Graduate Program


The Department of Political Science at UC Santa Barbara offers a distinctive doctoral program. We are known for our specializations in environmental politics and the politics of identity, and students may choose to qualify in either of these as one of their fields of study. Our program is designed for completion in five years, and it includes breadth coursework as well as field specialization. Many of our students take courses in other departments and work in areas that are multi-disciplinary. The program also includes a two-quarter research workshop spanning the second summer, with the goal of producing a paper ready for submission to a journal in the third year.

Our graduate students benefit from an active, engaged faculty, and extensive methodological training. Our program is medium in size, and this facilitates students working closely with a faculty mentor via our apprenticeship model of faculty-student relationships.

We value diversity, equity, and inclusion in our graduate student body, and we encourage students to apply who come from a wide range of backgrounds and lived experiences.  Our aim is to provide the highest quality graduate training in relevant, modern areas, in order to prepare our PhD graduates to go on to academic teaching and research positions, and to non-academic careers in the public and private sectors.

Graduate Advising

Director of Graduate Studies
Dr. Chris Parker

Staff Graduate Program Coordinator
Alexander Molenaar

Contact Info


Ellison Hall 3833

Advising Hours

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday

11:00-12:00 and 3:00-5:00

and otherwise, by appointment




Graduate Student Department Resources 

In addition to each student's advisor, two helpful resources are the Faculty Graduate Program Advisor, Chris Parker, and the Staff Graduate Program Coordinator, Alexander Molenaar.

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.

We understand, now more than ever, that students encounter a variety of challenges during their graduate study. In particular, we know that financial issues affect students from time to time, and we have created an emergency loan program that our Political Science graduate students can apply for. Please download the Graduate Student Emergency Fund Application if you are experiencing a financial crisis, and return your application to the staff graduate program advisor .

TA Resources

Teaching Assistant Handbook 2020/21

Childcare Reimbursement
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 staff graduate program advisor. For more information, see the program factsheet.

For information on the UAW you can visit their website, or contact the PSGSA union rep.



Diversity and Inclusion

We have a strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. You can read more about this at our Diversity page, which includes links to the rich array of campus resources.

Graduate Student Campus Resources

During this turbulent time of COVID-19, it is more important than ever for our institution to keep our students and local community supported and informed of the resources that are available. Please browse through the resources provided below and feel free to reach out to the staff graduate program advisor if you need any help being connected to resources at any time.

Resources available in light of COVID-19

Housing Resources

Financial Crisis Response Team

2020-21 Graduate Student Resource Packet: Includes information on academic support, health and wellness, community, financial support, food, and many other resources available to graduate students.

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.

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.

Graduate Program Profile
2013 Program Profile (pdf)

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