How to Apply?

Why Wisconsin? | How to Apply | Intellectual Life | Living in Madison | FAQs | Dual Program | Funding| Mentorship | Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

The Department of Political Science requires that all application materials be submitted electronically through the Graduate School’s application web site. 

All application materials listed below must be received no later than December 15 in the year prior to your planned enrollment into the program. Late applicants will not be considered for admission.

Please also review the Graduate School’s website Application Process at a Glance for an overview of the application process.

The Graduate School sets the minimum admission requirements for all prospective graduate students.  The standards of the Department of Political Science are higher than the Graduate School minimum requirements. All elements of the application are reviewed holistically, but it may be useful to know that students admitted to our program in 2017 had the following average scores:

  • GPA of 3.8
  • TOEFL exam (if required) iBT score of 108.

Department of Political Science – Application Materials Checklist:
Please review the checklist before you start the Graduate School application to ensure that you have electronic formats of all documents.

___ Statement of Reasons for Graduate Study, including your field(s) of interest.
___ Curriculum vitae (c.v.) or resume to be uploaded into the application.
___ Three letters of recommendation, submitted electronically.  The references identified in your online application will be sent a recommendation request by email. This email will include your name and a link to the electronic recommendation form. Contact your references in advance so that they can expect your request for recommendation.  The request can be sent at any time providing you meet the December 15th deadline. You are able to change references or send a reminder through your application.
___ Complete the Supplemental Application section of the online application.
___ Writing sample and abstract to be uploaded into the application.
Each applicant is required to submit either a research paper or thesis chapter that demonstrates your research, writing, and analytical abilities. The document should also include a research abstract of no more than 600 words (roughly one single-spaced page) that indicates the central question, arguments, data sources, methods, and conclusions of the research paper or thesis chapter being submitted.
___ Scanned copies of official transcripts or academic records from each institution attended to be uploaded into the application.
Documents should be issued by the school with the official seal/stamp and official signature. International academic records must be in the original language accompanied by an official English translation. See FAQs for additional details.
scores (if required)

Please note: GRE scores are NOT REQUIRED for future application cycles. The admissions committee will not review GRE scores even if they are included in the application.

All materials are submitted electronically through the application. If this is not possible, or you have other questions about the application process, please contact the Graduate Program Coordinator, Erin Pankow (