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School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs Graduate

Graduate Degrees in Political Science

The School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs offers the following degrees:

  • Ph.D. in Political Science
  • M.A. in Political Science (General)
  • M.A. in Political Science (Global Justice and Security Studies Certificate)

The Pullman campus awards the M.A. and Ph.D. in political science. Over the years, WSU has granted more than 225 M.A.’s and more than 100 Ph.D.’s in political science.

Our Ph.D. is designed to give students substantive flexibility in mapping out their program of study.  Students choose from one major foundational training area within which they will focus for their preliminary exams:

  • Institutions and Processes
  • Behavior and Psychology
  • Theory and Philosophy

Specialization Fields

  • American Politics
  • Global Politics
  • Public Policy/Public Administration

The foundational training area allows students flexibility in structuring their course loads  to take advantage of the areas of particular strength within our department, such as political psychology, global justice and security studies, philosophy, and gender, while building critical skills in research and methodology.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students demonstrate expertise in appropriate concepts, theories and emerging methodologies in Political Science *(and Criminal Justice).
  • Students demonstrate professional skills such as creating high quality curriculum vitae, learning above theories of teaching, ethics associated with human subjects research and how to get published in disciplinary based journals. Students present original research in peer-reviewed journals or in conference papers given at regional and national professional association meetings.
  • Students read and synthesize the literature in a variety of subfields in Political Science.
  • Students identify research questions and generate hypotheses that are appropriate to an original research problem.
  • Students gather, organize, analyze, and report data on an original research topic.
  • Students communicate research effectively in both written and oral forms.
  • Students receive effective mentoring from faculty leading to successful completion of graduate education in a timely manner.
  • Students are hired into positions in their desired field after graduation.

*for Global Justice and Security Studies

Admissions Information

The school recruits highly qualified students and admits a limited number of strong applicants. All students must apply to and be admitted into the Ph.D. program. Students entering with the B.A. degree obtain an M.A. after completing the matriculation exam in the second year.

The school does  offer a terminal M.A. in political science (general) and M.A. in political science (global justice & security studies certificate). The certificate program is practitioner-based and is intended for students seeking employment within the intelligence or defense communities. These M.A.’s do not lead to admission into the Ph.D. program.

Admission into both programs is granted in the fall semester only.

School Admissions & Applications Timeline

The school will do its best to review the applications received and notify all applicants in a timely manner. The deadline for admission applications is January 10; applicants will be notified of admission decisions before March 15. Students are encouraged to call the school if they have any questions regarding their application status.

To Apply

Please submit all required documents:

  1. An online application and fee to the Graduate School.
  2. An updated official college transcript showing your bachelor’s and/or master’s work sent to the Graduate School.
  3. A brief (1–2 pages) personal statement  addressing the student’s academic interest in political science, career objectives, and how their research interests fit the expertise of faculty and programs at WSU. This should be submitted to the Graduate School.
  4. Three (3) letters of recommendation submitted to the Graduate School.  Letters should come from people that can attest to your academic ability to succeed in a graduate program (i.e., professors).
  5. An official copy of the TOEFL Examination (required for international students only). Please send directly to the Graduate School.
  6. A writing sample submitted to the Graduate School

Frequently Asked Questions: Admissions

Is the GRE required?

The GRE is not required for those applying to the MA or PhD programs in Political Science.

Do you require a minimum GRE score for admission to the Ph.D. program?

No. We consider all aspects of your application in making admissions decisions.

I am an international student. Must I take the TOEFL or another English-language exam?

Applicants from Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Botswana, Canada, Guyana, Kenya, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Nigeria, and Trinidad and Tobago do not need to demonstrate English proficiency through an examination.

In addition, international students who have or will have graduated with a baccalaureate -level or higher degree from an accredited four-year U.S. or Canadian college or university within two years of the expected semester of enrollment at the WSU Graduate School are not required to submit English proficiency test scores, such as TOEFL scores.

All other international applicants must demonstrate a basic proficiency in English by submitting official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB) test scores. Scores must be less than two years old and sent directly to the Graduate School from the Educational Testing Service. The Educational Testing Service reporting code for Washington State University is 4705 (for the TOEFL only).

Do you require a minimum TOEFL score?

Yes, the paper-based minimum is 575, the computer-based minimum is 230, and the Internet-based minimum is 90.

Where should I send letters of reference?

You should not mail any letters of reference to WSU. When you fill out your online application through the Graduate School, you will be asked to provide contact information for those providing references. WSU will contact your references directly.

Should I send transcripts directly to PPPA?

No, you will submit transcripts to the Graduate School. Procedures for domestic students and international studies are provided at the Graduate School’s website.

Must I submit a separate funding application?

No, all applicants are considered for funding.

School Contact Information

Graduate Director

Dr. Michael Salamone
Phone: 509-335-7569

Graduate Coordinator:

Diane Scott
Phone: 509-335-2545

Useful Links:

Graduate School
Schedule of Classes

School of Politics, Philosophy, & Public Affairs
Washington State University
801 Johnson Tower
PO Box 644880
Pullman, WA 99164-4880

Main Phone Number: 509-335-2544
Fax Number: 509-335-7990

Graduate Handbook

The School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs Graduate Handbook was developed to use in conjunction with Graduate School Policies and Procedures.

Students are governed by the rules and regulations in the academic year they begin graduate work.

Handbooks by Year