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Because the number of positions available in this program is limited, the competition for available openings is keen. Those not having majored in political science or not being acquainted with quantitative research methods, however, are not at a disadvantage.

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The deadline for application and to be considered for assistantships/fellowships, is January 7 — all materials must be on file with the department.

Admission requirements

You must meet all normal admission requirements to be considered for admission. GRE is optional - no longer required.

Bachelor's Degree

  • Bachelor's degree at an accredited university.
  • Transcripts from all previous universities (unofficial is fine.)

GPA and References

  • Undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.3 on a four point scale (or its equivalent for foreign applicants). For applicants who have done graduate work elsewhere, we require a graduate grade point average of at least 3.5.
  • Three letters of recommendation from persons who can comment upon the applicant's academic ability and motivation.

Written Requirements

  • Statement of Purpose (no more than 500 words). For more guidance, see FAQ.
  • CV/resume
  • Writing sample (strongly recommended)
  • GRE scores are not required. If you wish for your GRE scores to be considered, you may include them. The University of Iowa's school code is 6681.
  • Students whose native language is not English must achieve a TOEFL iBT score of at least 100 or an IELTS score of 7 with no subscore lower than 6. English proficiency waiver eligibility can be found here. Non-native English speakers should also note the English proficiency requirements associated with serving as a Teaching Assistant, found here.
  • Application fee waiver information can be found on the website of the Graduate Admissions office. There are no fee waivers available for international students.
  • Because of the structure of our curriculum, new doctoral students must enter the program at the beginning of the fall term.


No, an undergraduate degree in political science is not required.

The Statement of Purpose is one of the most important pieces of your application to graduate studies. It serves as your first introduction as an academic and it contextualizes the other pieces of your application for the admissions committee. The admissions committee will read your Statement of Purpose to assess if our program is a good fit for you. By fit, we mean that we search for potential graduate students who study topics in which our faculty specialize.

Your Statement of Purpose should elaborate on your area(s) of interest. Tell us what you’re interested in studying in graduate school, with specific examples, and tell us why it’s interesting to you. You might consider classes, readings, research, or personal experiences that sparked your interest. Please know that this is not a firm commitment: as their studies continue, most graduate students shift and refine their focus. We’re looking for a sense of where you’ll be starting from. If you have completed any related work (as an undergraduate student, graduate student, employee or volunteer) or have any skills (research, languages, programming, etc.) that you’re interested in utilizing in your studies, be sure to mention those. If there’s any context we need to understand your academic records, please note that in your Statement of Purpose. Lastly, we want to know why the Political Science Department at the University of Iowa is a good fit for your interests. Be sure to mention which faculty members in our department you’re interested in as teachers and mentors.

Your Statement of Purpose should be no more than 500 words—approximately two pages double-spaced in a standard, 12 point font.

Foreign students whose native language is not English must achieve a TOEFL iBT score of at least 100 or an IELTS score of 7 with no subscore lower than 6.

Our admissions committee meets in late January or early February and initial decisions are announced shortly thereafter.

No. New doctoral students must enter the program at the beginning of the fall term due to the structure of our curriculum.

The Ph.D. program receives about 60-80 applications each year. Of these, 6-8 are admitted.