.
Please do not request that ETS send scores again or contact the department to inquire about the status of your GRE or TOEFL scores if it has been less than two weeks since you submitted your application. If you submitted your application more than two weeks ago and your GRE or TOEFL scores are still shown as "Unofficial" on your Application Status Activity Page, please first verify that you asked ETS to send your scores to the correct institution code for Stanford (4704). If so, email your ETS Test Taker Score Report to email@example.com along with the following information:
- Test taken GRE or TOEFL)
- Stanford last name
- Stanford first name
- Stanford date of birth
- GRE (or TOEFL) last name (if different from Stanford last name)
- GRE (or TOEFL) first name (if different from Stanford first name)
- GRE (or TOEFL) date of birth (if different from Stanford DOB)
- Any other pertinent info
What happens if my official GRE/TOEFL scores arrive after the application deadline?
Your unofficial GRE scores for the verbal and quantitative sections of the test must be included in your application by the application deadline. This means that you must have taken the GRE prior to the application deadline. If you are unable to submit unofficial test scores for the verbal and quantitative sections by the application deadline, we recommend that you wait to apply until the next application cycle. We do not need to have a score for the analytical writing section of the GRE by the application deadline but do need to receive it before application review begins in mid-December. If you receive your Analytical Writing score after you submit your application please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org so that it can be added to your application.
If we haven't received official scores for all sections by the time the admissions committee begins review, we will consider your application with the unofficial scores submitted in your online application. However, we will need to receive official scores for all sections of the GRE from ETS before making an official offer of admission.
I asked ETS to send my GRE scores in a previous year. Do I need to resubmit my GRE scores?
Maybe. GRE test scores received by Graduate Admissions prior to September 1, 2019 are no longer retained on file or valid so you will need to resubmit them. You will also need to request that ETS resend scores if you had them sent to Stanford but you did NOT submit an application.
My GRE/TOEFL scores are not recent. Will you accept them?
GRE scores are valid for approximately five years from the date taken. TOEFL scores submitted to Stanford must be from a test taken within the last 18 months. No scores are valid beyond the date ETS will send or resend them to schools.
I’ve taken the GRE multiple times. How should I report my scores?
Applicants may choose to self-report only the highest scores from each section of the test, even if those scores were earned on different test dates. However, the admissions committee will be able to see and consider all the scores of every test attempt that you instruct ETS to send to Stanford.
Letters of Recommendation
Some of my letters of recommendation might arrive after the deadline. Is this okay?
Please ask your letter writers to upload their letters no later than December 15th. If you do not have three letters of recommendation by then, your file will still be passed to the faculty committee for consideration. While recommenders may upload outstanding letters after December 15th, there's no guarantee they will be read as the committee will have already begun its work.
One of my letter writers is having technical issues submitting their letters of recommendation. Who should I contact?
If recommenders experience technical difficulties, they should contact the online application vendor by clicking on the link given in the email they received requesting the recommendation or by clicking on the "Help" link at the top right of the first page in their "Letters of Recommendation" account page. Please do not instruct letter writers to contact the department for help with technical issues. Additional information for recommendation writers is available here.
Will you accept letters of recommendation mailed from Interfolio or my university's career center or letter service? Can my letter writers submit letters via email, mail, or fax?
No. Letters of recommendation must be submitted through the online application system.
I'd like to make changes to my letters of recommendation writers after I submitted my application or sent the letter of recommendation request. How can I do that?
If you’d like to make changes before your letter writer has accepted the letter of recommendation request, you may do so from your Application Status Activity Page. If your letter of recommendation writer has already accepted the letter of recommendation request, you are no longer able to make changes. Email CollegeNet Technical Support at email@example.com for additional assistance.
May I submit more than three letters of recommendation, and will they all be included in the review process?
The department expects to see three letters of recommendation per application. Applicants may enter up to six recommenders and all letters of recommendation submitted by the December 15th deadline will be considered in the review process. However, there is no automatic advantage or disadvantage to submitting more than three letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation will be evaluated solely on what they say about an applicant’s academic potential for graduate work, not on how many are submitted.
Can you provide guidance on who I should ask for a letter of recommendation?
Ideally, you should select research mentors and faculty who can speak to your abilities to be a successful graduate student. Please see here for additional information.
Do I need to submit official transcripts at the time of application?
No. You must upload unofficial transcripts from each institution you attended for at least one year with your application. Official transcripts are not required at the time of application. If you are offered admission to Stanford and accept the offer, you will be required to submit official transcripts that show your degree conferral.
We do not require an updated transcript. If you receive your fall transcript before December 15th you may email Jennifer Radley (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your updated documents. Please ensure that the document is saved using the following format: Last Name.First Name.Document Title (example: Radley.Jennifer.falltranscript). No changes to applications can be made after December 15th. If you do not receive your fall quarter/semester grades until after then we cannot include them in your application so it is unnecessary to send them.
Are there any special application requirements for international applicants? Do I need to submit TOEFL scores?
Information for international applicants is available from Graduate Admissions.
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores are required of all applicants whose first language is not English. Stanford does not accept IELTS scores. The department does not require the Test of Spoken English for admission. Applicants must score at least 100 on the Internet-based TOEFL in order to be eligible for admission, though admitted applicants typically score at least 115. Exemptions are granted to applicants who have earned (or will earn, before enrolling at Stanford) a U.S. bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a college or university accredited by a regional accrediting association in the United States, or the international equivalent degree from a university of recognized standing in a country in which all instruction is provided in English. Therefore, applicants with degrees (or who will have degrees before enrolling at Stanford) from the U.S., Australia, Canada (except Quebec), New Zealand, Singapore, Ireland and the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales) are exempt from taking the TOEFL and do not need to submit the TOEFL Waiver Request form. If you are offered admission, the official transcript must be recieved showing conferral of the degree from the qualifying institution or TOEFL exam scores will be required to enroll.
Applicants with degrees from institutions in countries other than those listed above and in which English was the only language of instruction may be eligible for a waiver of the TOEFL exam requirement. These applicants must submit a TOEFL Waiver Request form in order to be evaluated for a waiver to the TOEFL requirement. You must submit a Stanford application before submitting a TOEFL Waiver Request Form. Please note that the department of Political Science does not evaluate TOEFL waiver requests. Direct all questions to Stanford's Office of Graduate Admissions.
May I submit IELTS scores instead of TOEFL scores?
No. Stanford does not accept IELTS scores or any other test in lieu of the TOEFL.
My school's grading system does not use a 1-4 scale. How do I enter my grade point average in the online application?
If your school has not converted your GPA for you, enter 0.00 in the GPA fields of the online application. Your GPA will be calculated from your transcripts. Please do not try to calculate it yourself.
My undergraduate degree is not from the U.S. Am I eligible to apply for graduate study at Stanford University?
To be eligible for admission to graduate programs at Stanford, applicants must complete an international degree that is equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree from a college or university of recognized standing. Please see the minimum international education requirements and contact Stanford’s Office of Graduate Admissions (not the Department of Political Science) with any further questions.
Yes, both international and domestic students receive the same funding package from the department. See here for further information.
I went to school outside of the United States. Do I have to use Certifile/CHESICC/the CollegeNet Document Service to submit my official transcripts?
No, the use of these services is encouraged but not required. See here for more information on submitting transcripts.
Can I contact the admissions committee to inquire about my preparation in advance of my application?
No, the admissions committee is not available for consultation. We are not able to speculate on an applicant's chances of admission, or review application materials prior to application, or provide guidance on individual applications beyond what is provided on this website.
Should I contact Stanford faculty to discuss my interest in the program?
Applicants may try to contact faculty before applying to discuss their interest in the PhD program, though it is not required nor expected. It is not necessary or possible to secure an advisor before admission to the program. Applicants are admitted to the program, not to work with particular faculty. If you have not spoken directly to faculty at the time of application, simply leave that particular application question blank. Applicants are encouraged to read the Admissions FAQ and contact Jennifer Radley with any admissions questions prior to contacting faculty.
Will I have a chance to talk to someone before I decide to accept an offer of admission?
Yes. The department organizes a special activity every Spring to invite admitted students to campus. This event is an excellent opportunity to talk to faculty and students about specific concerns or questions a prospective student may have.
Can I get a master’s degree from the Department of Political Science?
The Department does not offer a master’s degree for external applicants. Applicants interested in a master’s degree should look into the Ford Dorsey Masters in International Policy. Current doctoral students from within the Stanford Political Science department or in another Stanford University department may apply for a Master of Arts in Political Science during the course of their Ph.D. program. Master's candidates must take 45 units of course work, and 25 of those units must be in graduate seminars. There is no examination or thesis requirement.