Graduate Program


The Department of Political Science offers flexible programs of graduate study leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree. Our aim is to provide the highest quality graduate training for students who go on to academic teaching and research positions, and to non-academic careers in the public and private sectors.

Our graduate students benefit from an active, engaged faculty, extensive methodological training, a departmental focus on inter-disciplinary approaches, and close work with a faculty mentor via our apprenticeship model of faculty-student relationships. Graduate students are involved in all areas of faculty research.

UC Santa Barbara and the Department of Political Science is deeply committed to recruiting and supporting a diverse graduate student cohort and to developing scholarship, leadership, and professionalism of graduate students from all backgrounds including underrepresented minorities, first generation college students, students who identify as LGBTQ, women, veterans, disabled students, or any other students from non-traditional backgrounds.

Our Ph.D. program combines rigorous training in research methods, breadth of coursework across the discipline, and flexibility through a comparatively large set of options for qualifying fields. Beginning in Fall of 2018 an updated set of new requirements will be in effect. In the new requirements, students will train for their first field in a traditional area: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, or Political Theory.  For their second field, they may train in another traditional area, in Environmental Politics, the Politics of Identity, or in special cases another subfield.  Students also take breadth coursework outside their first and second fields; this may take the form of a third field or a range of courses across fields other than than their first and second. 

Approximately 55 students from all over the world are enrolled in the Department's graduate program. This ratio of four students per professor permits extensive contact and mentoring by the faculty. A listing of students currently enrolled in our graduate program can be found on the student directory.

Alumni and current students are invited to connect with one another through the MA/PhD LinkedIn group.


Graduate Student Resources

Graduate Student Department Resources

In addition to each student's advisor, two helpful resources are the Graduate Program Advisor, Professor Amit Ahuja, and the Graduate Program Coordinator, Kathryn Ficke.

Professor Benjamin J. Cohen serves as the Placement Advisor for graduate students.  His role is to provide guidance to students who are looking for both academic and non-academic jobs.  As students enter the job market, Professor Cohen will help guide students in searching for appropriate jobs and strategies for getting them.  He will also advise on cover letters, CVs, and job talks.

The department offers several opportunities for professional development through the PS 595 series, which features professional skills forums and talks of interest to graduate students.  

Graduate Student Campus Resources

Career and Professional Development
The Graduate Division wants to provide all graduate students wtih the resources to be successful in securing a satisfying and rewarding career. There are several online resources available through the Career & Professional Development section of their website.

For Teaching Assistants who are Parents
Graduate students who are serving as teaching assistants (at 25% or more time) are eligible to participate in a child care reimbursement program. The program allows eligible teaching assistants to receive up to $900 per quarter towards childcare expenses for non-school age dependents.

To receive the reimbursement, TAs must fill out the child care reimbursement form and turn it in, along with childcare receipts, to the Graduate Program Coordinator, Kathyrn Ficke. For more information, see the program factsheet.

American Political Science Association Resources

In addition, to listing available academic positions, APSA provides resources for individuals who are on or preparing to be on the job market. To see more, visit the APSA website. Resouces include: mentoring opportunities, questions to be prepared to answer as a job candidate, and other career resources.