Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find information about admission and the graduate program?

We encourage you to explore our graduate program web pages where you should be able to find much of the information for which you are looking.

Once admission decisions are sent out, you will receive initial information about funding. The Graduate Program Coordinator and the Graduate Division Website provide additional information on the cost of attending UCSB and financial aid opportunities.

Who should I contact for more information?

If you are looking for general information beyond what can be found on our website, please contact our Graduate Program Coordinator, Carol Conley by email (conley@polsci.ucsb.edu) or phone (805-893-3626).

The Department's Admission Committee Chair works with a faculty committee along with the Department's Graduate Advisor to make admission and financial aid decisions for incoming students. If you have specific questions regarding admission procedures as they relate to your case, please contact the Admission Committee Chair, Professor Eric Smith. Professor Smith can be reached via email (smith@polsci.ucsb.edu) or phone (805-893-6160 ).

We also encourage you to contact individual faculty members in your area or areas of research. A full listing of faculty with contact information can be found on our online directory.

Is there a minimum GRE score for admission?

We judge each applicant by his/her total merits and circumstances. Standardized test scores are viewed in relationship to the letters of recommendation, GPA as recorded on transcripts, and a focused/well-written statement of purpose. Although the department does not have a specific minimum GRE requirement, we wish to ensure that our students are adequately prepared to pursue graduate work. Higher scores may increase your chance of admission and for funding consideration.

What is your policy on TOEFL/IELTS scores?

According to the UCSB Graduate Division, applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the TOEFL or the IELTS. Exemptions or exceptions to this requirement will be considered for those students who have completed an undergraduate or graduate education at an institution whose primary language of instruction is English. Proof must be provided by sending the final/official transcripts associated with the degree.

The campus minimum TOEFL score for consideration is 550 when taken the paper based test (PBT) and 80 when taking the internet based test (IBT). The department requires a minimum score of 600 for the written test or 80 for the internet based test. Our minimum IELTS score for consideration is an Overall Band Score of 7.

What is your admission rate and how many students usually receive funding support?

Each year, we receive about 90 applications. We usually admit up to 1/3 of those, but only about 10 applicants usually receive initial financial offers (offers are a combination of fellowships and/or Teaching Assistantships).

In the first year, the size of a student's financial offer is dependent on his/her relative merits among the admission class and can range from 0% to 100% of coverage of educational need. The majority of our incoming students receive something in-between the two.

After the first year, the department is able to offer a combination of teaching assistanships and tuition/fee fellowships for students in good academic standing (usually about 90% or more of our students).

Except for a few central fellowship recipients, we are unable to provide full scholarships for our students (domestic or international). Many of our international students provide their own funding (e.g., Fulbright, government scholarships).

What is the size of your entering class?

The entering class size varies between about 10-15 students per year.

How many of the incoming students are international students?

The number of international students in each cohort varies. In general, about 1/4 of our admitted students have an international background.