Below are our frequently asked questions. Should you have any additional questions not answered in our FAQ, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All students admitted receive full funding. Currently our funding includes a waiver of all tuition, and a stipend.
To find out about how to apply, please visit the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) Application Resource Center & the Politics Program Bulletin. Feel free to also review their Admissions FAQ. You may also contact email@example.com with any additional application related questions.
The application period runs through approximately mid-September to mid-December of each year, for fall admissions for the following year. Admissions offers are typically made by mid-February, and your decision to accept or not is expected by mid-April. Please visit the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) Politics Program Bulletin for more specific deadlines.
Because we have so many requests to visit, the DGS is NOT available to meet with applicants or potential applicants.
Each year, a small committee of faculty in the Department reviews all applications and makes selections. Individual faculty members do not select the students with whom they will work, so it is not necessary to contact individual faculty members in the Department prior to applying.
A great way to learn about the program is through the description on the main PhD page. You can also look online at our course schedules and read associated syllabi.
We look for students who have demonstrated academic excellence, and who we think are a good fit for the program. We measure academic excellence based on your grades as an undergraduate, as well as your GRE scores, your letters of recommendation, your statement of academic purpose, and your writing sample.
- Grades: If your GPA is less than 3.5, we would be looking for other measures to indicate likely success in the program.
- GRE Scores: If your GRE scores are not in the 90th percentile we would be looking for other indicators of likely success in the program. We make allowances for lower verbal GRE scores for non-native speakers of English.
- The Writing Sample: A writing sample demonstrating academic work in social science is required. This would most likely be a paper or chapters of a thesis from your undergraduate career. It should be between 25 and 50 pages, double-spaced in the English Language, exclusive of references or appendix tables. It should demonstrate your ability to think analytically about some social science question and communicate it clearly. The best writing sample is a completed paper that lays out a hypothesis and presents evidence.
- Letters of Recommendation: We are looking for three letters from people who can evaluate your ability to do social science, or can comment on your academic performance. Letters from people you have worked for outside an academic or research setting generally have little value to us. The letters are very important, so getting letters from people familiar with your academic work is extremely valuable.
It is helpful if you have majored in political science, or some related social science discipline (such as economics or sociology). But there is no specific set of requirements. Applications will be evaluated for evidence that the applicant has strong interests and potential in the field of political science.
We have no set minimum math background. But we have a very analytical program, the more math you know, the better off you are. Having taken courses in calculus or statistics will generally strengthen your application.
No, you do not need any degree beyond a BA or BS.
Yes. The GRE is required of all applicants and will not be waived under any circumstances.
If you are not a native English speaker, you must submit an official IELTS or TOEFL score. This is waived if you have a BA or MA (or will upon admission) from an institution where instruction was in English and/or if you are a US citizen or permanent resident.
The MA in Politics is a terminal master’s degree program and does not lead into the PhD program. The two programs are separate and students cannot transfer from the master’s program to the PhD program. However, students can apply to the PhD program while enrolled in the MA program. Our MA program lays the groundwork for students wishing to pursue a PhD, as it provides methodological training, the opportunity to work with faculty and develop research interests, and advisement on the application process. A number of our alumni have been successful in gaining admission to competitive PhD programs.
Students entering with an M.A. degree from an equivalent institution may petition for a waiver of up to one year of course requirements (equivalent of 24 points). For this purpose, a copy of the M.A. thesis must be submitted to the director of graduate studies (DGS) when the student enters the program. The DGS appoints two faculty members as readers to decide whether the thesis is equivalent in standards and quality to the department’s requirements. If the M.A. thesis is approved, the student submits the waiver petition to the DGS at the end of the first year of residence. In consultation with the readers, the DGS decides whether or not to waive residence requirements on the basis of the M.A. thesis and the grade record of the student during the first year at New York University. Please note that if a student is granted a waiver of 24 points, he or she is required to waive one year of academic funding.
We do (rarely) take transfers from other PhD programs. In such cases we expect a very clear statement from the student, confirmed in the letters, that there is a particular academic reason for the transfer.