Ph.D. Program FAQ

When is the application available?

The application for Fall 2018 is available as of September 2017. The Political Science Department accepts applications for students to enter in the Fall quarter only.

When is the application deadline?

The online application is due on December 15th. Supporting materials should arrive on or before December 15th or the following Monday if December 15th falls on a weekend.

How do I request an application for graduate programs?

Our application for graduate admission is available on-line at www.grad.ucla.edu

Where should I send my supporting materials?

Mail to:

ATTN: Graduate Advisor
UCLA Political Science Department
BOX 951472, 4289 Bunche
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1472

If you use expedited services (e.g., FedEx) omit the Box number.

Am I required to take any standardized examinations to apply for the graduate program?

Applicants pursing an advanced degree must take the GRE General Test, offered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The GRE should be taken prior to the program’s application deadline, allowing ETS at least 14 business days to report the scores to admissions. For GRE information, please visit www.gre.org.

International applicants whose first language is not English must provide certification that they are proficient. Such applicants must submit scores received on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as part of their application. International applicants who hold a bachelor’s or higher degree from a university located in the United States or in another country in which English is the spoken language and the medium of instruction, or who have completed at least two years of full-time study at such an institution, are exempted from the TOEFL or IELTS exam.

What are the Institution and Department codes for GRE and TOEFL tests?

The institution code for UCLA for the GRE is 4837; the department code is 1902. This institution code for UCLA for the TOEFL is 4837; the department code is 89.

 

Can I send my supporting materials before I submit the online application?

Yes.

What if one or two items in my supporting materials (e.g., a recommendation letter) arrive after the deadline?

You should carefully plan the timing of your application, including making sure that supporting materials arrive by the December 15th deadline. If one letter is missing, your application will be considered incomplete. All other supporting materials must be in our possession by the deadline (December 15th) for your application to be considered.

Can I send more than three letters?

Yes, but note that quantity does not substitute for quality and that three letters will suffice.

 

How long should my writing sample be?

A minimum of 5 pages and a maximum of 20-25 pages with citations, double-spaced, and typed.

What kind of writing sample would be best?

The faculty use the writing sample to assess your writing skills, analytical ability, and creativity. You should pick a piece of writing that best demonstrates these.

What should I do if I do not have a writing sample?

You must write an academic essay on a topic of your choice of at least 5 pages double-spaced and typed.

May I send a co-authored paper?

No.

May I send more than one writing sample?

No.

Are there any prerequisites required to apply?

There are no prerequisite or specific courses required to apply to our graduate program in Political Science. All courses are taken once you are admitted.

Is an interview required for admission?

No.

When are decisions made?

Admissions decisions are usually made by mid-February.

What is the Minimum GPA?

3.0

Which GPA should I report on the application?

Compute your GPA for your junior and senior year, i.e., the last 60 semester units, or the last 90 quarter units, completed in undergraduate status. Use a four-point system (A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1). Ignore pluses and minuses, unless the grade points are clearly stated on your transcript. If your school uses another system that cannot be converted to a four-point GPA, leave the GPA boxes blank. This applies to most international institutions. We will calculate your GPA when we receive your transcripts.

What parts of the application materials are given more weight?

We do not weigh any part of the individual application nor do we use formulas to make decisions. All applications will be reviewed and rated using our own criteria and standards. We use a holistic approach to arrive at decisions.

Can the application fee be waived and if so how do I obtain a waiver?

Waivers of the $105.00 application fee are available for applicants who a) participate(d) in one of the these programs or (b) demonstrate financial need as described below.

Program Participation

Participants in the following programs are eligible for fee waivers.  In the application, on the Plans for Graduate Study page, select one or more of the programs in which you participated and upload a letter from the program director confirming your participation.  

California Alliance for Minority Participation (CAMP)

California State University (CSU) Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholars Program

Florida A&M University Graduate Feeder Scholars Program (FAMU GFSP)

Gates Millennium Scholars

Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP)

McNair Scholars

Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC)

Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS)

Research Initiative for Science Enhancement (MBRS RISE)

Summer Programs for Undergraduate Research (SPUR)

UC- HBCU Initiative

UC Leadership through Advanced Degrees (UC LEADS)

Need-based Fee Waivers
Waivers of UCLA's application fee are available for U.S. citizens and Permanent Residents, an others who meet the following criteria.

Are currently enrolled in a college or university and receive need-based financial aid (if not a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident, this financial aid must come from the state of California) and submit a statement from your Financial Aid officer confirming all of the above and stating that payment of UCLA's $105.00 application fee would be a financial hardship.

If you meet these criteria, select Fee Waiver in the application, upload the statement from your Financial Aid officer, and submit the application.

DO NOT submit income tax returns, unemployment documents, copies of your FAFSA Expected Family Contribution or other financial estimates; these cannot be accepted as documentation of eligibility for a fee waiver.

Do you accept applications for winter and/or spring admission?

No. We only review applications once a year for fall admission.

Will you accept/consider students who did not major in Political Science?

Yes.

Can I enroll in to the Graduate program on a part-time basis?

No. The graduate program requires full-time enrollment, which constitutes at least three courses or 12 units per quarter. Graduate courses are offered during the day and students who are enrolled are assumed to be available on a full-time basis.

Students should be aware that graduate fees are assessed per quarter and not on per unit basis.

May I apply if I only want to get the M.A. degree?

No. Our highly selective graduate program is devoted only to persons who seek the Ph.D. degree. We are seeking those who aspire to careers in research and university-level teaching. The master’s degree is earned as part of the process of completing the requirements for the Ph.D.

Do I need an M.A. or M.S. degree before I can apply for your Ph.D. program?

No.

May I pursue a doctoral degree without pursuing the M.A. degree from UCLA?

No. Our students must complete the M.A. as part of the requirements for the Ph.D. If you have an M.A. degree in Political Science from another institution, please read the next item.

Will I have to get another M.A or repeat M.A. requirements if I already have an M.A. degree?

You may petition to apply a maximum of 6 courses from your previous program to our course requirements. The petition, accompanied by transcripts and syllabi, is reviewed by faculty in our department. If you receive approval for six courses, the number of course you must take will be reduced. You are still required to satisfy all other program requirements.

Will my previous M.A. course work count?

If you completed and received your M.A. degree, please see the previous item. If you have taken graduate courses but did not complete your M.A. degree, you can petition to transfer two courses or 8 units towards your program of study.

Is there a preference for students who already have received M.A. degrees over those with B.A.s?

No. Admission is based on a holistic judgment by a committee of faculty on the applicant’s potential for graduate work.

How can I fulfill the Foreign Language Requirement?

Students are required to satisfy the language requirement in one of the following ways:

  1. 1) Documenting satisfactory completion of two full years of coursework in a foreign language at college level;
  2. 2) Passing a language proficiency examination deemed appropriate by the department;
  3. 3) If research methodology is more useful to the student than a foreign language, the requirement can be met by taking three quantitative methods courses at the P.S. 200B level or above. All courses must be graded.

Students must pass their language proficiency requirement before advancing to candidacy and not later than the 15th quarter in program.

How does resident status affect my finances?

California residents pay only in-state registration fees. U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are not California residents must pay non-resident tuition in the first year in addition to out-of-state registration fees. However, they can be reclassified as California residents for tuition purposes after the first year and if approved, will no longer be charged nonresident tuition. For more information about this, go to http://www.registrar.ucla.edu/Fees-Residence/Residence-Requirements. International students cannot become California residents for tuition purposes and must continue to pay non-resident tuition until they advance to Ph.D. candidacy (i.e., until they have completed all course and program requirements except the dissertation). Thereafter, there will be a 100% reduction of non-resident tuition (but not of registration fees) for a total of three years. International students with external funding that will cover non-resident tuition should make this clear in their application.

What makes an applicant competitive in the selection process?

The ideal applicant ranks uniformly high on all indicators (GRE scores, grade point average, recommendations from faculty, stature of undergraduate institution, the quality of written work, and the persuasiveness of the statement of purpose) and shows exceptional promise of success in our program and as a future political scientist. Decisions are based on merit, promise, and fit with the program.

How can I contact faculty?

All faculty are listed on the website of the Department Political Science. They may be reached via e-mail or phone.

Do I need to contact a faculty member to sponsor or support my application?

No. It will be important for you to be familiar with the department faculty and their scholarly interests to better gauge their interests and your fit with the program.

Can I pursue interest X in your program?

The research interests and publications by our faculty, as listed on our web site, will give you an idea which specialties are well represented in our department. Please read the list of faculty and their interests to get a sense of the research activities of our faculty.

Are all students funded?

The department’s current goal is provide some funding to all entering students. However, this may be limited by the varying resources obtained and/or received by the department for graduate student support.

How is funding allocated?

All students who are admitted are considered for department-funded awards and campus-wide fellowship programs for which they are eligible and/or for which they applied. Decisions are made based on merit and need, with merit the primary criterion. The department determines annually what kind of support packages to offer and at what level. An application for department-funded awards (stipend, fees, tuition, and assistantships) is not necessary in order to be considered. Campus-wide awards require an application for consideration and nomination. Please see Graduate Student Financial Support for more information (http://www.grad.ucla.edu/asis/entsup/finsup.htm)

Are there opportunities to teach at the University?

Most of our students will have an opportunity to be a teaching assistant (TA) within the department as part of their graduate education.

What is expected of teaching assistants in your department?

Teaching assistants in our department are appointed at 50% time and are expected, on average, to work 20 hours per week during the quarter to carry out their TA responsibilities. Typically these responsibilities include attending the lectures of the course to which they are assigned, holding three discussion sections with an average section enrollment of 25 students, grading papers and exams, and other duties as determined by the needs of the course and the instructor.

Are there opportunities for research assistantships?

Yes. Some professors have research funding that allows them to employ research assistants. Our graduate students can also explore opportunities with faculty in other departments or research units on campus. There is no central job bulletin board for open research assistant position. Students interested in research assistantships should inquire with individual faculty and campus research centers directly.

Are registration fees and/or tuition waived for Teaching Assistants (TAs) or Graduate Student Researchers (GSRs)?

Students employed as TAs at the typical level of 50% time receive fee remissions that cover educational and registration fees as well as mandatory health insurance premiums. Students are responsible for paying the remaining miscellaneous fees and for non-resident tuition (if applicable.)  Similarly, students employed as GSR’s at 25% time or greater generally receive fee remissions, but must pay their own non-resident tuition.

Can I work full-time while pursuing graduate studies?

Graduate students are allowed to work no more than 50% time on campus, or the equivalent of 20 hours per week. Appointments in academic apprentice personnel titles (TAs, GSRs) cannot exceed 18 quarters of which no more than 12 quarters can be as a TA. We do not recommend that our students work full-time off campus. It is difficult if not impossible to work full-time and simultaneously attend classes and complete course work.

Where do your graduate students live?

Entering students may be given priority for spaces in the Weyburn Terrace Housing Complex. The department has a limited number of guaranteed spaces each year and can nominate entering student for them. After the first two years, most graduate students move to off-campus rentals within 5-7 miles from campus. UCLA also has other off-campus apartment complexes for single students and students with families for which graduate students can apply on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information on UCLA apartments go to: www.housing.ucla.edu. This site has a link to UCLA’s Community Housing Office (http://www.cho.ucla.edu) that offers listings of private off-campus housing, including rental vacancies and posted roommate notices, and provides useful general information about neighborhoods.