Apply to the Graduate Program

Application Process

Notice: The 2016 Graduate Application will open July 7.

Note: If you are an international student please visit the graduate school web page for comprehensive information about the application process here.

Most of the application procedures are spelled out in the Graduate School's paper or online application, but please note the following:

1. The Political Science Department application deadline for Fall 2016 is December 14, 2015.

2. Transcript(s), GRE scores, and other supporting documentation that was not uploaded online should be sent directly to:

Graduate Admissions
University of Colorado Boulder
3100 Marine Street, Suite A122
553 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0553

For overnight or express mail please send to:

Graduate Admissions
University of Colorado Boulder
3100 Marine Street - 553UCB
Bldg RL3, Suite A122
Boulder, CO 80303-1058

The Graduate Admissions phone number is (303) 492-6301.

International Applicants: please click here to be directed to the admissions webpage. Transcript(s), GRE, TOEFL or IELTS exam scores, and other documentation that was not uploaded online should be sent directly to:

Office of Admissions/International
University of Colorado Boulder
3100 Marine Street Suite A122
65 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0065 U.S.A.

For overnight or express mail please send to:

Office of Admissions/International
University of Colorado Boulder
3100 Marine Street
65 UCB
Bldg RL3 Suite A122
Boulder, CO 80303-1058 U.S.A.

3. We require scores only from the standard GRE (in addition to TOEFL or IELTS for International applicants). Please send scores to Institution Code: 4841. No department code is needed.

For more information please click on the following link or send an e-mail to, or contact Rachael Lovendahl, Department of Political Science -UCB 333, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309 (phone 303-492-7872). See also Applicant FAQs on our department page.

Step 1: Preparation and Submission

The admissions committee considers the following as minimal criteria for admission:

1. A cumulative undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 (out of 4.0) from an accredited university in the United States, or equivalent credentials from a non-U.S. institution, or a graduate cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale.

2. A cumulative score on the Graduate Record Examination of at least 300 (verbal + quantitative), with a score of at least 153 on the verbal examination. (This equates to 1100 and 500, respectively, under the old scoring system.) Students not meeting the GRE requirements are advised to resubmit their application after retaking the examinations and obtaining satisfactory scores.

3. All international applicants are required to meet a minimum standard of English proficiency. If you have completed at least one year of full-time study at a U.S. institution (or at an institution in a country where English is the native language) at the time you apply and within two years from your desired admission term, you may be exempt from the english language proficiency exam. This can be confirmed by your transcripts.

4. For review and decision purposes you are required to upload an unofficial copy of your transcript(s) in the online application. We require one copy of the scanned transcript from each undergraduate and graduate institution that you attended. This includes community colleges, summer sessions, and extension programs. While credits from one institution may appear on the transcript of a second institution, unofficial transcripts must be submitted from each institution, regardless of the length of attendance, and whether or not courses were completed.  Failure to list and submit transcripts from all institutions previously attended is considered to be a violation of academic ethics and may result in the cancellation of your admission or dismissal from the university. ONLY after you are recommended for admission will you need to provide official transcripts. Official transcripts must be issued to this University or Department. They may not be issued to the student. Instructions for Uploading Unofficial Transcripts to Your Application.

5. Three letters of recommendation from members of the profession who can judge the student's ability to participate in a graduate program.

6. A statement of professional and academic goals and intent. This should be 2-3 pages double-spaced in length.

7. Two of the primary documents you will need to apply:

Please note that missing information or credentials delay application processing and may affect your chances for admission. Incomplete applications cannot be reviewed until the necessary items are received. Most items sent by mail typically require two weeks to reach the admissions office, as well as additional time to be processed.

Step 2: Admission Decisions

The annual deadline for the submission of completed applications is December 15th. The Graduate Studies Committee, a committee comprised of five faculty members (including the Director of Graduate Studies) and a graduate student representative, serves as the admissions committee for the graduate program. This committee reads and evaluates all applications that arrive by the deadline. Admission decisions normally fall into three categories: rejection, unconditional admission and provisional admission. Provisional admission, which is the exception rather than the rule, requires the admitted student to fulfill certain individually tailored requirements.

Step 3: Financial Assistance

Recommendations regarding financial aid are also made by the admissions committee. Offers for employment as a graduate teaching assistant are generally made at the time of admission though assistantships do become available over the summer. Students admitted but not initially awarded funding often receive assistantships on a semester-by-semester basis. A graduate teaching assistantship includes a stipend, a tuition waver, and partial health insurance. As a condition of funding all students appointed as graduate assistants are required to (a) take the two-part teaching seminar (namely, PSCI 7008 and PSCI 7018) and (b) complete a minimum of nine credit hours per semester. To be considered for continued funding students must continue to make satisfactory progress in the program (see below).

Additional financial opportunities are available in the form of scholarships, grants, and work-study awards. Each year the Graduate Committee nominates the best applicants to compete for the university's Chancellor's Fellowship, a prestigious award won by three Political Science applicants in the past 8 years. Students are also eligible for work-study appointments; these appointments are based on financial need. To qualify for work study students must write to the financial aid office (Campus Box 106, Telephone number: 303-492-5091) and complete the FAFSA. There is no charge for this evaluation of financial need. This form should be filled out as early in the application process as possible to ensure full consideration.

Step 4: Acceptance

If the student is accepted to the program of graduate study in Political Science it will be necessary for a written acceptance to be mailed to the Department of Political Science and for the "intent to register" form to be completed and returned to the Graduate School. Prior to enrolling, each new student must pay a $200 deposit to the university. This deposit will be refunded at the termination of the student's degree program.