Welcome to the GradCafe

Hello!  Welcome to The GradCafe Forums.You're welcome to look around the forums and view posts.  However, like most online communities you must register before you can create your own posts.  This is a simple, free process that requires minimal information. Benefits of membership:

  • Participate in discussions
  • Subscribe to topics and forums to get automatic updates
  • Search forums
  • Removes some advertisements (including this one!)
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
recentgrad135

Chances for Political Science PhD

3 posts in this topic

Hello, all, I'm a recent grad in political science, and want to earn my PhD, but don't know if I'm competitive enough for a T20 program. Here are my basic stats first with explanation and other details after:

  • Alma mater: University of Wyoming
  • GPA: 3.47 cumulative/3.95 major
  • Major: Political science with a focus on comparative government
  • GRE: 167 V, 165 Q, 6 W

I realize my cumulative GPA is lower than it should be, but I started out as a pre-med student and didn't do so well (two D's, an F, and three W's), but my transcript shows a very strong upward trend after switching into political science, and my letter writers are all aware of my academic history to discuss in their letters as well. I served as a research assistant in the department for a masters student, and my name is on her thesis that we have submitted to several journals for publication. We are also looking at several conferences to speak at as well. I have my department head, my adviser, and the professor who was the chair on the project I worked on writing my letters, so I know I can count on strong recommendations. As a whole package, am I competitive for T20 programs in political science? Should I do a MA first to compensate for my lower than average GPA? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Obviously, no one can say for sure. With that said, I think GPA is something that's generally not weighted quite as heavily (especially with such great GRE scores, congrats!). You seem like a really strong candidate, and you should start looking at prospective schools and gauging fit with departments. I'd also recommend the "faculty perspectives" thread. It's long, but it can be incredibly helpful. I hope this helps, and good luck with your applications! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To briefly address your questions:

1. Yes, I think that you are competitive for T20 programs provided that your application materials are top quality. Apply to every T20 program that fits your interests, and especially consider Davis/Wisconsin/Penn.

2. I don't think that your stats are such that you should plan on doing an MA before applying to PhD programs. That said, it might not be a bad idea to research a few MA programs to apply to in addition to the doctoral apps that you send in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0