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 politicalscience [at] stanford.edu (subject: Admissions%20Enquiry) .

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.

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

Vice Provost of Graduate Education (VPGE)

Knight-Hennessy Scholars

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.