Ph.D. Admissions

Preparing to Apply

Before starting the application process please read the information about the graduate program requirements and read our Frequently Asked Questions. You may also find the Guide to Getting Into Grad School helpful. 

All questions regarding graduate admissions should be directed to

The principal goal of the Stanford Ph.D. program in political science is the training of scholars. Most students who receive doctorates in the program do research and teach at colleges or universities. We offer courses and research opportunities in a wide variety of fields in the discipline, including American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Theory, and Political Methodology. The 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.  

Admission to the graduate program in political science is highly selective. About twelve to fifteen students, chosen from a large pool of applicants, enter the program each year. 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. 

Graduate Admissions FAQ

Please visit our list of frequently asked questions.

Pathways to PhD Program

Current PhD students in Stanford’s Political Science department are organizing a Pathways to PhD program to foster inclusion and belonging in political science academia. There will be virtual information sessions on October 18 and 19 as well as a mentorship program for those applying to a PhD program in the current cycle. Anyone with an interest in Political Science PhD programs is welcome. Please see here for additional information and to apply.


You may also find the following links useful if you have general questions about student life and graduate study at Stanford University: