UT-Austin Government Grad Program FAQs

What graduate degrees are offered by the Government Department at UT-Austin?

Only a PhD in Political Science. We do not accept applicants for a terminal master’s degree.

Does the Government department fund all graduate students?

The guaranteed funding package is for 4 consecutive years with full tuition, health insurance and a 9-month stipend, provided students remain in good academic standing. Upon advancing to candidacy, which happens in the 3rd or 4th year, students are offered the opportunity to instruct their own class and also given fellowships to focus on their research. All our students in good academic standing receive funding through their studies when they request it. Please see our financial aid web page.

How many years does it take to complete the PhD program?

It varies depending on the individual. Required course work and general examinations should be completed by a student’s 5th semester. At that time, dissertation writing begins. Typically, it takes 5-6 years in total to complete the PhD.

What do PhD graduates do after obtaining their degrees?

Graduates of our PhD program are engaged in a wide range of careers in academia, government and industry. See our placement record and alumni profiles.

What cohort size can I anticipate?

Cohort sizes in the department usually are around 15 enrollees.

Is math background required to succeed in the program?

No. We do not assume any math training beyond high-school level math. Our students start the program with a refresher Math Camp before the start of the first semester. We offer rigorous methods training that assumes no prior mathematical training. We also offer language training in place of methods training for those students who do not need the methods training for success in their research and beyond graduate school.

What are the degree requirements?

You can find the degree requirements here. Typically, our graduate students take their comprehensive exam at the beginning of their third year, finish their required course work in their 5th semester, advance to PhD candidacy (by defending a dissertation proposal) by the end of their 7th semester, and graduate in 5 or 6 years in total.

Tell me more about faculty…

We have a large group of highly successful faculty teaching and researching in seven fields: American politics, comparative politics, international relations, methodology, political theory, public law, and public policy.

Tell me more about current graduate students…

You can find more information about our graduate students here.

Application FAQs

Where are the instructions on applying to UT Government’s PhD program?

You can find the detailed instructions here.

I was (or am) an undergraduate at UT-Austin and would like to apply for a PhD degree in Government. What do I need to submit?

UT-Austin graduates follow the same application procedures as other applicants, including requesting that transcripts be sent to the department to which one is applying.

Are application fee waivers granted or is the application fee refundable?

U.S. citizens and permanent residents can apply for a waiver, based on demonstration of financial need: http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/admissions/fee_waiver.html.

The application fee is not refundable.

I have applied for the Government PhD program and would like to know the status of my application. Whom do I contact?

You can contact our graduate coordinator/ graduate program administrator.

When is the application deadline?

The application deadline is December 1st for admission the following September.  Admission is for the fall semester only.

Is the GRE General Exam required?

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required to complete the application.

Are there minimum scores required on the GRE test?

There is no minimum score for the GRE, but admission is competitive and very low GRE scores may weaken an application.

Do you accept GMAT or LSAT scores in place of the GRE?


Is a minimum GPA required to apply?

No, we do not impose a set minimum. Although we do not have a minimum GPA requirement the applicant pool is academically strong.

What component of the application holds the most weight during the decision process?

The admissions committee weighs all parts of the application in an effort to get as complete a picture of the applicant as possible. We are looking for applicants who show promise of a scholarly career in teaching and independent, original research. Applicants should have a fairly clear sense of what they want to pursue in graduate school and a good idea of why it makes sense to do it at Texas. Questions committee members might ask themselves could include: Does this applicant fit our current program needs? Are there faculty members here who would be able and willing to advise this applicant? What are the applicant’s objective qualifications and how do they compare with the sophistication and research experience or promise expressed elsewhere in the application? Is there evidence of intellectual excellence and social scientific curiosity? Does the applicant demonstrate focus and direction? Do we believe this applicant can accomplish what they say they are interested in doing?

When will I receive a decision about my application?

Decisions will be made by mid-February.

How many applications do you usually receive each year?

We receive about 200 applications each year, admit about 40 students, and enroll about 15.

Are applicants who already have an M.A. degree favored for admission over applicants who don’t?

No. What matters is how well the prospective student’s application materials meet the admission requirements, and how well the applicant’s research interests and goals fit the strengths and goals of the department. All applications are reviewed comprehensively.