Last updated March 30, 2022
As part of our series How to Fully Fund Your PhD, here is a list of universities that offer full funding for a Ph.D. in Political Science. These programs are designed to produce exceptional researchers and scholars in the fields of American Politics, Political Theory, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Economy, Political Science Research Methodology, Constitutional Studies, and more. Graduates from these programs typically go on to work at top universities, think tanks, consulting firms, and government and non-government organizations (NGOs), both domestically and abroad. With the average cost of a doctorate degree exceeding $100,000, gaining acceptance to a program with full funding is ideal.
“Full funding” is a financial aid package for full-time Ph.D. students that includes full tuition remission as well as an annual stipend or salary during the entire program, which is usually 3-6 years. Funding usually comes with the expectation that students will teach or complete research in their field of study. Not all universities fully fund their doctoral students, which is why researching the financial aid offerings of many different programs, including small and lesser-known schools both in the U.S. and abroad, is essential.
The ProFellow database for graduate and doctoral study also spotlights external funding opportunities for graduate school, including dissertation research, fieldwork, language study, and summer work experiences.
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(Chicago, IL): The University of Chicago provides full funding to all admitted doctoral students to its Ph.D. in Political Science Program. The funding package includes full tuition, an annual stipend, and health insurance, and is guaranteed for the duration of a student’s studies provided they remain in good academic standing.
(Washington, D.C.): The George Washington University Ph.D. in Political Science program provides five years of guaranteed funding. The program is designed to produce outstanding researchers and scholars at top universities, policy think tanks, consulting firms, and government institutions. Ph.D. students choose one major study: American Politics, International Relations, or Comparative Politics, and one minor study: Political Theory, Public Policy, or Research Methods.
(Cambridge, MA): The MIT Ph.D. in Political Science program aims to provide merit-based funding to all incoming doctoral students. The funding package is for five consecutive years with full tuition, health insurance, and a 9-month stipend. The program aims to produce new scholarly insights that improve the way governments and societies function and requires preparation in two of these major fields: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Models and Methods, Political Economy, and Security Studies.
(Minneapolis, MN): The University of Minnesota Ph.D. in Political Science program offers full funding to all incoming doctoral students. The funding provides five years of guaranteed financial support through fellowships, research and teaching assistantships, or graduate instructorships. Research specialties of the program include American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Methodology, Political Psychology (minor), Political Theory, and Political Economy.
(New York, NY): The NYU Ph.D. in Politics program offers full funding to all incoming students through MacCracken fellowships that guarantee five years of support, including tuition and a stipend. The program views teaching as a vital part of the doctoral degree, therefore students who participate in the teaching program are provided additional compensation for each teaching opportunity. There are no department-wide course requirements, but students must take at least three courses in each of at least two of these fields: American Politics, Political Theory, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Economy, and Methodology.
(Chapel Hill, NC): The UNC Ph.D. in Political Science program offers most students fellowships and assistantships to fund their academic studies and living expenses. These awards require ten to fifteen hours per week of service duties, which may include teaching, conducting recitation sections, or assisting a faculty member in research and/or teaching. After the first year, graduate students must demonstrate the ability to teach in English in order to be eligible for further financial support. The program’s focus is to prepare students for professional careers in political science at academic institutions, government agencies, and NGOs.
(Notre Dame, IN): The University of Notre Dame Department of Political Science provides guaranteed financial support to admitted students for five years. The funding package includes full tuition and a fellowship stipend. Additional funding is also available for students to pursue research and professional development, including covering costs associated with conference travel. The program also offers a joint Ph.D. in Political Science and Peace Studies that provides a full tuition scholarship, generous stipend, health insurance, and additional funding for research and travel.
(Stanford, CA): The Stanford Ph.D. in Political Science program offers a fully funded financial package for doctoral students for up to five years. The funding package covers the full cost of tuition and an additional amount for living expenses during the academic year. The latter amount comes in the form of a stipend during the first year and a combination of teaching and research assistantships during years 2-5. The Department also provides students with annual funds for professional development, health insurance fees, and a living stipend for the first two summers. The aim of Stanford’s Political Science Ph.D. program is to produce scholars, most of which go on to conduct research and teach at universities.
(Nashville, TN): The Vanderbilt Ph.D. in Political Science program provides full funding to all doctoral students for five years of study. The financial package includes a university tuition scholarship – a service-free award that covers all tuition costs, and a graduate award consisting of either a university fellowship, graduate teaching assistantship, graduate research assistantship, traineeships, or teacher training award. The program encourages individuals from diverse, under-represented populations to apply and aims to bring the most diverse, talented, and innovative students in the world to Nashville to study political science.
(St. Louis, MO): Washington University’s Ph.D. program in Political Science provides full funding to all incoming students. The funding package includes full tuition and a stipend for living expenses. The Political Science program is designed to prepare students for careers in academia and prides itself in successfully placing graduates in academic jobs. The program places about 90 percent of its Ph.D. graduates in jobs, most of them tenure-track positions.
Next step: Narrowing down the list of universities to apply to is important, and a critical factor in your decision should be your potential Ph.D. advisor. As a next step, we recommend that you learn how to find your ideal Ph.D. advisor.
© Victoria Johnson 2020, all rights reserved.