Political Science (PhD, MA)

Program Overview

Binghamton University’s Political Science Department ranks 19th in the world. Offering both Master of Arts (MA) and doctoral programs, our department has developed curricula to help individual students meet their particular goals within the field. The primary goal of the PhD program is to educate scholars who plan to continue their professional and scholarly development by contributing to the field of political science through teaching and research. The MA has two tracks: in one, students are required to write a master’s thesis; in the second, students must complete a comprehensive exam. Despite differing requirements, each track provides graduates with exemplary advanced training suitable for policy analysis, journalism or other professional careers. Graduates of Binghamton University’s political science programs go on to work in academia, research institutes, government and private industry.

The organization of the program is based on two convictions:

  • that political science is a unique subject matter that requires specialization;
  • that in the next generation all social sciences, including political science, will rely increasingly on systematic evidence and quantitative analysis.

Our program seeks to shape and encourage young professionals who will be ready and able to assess and contribute to this fast-changing field in a fast-changing world. We emphasize a broadly-based theoretical understanding of political behavior and institutions, coupled with the ability to carry out systematic empirical analysis. PhD students choose a primary and secondary substantive focus on American politics, comparative politics or world politics; MA students need only develop a specialization in one substantive area.

Graduate students work closely with faculty members to select their specializations. Faculty research areas in the Department of Political Science include:

  • international relations and foreign policy
  • human rights
  • political parties
  • campaigns and campaign finance

Degrees Offered

  • PhD in Political Science
  • MA in Political Science

Internships, Research Opportunities and More

Program Size Brings Opportunities

Our small size allows for extensive interaction between graduate students and faculty; our graduate students frequently co-author conference papers and articles with the faculty. The program’s size also has allowed us to develop and maintain a strong alumni network, which allows us to consistently place our graduates. Our PhDs have accepted jobs at institutions including Vanderbilt University, University of Georgia, Kansas State, University of California (Irvine), LSU, University of Mississippi, Old Dominion University, University at Buffalo (SUNY), University of Maryland and the University of North Texas.

While the program’s size has clear and certain benefits, it also requires that students carefully plan their programs of study. For instance, we take great care in course sequencing, and therefore do not normally admit students at mid-term (for the spring semester). Also, a small size carries with it a restriction on the variety of student interests we can accommodate, so we look most favorably on applications from prospective students whose substantive interests match our faculty expertise. We ask that prospective applicants review our faculty’s research interests and consider how well our substantive interests coincide.

After You Graduate

PhD students of our program have excellent placement rates for teaching positions at colleges and universities both nationally and internationally.

Admissions Requirements

To be eligible for graduate study, you must:

  • Provide a complete set of your undergraduate (and, if applicable, graduate) transcripts showing one of the following:
    • You have earned a bachelor's degree (or its equivalent) from a nationally or regionally accredited college or university
    • You are within one academic year of earning a bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent) from a nationally or regionally accredited college or university
    • You are eligible to apply as part of a memorandum of understanding between your current institution and Binghamton University
  • Have earned, at minimum, one of the following:
    • A 3.0 GPA over your entire undergraduate career
    • A 3.0 GPA during your last 60 semester credits or 90 quarter credits of your undergraduate degree, with most courses graded regularly (not as "pass/fail")
    • A 3.0 GPA in a graduate degree, with most courses graded regularly (not as "pass/fail")
    • In consideration of the different grading scales used around the world, each academic department evaluates international transcripts to determine on a case-by-case basis whether they demonstrate one of the above requirements.

To apply, you must submit the following materials. For general guidelines for these materials, see the Admission Requirements website.

  • Online graduate degree application with graduate degree application fee
  • Transcripts from each college or university that you have attended
  • Personal statement of 2 to 3 pages describing your reasons for pursuing graduate study, your career aspirations, your special interests within your field, and any unusual features of your background that might need explanation or be of interest to the graduate admissions committee
  • Résumé or curriculum vitae
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • GRE scores are accepted, but not required

International students must also submit the following materials. For more information about these materials, see the International Students section of the Admission Requirements website.

  • International Student Financial Statement (ISFS) form
  • Supporting financial documentation (such as bank statements, scholarship or sponsor letters, etc.)
  • Proof of English proficiency (such as official TOEFL/IELTS/PTE Academic/Duolingo* scores)
    • *In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Graduate School at Binghamton University has temporarily approved the use of the Duolingo English Test as proof of English proficiency through the 2023 application cycle.

This information is subject to change. While we make every effort to update these program pages, we recommend that you contact the department with questions about program-specific requirements.


Degree Fall Spring
Political Science (PhD)January 15N/A
Political Science (MA)January 15N/A

For more information, visit the Political Science website.