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Department of Political Science

College of Social Sciences and Public Policy

Application Process and Requirements

We hope you will apply for admission to our Doctoral Program. You do not need a Master’s degree to be admitted to the program. Students who enter without a Master’s degree in Political Science will obtain it after completing coursework in our program and proceed right to the dissertation stage to complete the Ph.D. Please note the department does not admit directly into the M.S. program in political science; students wishing to earn this degree from the department are directed to our Applied American Politics and Policy program.

The application process has two parts, a department application with supporting materials and a University application with supporting materials. Both parts must be completed before we can consider your application. The department application and supporting materials will be uploaded as supporting documents to your electronic University application. You will be required to submit the following through to Office of Admission using their electronic application procedures.

During the application process, feel free to contact the Department’s Academic Coordinator, Elisa Kuchvalek (ekuchvalek@fsu.edu), to check on the status of your file, or to pose any questions or concerns you may have.

Electronic Application Submission Requirements

1. Fill out the University application form online using the following link. You will be provided links to the department materials you need to submit along with the University application.

2. Department Application: Department Application Form 

3. Letters of Recommendation (3 Required): All requests for letters of recommendation should be submitted electronically within the application. The department does not accept non-electronic versions of letters of recommendation. You must enter the names and email addresses of each letter writer in the appropriate place in the University application.

4. Resume/Curriculum Vitae: Please submit a current resume/curriculum vitae with the application.

5. Statement of Purpose: The Statement of Purpose should not exceed 500 words and should describe your interest in pursuing a doctoral degree in political science, your qualifications, and your long-term career goals.

6. Assistantship Application (Optional): The application for the LeRoy Collins Fellowship in State Politics and Policy should consist of a 500-word statement indicating why you wish to hold the fellowship. All students who submit applications by the departmental deadline of January 15th will receive full consideration for departmental funding during admissions review, and no additional funding consideration application is required.

7. Unofficial GRE Score Report (Optional): To expedite processing of applications, the Department will accept a scanned copy of the GRE score report from the applicant.

8. Unofficial Transcripts (Optional): To expedite processing of applications, the Department will accept a scanned copy of student transcripts. Students are still required to submit official transcript documents to the University Office of Admissions. Students completing the baccalaureate degree from Florida State University are not required to submit transcripts, as these are accessible through the University student information database.

9. Writing Sample (Optional): The writing sample should not exceed 2,000 words and should be submitted as either a .doc or .pdf file.

Decisions about admission are based on Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, undergraduate and graduate work already completed, the applicant’s own statement of interests and goals, and three letters of recommendation. Those interested in applying the LeRoy Collins Fellowship in State Politics and Policy should also include a 500 word statement indicating why they wish to hold the fellowship.

The personal statement of interests and goals as well as the fellowship statement should be as specific as possible about the topics within political science you would like to study, and your career goals upon receiving your degree. Feel free to add other information you would like the faculty to know about you.

Official Paper Submissions

GRE and TOEFL score reports must be sent directly to the University's Office of Admissions (FSU's code for these examinations is 5219), as well as the required application fee. An OFFICIAL copy of transcripts from all previous universities/colleges attended must be submitted, one set to each to the following address:

Office of Graduate Admissions
Florida State University
P.O. Box 3062400
Tallahassee, FL 32306-2400

Students having earned a bachelor's degree from FSU are not required to submit paper copies of transcripts. 

Admission Standards

Admission to the Doctoral program Political Science is granted only in the fall term. The University's deadlines for fall admission are July 1 for U.S. citizens, and May 1 for international applicants. The Department's deadline is January 15 for guaranteed consideration for funding. Applications received after January 15th will be considered for funding and admissions as positions become available.

Decisions about admission are based on Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores and grades in undergraduate work already completed, as well as letters of recommendation and the applicant’s own statement of interests and goals. The Department seeks a target score of 155 or higher on the Quantitative section, 160 or higher on the Verbal section, and 4.0 or higher on the Analytical Writing section of the GRE. Applicants scoring below 146 on the Quantitative section, 156 on the Verbal section, and 3.5 on the Analytical Writing sections of the GRE will generally not be considered by the Departmental Admissions Committee, except under exceptional circumstances. Scores for examinations taken under the older GRE scoring format will be considered using comparable standards. Occasional deviations from these standards are allowed for applicants who possess exceptional qualities that are not reflected in these criteria. Because admission is competitive, no particular GRE or GPA guarantees acceptance. The program requires that international students complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 600 (250 computer-based, 100 internet-based). The target for admission is 10-15 new students per year. This keeps the program small, thereby allowing for close collaboration between graduate students and faculty.

All applicants who intend to pursue a Ph.D. in the department and whose files are complete by January 15th are assured consideration for department funding in the form of a teaching or research assistantship. Funds may not be available for even the most accomplished applicants after that date. Assistantships are awarded competitively, not only to give financial assistance but also to provide outstanding students with experience in teaching and research. When an assistantship is offered, the Department expects to fund it for five years, if the recipient makes continued satisfactory progress toward the doctoral degree. Criteria for continued funding include GPA; faculty evaluations; progress in the program; and, for international students, English language proficiency.

Verbal

Year 25th %ile Median 75th %ile # Offered Admission
2016 - 2017 160 162 165 16
2015 - 2016 159 161 163 20
2014 - 2015 160 161 164 21
2013 - 2014 161 165 166 20
2012 - 2013 159 164 165 23
2011 - 2012 585 (158) 620 (161) 640 (162) 25
2010 - 2011 565 (157) 620 (161) 675 (164) 25
2009 - 2010 567 (157) 600 (160) 670 (164) 18
2008 - 2009 550 (156) 610 (160) 660 (164) 31
2007 - 2008 540 (156) 610 (160) 645 (162) 20

Quantitative

Year 25th %ile Median 75th %ile # Offered Admission
2016 - 2017 154 160 165 16
2015 - 2016 152 156 160 20
2014 - 2015 152 156 159 21
2013 - 2014 154 156 158 20
2012 - 2013 154 157 161 23
2011 - 2012 595 (148) 640 (151) 740 (159) 25
2010 - 2011 645 (151) 710 (155) 750 (159) 25
2009 - 2010 635 (150) 685 (153) 725 (156) 18
2008 - 2009 680 (153) 720 (156) 770 (161) 31
2007 - 2008 673 (152) 705 (155) 728 (157) 20

GPA

Year 25th %ile Median 75th %ile # Offered Admission
2016 - 2017 3.58 3.82 3.95 16
2015 - 2016 3.52 3.71 3.88 20
2014 - 2015 3.66 3.88 3.94 21
2013 - 2014 3.69 3.85 3.94 20
2012 - 2013 3.70 3.77 3.97 23
2011 - 2012 3.57 3.67 3.86 25
2010 - 2011 3.45 3.74 3.94 25
2009 - 2010 3.49 3.64 3.96 18
2008 - 2009 3.50 3.71 3.86 31
2007 - 2008 3.36 3.72 3.90 20

Outstanding applicants will be considered for the Department’s highly competitive and prestigious Collins Fellowships or nominated by the Department for College or University fellowships. Additional support for summer teaching is also available on a competitive basis.


English Language Competency

The Department values the enrichment provided by international students in the program, and understands when international students are not fluent in English upon their arrival at FSU. But, since English language proficiency is essential for the student’s full participation and ultimate success, those accepting admission must be willing to undertake, if necessary, the additional expense and effort required to achieve a sufficient level of competence. There are various resources available at FSU for improving English language proficiency. Classes taken to improve English competency cannot be counted toward degree requirements. Spoken English proficiency is required for funded students beyond the first year and they may be asked to demonstrate their abilities in that area.

Additional Information

All documents for the application (with the exception of transcripts mailed to the University Office of Admissions) should be submitted in electronic format via the admissions application system. THE DEPARTMENT WILL NOT ACCEPT ANY HARD COPIES OF ADMISSIONS APPLICATION DOCUMENTATION, INCLUDING RECOMMENDATION LETTERS. Please do not mail any admissions documents to the Department of Political Science, as these will not be considered. All materials should be submitted prior to January 15th in order to guarantee full consideration. All documents listed above that are not indicated as "optional" are required to complete your University graduate school application for the doctoral program. Missing materials will delay the processing of your graduate school application. Meeting minimum standards is not a guarantee of admission to the program. The department has a limited number of positions available per year, which are awarded competitively-based on a comprehensive review of all application materials.

For any additional information, please contact:

Elisa Kuchvalek, Academic Coordinator
533 Bellamy Bldg.
P.O. Box 3062230
Tallahassee, FL 32306-2230
Phone: 850/644-5727
FAX: 850/644-1367
Email: ekuchvalek@fsu.edu