FAQ for Prospective Ph.D. Students

General

Financial Support

Research

Preparing for Admission

Application Procedures

General

GRE and TOEFL

Letters of Recommendation

Transcripts

International Students

Contacts

Master's degree for doctoral students

General

What is your department's philosophy?

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.

What graduate degrees does the department of Political Science offer?

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.

How long is your program?

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.

What are the requirements for the Ph.D. degree?

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.

How is your placement record?

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.

Can I complete the program via distance learning, online or on a part time basis?

No. The Ph.D. program requires students to be present on campus and in-person for each quarter enrolled. The Ph.D. program is a full-time program and may not be completed 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?

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.

For more information about PhD programs in Political Science, please see the Pathways to PhD events and mentorship program, organized by current Stanford Political Science graduate students. For more information about Stanford’s Pathways to PhD program in Political Science, please contact Emily Russell at eruss [at] stanford.edu or Taiwo Mustafa at tmustafa [at] stanford.edu. Please note that the Pathways webinars and mentorship program are not connected to Stanford’s PhD admissions process. 

Financial Support

What is the annual cost of attending your program?

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.

What type of financial support do you offer?

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.

Do you offer support for the summer months?

Funded PhD students in good standing are eligible to receive 12 months of funding each year, for as long as five years.

Is there support available for field work?

In addition to providing the standard package described above, the Department will provide each student $1,500 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, 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, such as the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRiSS), and the Stanford King Center on Global Development

How do I apply to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program?

Join dozens of Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences students who gain valuable leadership skills in a multidisciplinary, multicultural community as Knight-Hennessy Scholars (KHS).

KHS admits up to 100 select applicants each year from across Stanford’s seven graduate schools, and delivers engaging experiences that prepare them to be visionary, courageous, and collaborative leaders ready to address complex global challenges. As a scholar, you join a distinguished cohort, participate in up to three years of leadership programming, and receive full funding for up to three years of your PhD studies at Stanford.

Candidates of any country may apply. KHS applicants must have earned their first undergraduate degree within the last seven years, and must apply to both a Stanford graduate program and to KHS. Stanford PhD students may also apply to KHS during their first year of PhD enrollment.

If you aspire to be a leader in your field, we invite you to apply. The KHS application deadline is October 12, 2022. Learn more about KHS admission.

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. 

Research

What are your research areas?

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.

How can I find out if your faculty does research in my area of interest?

You can access more specific information about particular faculty members by going to the faculty page.

Preparing for Admission

Am I required to secure an advisor before applying to your graduate program?

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 politicalscience [at] stanford.edu (subject: Admissions%20Enquiries) with any general admissions questions before contacting faculty.

Is Political Science a required major to apply to your graduate program?

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.

Is a master’s degree required for admission?

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.

Are applicants expected to have taken advanced coursework in mathematics and statistics?

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).

If admitted, can I obtain credit for previous work?

The Department rarely accepts the transfer of previous graduate work toward fulfilling pre-candidacy course 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. 

Can you provide some guidelines for preparation?

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. 

What are the admissions committee's expectations of prospective students?

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.

Do you have a minimum GRE score or GPA Requirement?

No, all applications will be considered. 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.

If admitted, may I defer my offer until a later year?

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 next 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 next academic year.

Application Procedures

General

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 2023-24 academic year is 11:59pm (Pacific time) on December 1, 2022. Regrettably, we are unable to accept  late applications. 

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.

How can I check the status of my application? Can you tell me if you received my application/transcripts/test scores/letters of recommendation?

To check your application status, click the Visit Your Status Page button here. Due to the number of applications that we receive we cannot confirm receipt of any application documents or tell you if your application is complete. 

Letters of recommendation: Your 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 "awaiting materials," will be considered by the committee.  

When will admission decisions be announced?

Offers of admission will be made in late February. Admitted applicants will be invited to attend our Ph.D. Admit Visit to be held in early April.

When will the application for the 2023-24 academic year be available?

It is available now. 

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:

  1. Stanford online application including statement of purpose
  2. At least three letters of recommendation
  3. 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.) 
  4. General GRE and TOEFL scores reported directly to Stanford (code 4704) - Learn more about these test requirementsGRE scores are required for the Fall 2023 admissions cycle. We will accept results from the ETS home tests.
  5. 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. 
  6. CV/resume
  7. 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.

Do I need to submit a separate application for departmental fellowships or assistantships?

In general, no. In most cases, you will be considered for any available departmental funding awards when you apply for graduate study, and a separate application is not necessary. Note that in order to be considered for Knight-Hennessy Scholars, you must submit a separate application.

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 required. Applications may upload a CV under "Experience" in the application. 

Can I apply for an application fee waiver?

Fee waivers are available for some applicants. Please visit Graduate Admissions for information on applying for an Application Fee Waiver. Please do not contact the Department to request a fee waiver as unfortunately, we are unable to grant them. 

Be sure to submit your fee waiver request at least 10 business days (two weeks) before the application deadline to ensure a timely decision.

How do I apply to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program?

Join dozens of Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences students who gain valuable leadership skills in a multidisciplinary, multicultural community as Knight-Hennessy Scholars (KHS).

KHS admits up to 100 select applicants each year from across Stanford’s seven graduate schools, and delivers engaging experiences that prepare them to be visionary, courageous, and collaborative leaders ready to address complex global challenges. As a scholar, you join a distinguished cohort, participate in up to three years of leadership programming, and receive full funding for up to three years of your PhD studies at Stanford.

Candidates of any country may apply. KHS applicants must have earned their first undergraduate degree within the last seven years, and must apply to both a Stanford graduate program and to KHS. Stanford PhD students may also apply to KHS during their first year of PhD enrollment.

If you aspire to be a leader in your field, we invite you to apply. The KHS application deadline is October 12, 2022. Learn more about KHS admission.

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?

You may update your application on your status page after submitting your application as follows:

  • Recommenders, Test Scores and Contact Information (email, phone, address) may be updated anytime before or after the application deadline. However, after December 15 there is no guarantee the Admissions Committee will see the updates as they will have already begun reviewing applications.
  • The following materials may only be updated until the application deadline on December 1: 
    • Resume/CV
    • Statement of Purpose
    • Writing Sample
    • Unofficial transcripts
    • The application system will allow you to update items in Additional Information anytime before or after the deadline. However, after December 15 there is no guarantee the Admissions Committee will review the updates as they will have already begun reviewing applications. In addition, the Committee will still see the original versions of your documents if you submit new versions under Additional Information. 

Does the 20-35 page writing sample page limit include the bibliography?

No. The bibliography is not included in the 20-35 page writing sample.

I am having technical problems with my online application. What do I do?

Submit a request to Graduate Admissions (application login required).

GRE and TOEFL

Are GRE scores required for the Political Science PhD program?

Yes, GRE scores are required 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?

If you instructed ETS to send your test scores Stanford more than two weeks ago and your GRE or TOEFL scores are still shown as "Awaiting" on your Status Page, please submit a help request to Graduate Admissions. 

Important: it may take up to two weeks from the date you you asked ETS to send the scores for test scores to be "Received" on your Status Page.  Please do not request that ETS send scores again or contact Graduate Admissions to ask why your scores are listed as "Awaiting" if it has been less than two weeks since you submitted your application to Stanford. For example, if you sent your scores on December 1st, you can expect your test scores to appear as "Received" on your status page by December 15th.

If we haven't received official scores by the time the admissions committee begins review, we will consider your application with unofficial scores. This will not harm your chances of admission. We will, however, need to receive official scores from ETS before making an offer of admission.

Will my application be reviewed if my official GRE/TOEFL scores arrive after the deadline?

Yes. Any scores you self-report on the application are considered unofficial but sufficient for the initial review process. 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. We will need to receive official scores for all sections of the GRE from ETS before making an official offer of admission. 

However, your unofficial GRE/TOEFL scores for all sections of the tests must be included in your application by the application deadline. This means that you must have taken the GRE/TOEFL prior to the application deadline. If you are unable to submit unofficial test scores for all sections of the test by the application deadline, we recommend that you wait to apply until the next application cycle. 

I asked ETS to send my GRE scores in a previous year. Do I need to resubmit my GRE scores?

If you had ETS send scores to Stanford prior to June 1, 2022 you will need to resubmit them. 

My GRE/TOEFL scores are not recent. Will you accept them?

We follow ETS policies on score validity (five years for GRE scores, two years for TOEFL scores). Refer to Test Scores for the earliest test date Stanford considers to be valid for the current application cycle.

Can I list multiple sets of GRE/TOEFL scores on my application? 

Yes. List all GRE tests you took within the past five years that you wish to be considered by the admission committee. Do not enter “superscores” (a single entry that includes your highest section scores from multiple test dates). The application system will automatically display to the admission committee the highest score you earned in each section as well as all reported scores.

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 they contact?

They should contact the use the link in the recommendation request email they received when you registered them as a recommendation writer to request technical support. 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. As recommenders are required to respond to specific evaluation questions on the recommendation form, Interfolio or other letter services are not compatible with the online system. Please ask your recommenders to submit their letters directly using the online application system. Please remember that letters written specifically for your Stanford graduate program tend to be stronger than letters written for general use purposes.

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?

You may manage your recommenders on the same Recommendations page where you registered them. This includes sending reminder emails and changing recommenders. You continue to have access to this page after you submit your application.

To change one of your recommenders: on the Recommendations page of the application, click on the recommender’s name you wish to replace, then click Exclude at the bottom of the resulting popup window. You then will see the option to add a new recommender. The recommender you exclude will not receive an email notification.

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 four 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?

Letters of recommendation should come from academic or professional references who know you well and are qualified to evaluate your potential for graduate study. It is strongly recommended that at least one of these letters be from a university professor familiar with your academic work. Please see here for additional information.

Do my recommenders need to wait for me to submit my application in order to submit their letters?

No. Your recommenders may submit their letters before or after you submit your application.

Do I need to wait for my recommenders to submit their letters in order to submit my application?

No. Your recommenders may submit their letters before or after you submit your application.

Transcripts

Do I need to submit official transcripts at the time of application?  

No. Official transcripts are not required at the time of application. You must list and provide your unofficial transcript for every post-secondary institution where you were enrolled — or are currently enrolled — in an undergraduate or graduate degree program.

If you are offered admission to Stanford and accept the offer, you will be required to submit official transcripts that show your degree conferral.

Does Stanford want an updated transcript with my fall quarter/semester grades?

No, this is not necessary. Applicants may upload updated transcripts via their Status Page until the application deadline. 

Do I need to list schools I attended for less than one year or on a part-time basis?

If you were enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program at that school, then yes. If you are offered admission to Stanford and accept the offer, you will not be required to submit official transcripts for schools you attended for less than one academic year or on a part-time basis.

I just started a graduate program and will not have any grades at the time I apply to Stanford. Do I need to upload a transcript?

In lieu of a transcript, please upload a document that includes the courses that are in progress.

My transcripts are not in English. Will you accept them?

Yes, as long as you must submit original language records with official English translations. We accept translations issued by the institution or a professional translating service. Translations must be literal and complete versions of the original records.

My school’s grading system does not use a 4-point scale. How do I enter my grade point average in the online application?

You are asked to enter both GPA and GPA scale for each institution you list on the application. Enter your GPA as it appears on your transcript. Do not convert your GPA to a 4.0 scale if it's reported on a different scale.

 

International Students

Are there any special application requirements for international applicants?

Information for international applicants is available from Graduate Admissions.

Does my foreign degree qualify me for graduate study at Stanford?

Stanford’s assessment of a post-secondary degree is based on the characteristics of a national educational system, the type of institution you attended, and the level of studies you completed. Refer to the Eligibility page to view the minimum level of study you should have achieved from a recognized academic institution to enroll in graduate study at Stanford. Contact Stanford’s Office of Graduate Admissions (not the Department of Political Science) with any further questions.

Do I need to submit TOEFL scores?  

If your first language is not English, you are required to submit an official test score from the Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-Based Test (TOEFL iBT) to be eligible for admission, unless you are exempt or successfully apply for a waiver (see below). 

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. 

We accept the TOEFL iBT Home Edition and TOEFL iBT Paper Edition if you are unable to take the traditional TOEFL iBT test in a test center. If you take the Home Edition or Paper Edition, you may be required to complete additional English placement testing prior to enrollment.

Am I exempt from submitting TOEFL scores? 

You are automatically exempt from submitting a TOEFL score if you meet one the following criteria:

     A. You (will) have a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a regionally- accredited college or university in the United States (territories and possessions excluded).

     B. You (will) have an equivalent degree from an English-language university in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.

If you are offered admission, the official transcript must be received showing conferral of the degree from the qualifying institution or TOEFL exam scores will be required to enroll. 

Can I request a TOEFL waiver? 

You may request a TOEFL waiver in the online application if you (will) have a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a recognized institution in a country other than Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United Kingdom in which English was the language of instruction.

  • You will be asked to provide the URL for the page on your institution's official website stating the language of instruction.
  • If your institution offers instruction in languages other than English, you must upload an official statement from your institution certifying that your program was taught exclusively in English.

Your waiver request will be routed to Graduate Admissions after you submit your application. Allow up to 15 business days after submitting your application for a response. This will not delay the receipt of your application by your graduate program.

Please note that the department of Political Science does not evaluate TOEFL waiver requests. Direct all questions to Stanford's Office of Graduate Admissions. 

My TOEFL scores are not recent. Will you accept them? 

For the current application cycle, TOEFL scores from tests taken on or after September 1, 2020 are valid.  

May I submit IELTS scores instead of TOEFL scores?

No. We do not accept TOEFL Essentials scores or any other English proficiency test (e.g., IELTS, PTE) or coursework 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?

You are asked to enter both GPA and GPA scale for each institution you list on the application. Enter your GPA as it appears on your transcript. Do not convert your GPA to a 4.0 scale if it's reported on a different scale.

As an international student, am I eligible for funding?

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.

Contacts

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. Applicants are encouraged to read the Admissions FAQ and contact politicalscience [at] stanford.edu 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 invites admitted students to campus for a visit in April. This event is an excellent opportunity to talk to faculty and students about specific concerns or questions a prospective student may have.

Master's degree for doctoral students

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.