Where can I find information about your graduate program?
On this website, you will find information about our M.A. and Ph.D. program requirements for Political Science at UMSL, as well as information about applying to the program. General information about graduate admissions at UMSL can be found on the Graduate School site. Also please visit the UMSL Inquiry Page to request more information.
How can I contact the Graduate Director if I have specific questions about your program?
The graduate director is Dr. Todd Swanstrom, (314) 516-5259
What are your M.A. admissions requirements?
The Department of Political Science requires: an undergraduate degree with a background in the social sciences, official transcripts from all universities attended, the TOEFL for international students, a minimum 3.0 grade point average (GPA) overall and in the major on a 4.0 scale (students may be admitted on a restricted basis if the GPA falls between 2.75 and 2.99), and two letters of recommendation from persons qualified to evaluate the applicant’s recent academic work. The statement of purpose should indicate why the applicant wishes to pursue a graduate degree in the Master’s program. You have an option to submit a writing sample of your work that demonstrates your writing ability.
What are your Ph.D. admissions requirements?
The Department of Political Science requires: an undergraduate degree with a background in the social sciences, official transcripts from all universities attended, the TOEFL for international students, a minimum 3.0 GPA overall and in the major on a 4.0 scale, and three letters of recommendation from persons qualified to evaluate the applicant’s recent academic work. The statement of purpose should include a brief statement outlining your reason for pursuing a doctoral degree and your future plans. You have an option to submit a written sample of your work that demonstrates your writing ability.
What is the application deadline for the M.A. program?
The application deadline for Fall Semester admission is July 1, Summer Semester admission is May 1, and Spring/Winter Semester admission is December 1. Complete applications are processed as they are submitted. Applications that are not received by the posted date may delay admission until the following semester.
What is the application deadline for the Ph.D. program?
The application deadline for Fall Semester admission is February 15 and Spring/Winter Semester admission is October 15. Complete applications are processed as they are submitted. Applications that are not received by the posted date may delay admission until the following semester.
What is the application fee for your graduate program?
The application fee for the M.A. and Ph.D. programs is $50 ($40 for international students).
Can I apply online?
Yes. Go to the UMSL Apply for admission page.
Do you admit graduate students on a part-time basis?
Yes, students may be admitted on a full-time or part-time basis for the master’s and doctoral programs.
Do you admit graduate students for the Fall Semester only?
No. Master’s students can be admitted for the Fall, Winter/Spring or Summer Semesters. Ph.D. students can be admitted for the Fall or Winter/Spring Semesters. See the application deadlines for the M.A. and Ph.D. programs.
Do I have a chance of being offered admission to your program?
Our department does not pre-screen prospective applicants to make preliminary decisions regarding your admission. Applicants should review our website to decide if you meet the guidelines and if you feel you are a strong applicant, we suggest you apply.
Do you provide graduate students with funding?
Our department funds full-time Ph.D. students through graduate research assistantships and graduate teaching assistantships for the first four years of study on a competitive basis (subject to financial constraints). Fourth year funding is contingent on passing the General Examination and making excellent progress toward the Ph.D. Graduate assistantships provide a stipend, and tuition remission. In general, there is no funding available from the department for Master's students.
Do you provide funding for dissertation research and writing?
Funding may be available on a limited basis for students who are writing their dissertation. The Graduate School offers support for completion of the dissertation on a competitive basis.
Can I work and receive funding as a full-time Ph.D. student?
No. Funded students are expected to work twenty-hours per week for their assistantships.
How do I apply for funding?
Information and applications for various types of funding can be found on the Graduate School's website.
When do you make funding decisions?
Funding decisions are made at the time of application review. Most funding decisions are made for Fall admission. Funding for Winter/Spring admission is extremely limited.
Do you provide funding for students to attend professional conferences?
Yes. The Political Science Graduate Student Association provides funding to help offset travel expenses for Ph.D. students who are presenting scholarly papers at professional conferences. In special cases the Department of Political Science may also support such travel. The Department supports two Ph.D. students each summer to attend workshops provided by the Inter-University Consortium on Political Science Research (ICPSR) each summer
CURRICULUM AND COURSE WORK
Can I transfer credit for course work completed at another university?
The Department of Political Science and the Graduate School permit transfer credits into the program. Students wishing to transfer graduate credits toward the Ph.D. degree must first consult with the Political Science Department’s Graduate Director. If the Graduate Director approves, the applicant must then file a petition with the Graduate School. Transfer credits must be appropriate to the student’s program of study. The maximum transfer credit is 12 hours, except that 18 hours can be transferred from the MPPA program of UMSL to the Ph.D. program.
Can I take courses at other universities while enrolled in your graduate program?
Students enrolled in the Ph.D. program may take advantage of course offerings at Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis University, SIU-Edwardsville or other campuses of the University of Missouri system. For those who wish to concentrate in highly specialized areas, this cooperation expands the number and type of courses available to students in both programs. Students wishing to take courses that are not offered at UMSL must obtain the permission of the Graduate Director. In such cases, the fees charged are at the UMSL rates.
Can I take courses without being in a degree program in Political Science?
Applicants may apply as non-degree students, but they still must meet admissions requirements and deadlines. No credits taken as non-degree status may count as part of the residence requirement for a degree.
When are graduate classes held?
Graduate classes meet once a week. In order to facilitate graduate study by both full-time and part-time students, graduate courses are almost exclusively offered in the late afternoon or evenings.
How long does it take a student to get a Master’s degree or a Ph.D. in your program?
According to Graduate School rules, the maximum time allowed for completion of a master’s degree is six years after the first course enrollment. The maximum time allowed for completion of a doctoral degree is eight years after the first course enrollment.
How many courses do full-time and part-time M.A. and Ph.D. students take per semester?
Full-time M.A. and Ph.D. students usually take 9 hours (3 courses) per semester. Part-time M.A. and Ph.D. students usually take 3 hours (1 course) to 6 hours (2 courses) per semester.
Are distance learning courses offered in your graduate program?
I’m interested in teaching at the college or university level. How do you prepare doctoral students for teaching?
Funded doctoral students are assigned as teaching assistants. Teaching assistants gain invaluable experience in the classroom as discussion leaders for large lecture courses, grading and addressing students’ concerns about courses.
Will I have an opportunity to teach my own course as a doctoral student?
The Political Science Department is strongly committed to doctoral students (ABD only) gaining classroom experience by teaching their own courses, usually during the evenings. Doctoral students also teach as adjunct faculty at the many colleges and universities in the area.
The Ph.D. in political science prepares students for three career areas: (1) government leadership and management positions at the local, state, and federal levels (both for new employees and in-service employees); (2) careers in the private sector, particularly positions in public affairs, policy research, and governmental relations departments of corporations, as well as consulting firms and nonprofit organizations; and (3) research and teaching careers in academic institutions.