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chances of getting into Poli Sci PhD?


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I'm wondering what my odds of getting into a second-tier Poli Sci PhD are. My profile is somewhat atypical.

-GPA: < 3.0 This is the part that worries me the most. I enrolled in some classes I did not attend in order to comply with US immigration (had to be enrolled full time. I'm an international student). Bottomline is I received a bunch of 0s that made my overall GPA plummet to about 2.85. I'd be closer to 3.5 if not for this major blunder (not to sure how to address this in my SOP by the way, any advice would be welcome).

- Letters of recommendation: I think I'll get one good one and two that are pretty bland.

- GRE: V:160 Q:154 AW: still waiting but expecting 4+

- Prior Research: I have a MA in Policy Studies so I have a pretty strong background in quantitative methods (4.0 in Stats) and a Capstone I intend to use as my writing sample. The flip side is that it took me three years to graduate from a program that normally only takes 2. I also have prior experience as Teaching Assistant in language departments and in Statistics for Social Sciences.

My research interest lies at the intersection of religion and Politics. I'm thinking of a Comparative Study of France and the US with regards to how they go about assimilating immigrants (Muslims in particular). 

I'm aware my GPA can be a major turnoff so I am not even considering any top 20 schools. Here's my list, a work in progress. If you have any recommendation about other decent schools that provide good stipends, let me know. I intentionally picked a few for which my GRE was well above the required range (to make up for the GPA). 

- University of Washington

- John Hopkins

- UC Riverside

- UC Irvine

- U of Oregon

- Washington State University

Thanks for the help. 


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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm actually doing MS in Psychology focusing on Forensics. I currently have a 3.3 GPA in my graduate program; however, I might switch  to political science for the doctoral program. I am worried about this situation, wondering if I can get into the political science program  with a psychology degree.

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GPA is really low, which is a really bad sign -- Yes, you can definitely enroll in the classes you don't care b/c of the immigration policies that require you to be full time. However, if you can't even handle a few distribution courses, why would the admissions committee trust you to finish your grad coursework? It might be possible for you to explain this weakness in your SoP, although I think it's highly doubtful that you can convince the committee.

GRE seems to be okay if you are only considering 20+ schools. Maybe retake it -- improve your quant score if possible. 

I would say try your best to explain your GPA situation in your SoP, by emphasizing that you were not a slacker as an undergrad/master student, if it was the case. 

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