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Chances for top pol theory programs


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Hello all,


I am a graduating senior who has been considering doctoral studies in Political Theory. Here are my stats:


-History Major (Medieval & Ancient Specialization), Writing & Rhetoric Minor

-3.65 GPA (3.75 avg in upper div courses)

-3 'very strong' LOR, professors whom I have worked with extensively

-1 paper on Law & Literature (focus on dostoevsky, camus, and death penalty) presented at a minor conference, plan to edit and submit to journals after graduation

-1 paper that I am finishing this semester on political theory, has been commended by faculty supervisors thus far and plan on submitting to journals upon completion. Plan to use this as writing sample.

-Haven't prepped for GRE, but have done very well on LSAT and believe that a top score is in reach


If I am able to have some success in getting these papers published, do I have a shot at the top programs for Pol Theory? I have had a diverse undergraduate experience: playing sports, political activism, and internships. Law school has been my plan for the last few years, but I have realized my research interests over the last year or so and want to apply to study political philosophy. 


What do you guys think? Also any advice for ways to prepare over the upcoming months for applications to start Fall 2016 is welcome.

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Ways to get into top political theory programs:

1) For Princeton, get a master's degree from Oxford or Cambridge (maybe LSE)

2) For Harvard, see above, or get to know Harvard political theory faculty, or have top political theorists at other schools recommending you.

3) For Yale, appeal to Benhabib's faction within the department.  Also see above.

4) For Chicago, be crit/straussian oriented. Also see (2).

No idea about Hopkins.

These don't apply to the next tier of Berkeley, Northwestern, and Duke. You'll probably have a shot at this tier without anything else.


As you didn't major in political theory, and so your recommenders probably will not be all theorists who are well-known in the field, if your goal is to get into a top theory program above all else, then I would recommend further training in some capacity (Oxbridge masters, MAPSS at Chicago, or something else that is similar.  Perhaps be an RA for a theorist at a top school, if that is possible)

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