Students with a bachelors degree from an accredited college or university may apply to the Masters program. Students with a Master's degree in political science or related field may may apply to the Ph.D. program. Admission is granted without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, or disability. Women and minorities are strongly urged to apply.

A completed application includes:

  1. A completed UNL Graduate Studies application form
  2. Payment of the Graduate Studies application fee
  3. Official grade transcripts from all colleges attended
  4. Three letters of recommendation preferably from faculty members familiar with one's potential for graduate study
  5. Official transcript of the Graduate Record Examination (a combined score of 1100 with a minimum of 4.0 on analytical is competitive)
  6. A writing sample (a college term paper, research report, or essay)
  7. A statement of purpose (Ph.D. students only)
  8. TOEFL score (international students only)
  9. Evidence of financial resources for self-support (international students only)

Only completed applications are considered. The application deadline for graduate assistantship is February 1.

Apply online at: https://wam.unl.edu/stuapp/WebAppController?appId=webapp&featureId=grad.

For more information:

Office of Graduate Studies
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
1100 Seaton Hall
Lincoln, Nebraska 68588-0619
or are avilable on-line.
http://www.unl.edu/gradstudies/

Areas of Specialization

Graduate work in Political Science is offered in the following areas of specialization and subfields:

American Government

  • National Institutions and Processes
  • State Institutions and Processes
  • Legal Institutions and Processes
  • Political Behavior

Comparative Government and Politics

  • Advanced Industrial Societies
  • Former Communist Countries
  • Developing Countries

Historical and Normative Theory (No subfields. For purposes of comprehensive examinations, this area counts as two subfields.)

International Relations

  • Foreign Policy and National Security
  • International Law and Organization
  • International Political Economy

Methodology and Empirical Theory
(No subfields)

Public Policy
(No subfields)

Public Administration
(Work in this area is in cooperation with the University of Nebraska at Omaha and is likely to require taking courses on the UNO campus.)


Core Seminars

Core seminars involve extensive reading and provide an introduction to the literature in each area of specialization.

The following core seminars are offered:

  • American Government
  • Comparative Government and Politics
  • International Relations
  • Public Policy
  • Historical and Normative Theory

The focus of the core seminar in each area is designed by the faculty in the area (defined as the area committee).

Each core seminar is taught by one instructor at any given time. However, collaboration and consultation among faculty in the area may be a part of the seminar.

As a general rule, core seminars are offered according to the following schedule (check with the departmental office for offerings during current and following year):

  1. Every third semester - American Government, International Relations, Comparative Government and Politics, and Public Policy.
  2. Every fourth semester - Historical and Normative Theory

Degree Requirements

M.A./Option I Degree Requirements

(thesis) – 30 credit hours of course work, plus 6 hours for thesis

Course Requirements:
It is recommended that students take the following courses their first year:

  • POLS 800 (Research Methods) with a grade of B minus or better
  • POLS 801 (Scope and Methods) with a grade of B minus or better.

The following course requirements must be satisfied in a student's first three semesters of graduate studies or as soon thereafter as feasible.

  • Three core seminars with a grade of B minus or better from among the following: American Government; Comparative Government and Politics; Historical and Normative Theory; International Relations; and Public Policy
  • Students without at least a B grade in a junior, senior or graduate level political theory course must take the political theory core seminar.

Not more than three (3) graduate credits in tutorials in Political Science (891 Individual Readings, or 991 Minor Research Problems) shall count towards the degree.

Passing comprehensive examinations in two areas of specialization.

Preparation of an acceptable thesis (6 credit hours).

No 400/800 level courses in political science shall count toward the degree. This does not apply to courses being applied to the PhD research tool requirement, or to courses taught outside the department that are corss-listed in political science.

M.A./Option II Degree Requirements

(no thesis) – 36 credit hours including one or two minors of 9 hours each.

Course Requirements:
It is recommended that students take the following courses their first year:

  • POLS 800 (Research Methods) with a grade of B minus or better
  • POLS 801 (Scope and Methods) with a grade of B minus or better.

The following course requirements must be satisfied in a student's first three semesters of graduate studies or as soon thereafter as feasible.

  • The core seminar in American Government with a grade of B minus or better.
  • One other core seminar with a grade of B minus or better.

Not more than three (3) graduate credits in tutorials in Political Science (891 Individual Readings, or 991 Minor Research Problems) shall count toward the degree.

Passing comprehensive examinations in two areas of specialization.

No 400/800 level courses in political science shall count toward the degree. This does not apply to courses being applied to the PhD research tool requirement, or to courses taught outside the department that are corss-listed in political science.

M.A. Option III Degree Requirements*


(no thesis, extra course work, and promise for success in working towards the Ph.D.) – 36 credit hours

This option may be chosen only with the approval of the Graduate Committee upon recommendation of the student's advisor. Option III shall only be approved when there is sufficient evidence of excellent progress in the program combined with extraordinary research and writing skills demonstrating ability comparable to that required for a thesis.

Course requirement are the same as Option 1.

Not more than three (3) graduate credits in tutorials in Political Science (891 Individual Readings, or 991 Minor Research Problems) shall count toward the degree.

Passing comprehensive examinations in two areas of specialization.

No 400/800 level courses in political science shall count toward the degree. This does not apply to courses being applied to the PhD research tool requirement, or to courses taught outside the department that are corss-listed in political science.

Ph.D. Degree Requirements*
  • A Masters degree in political science (or related field).
  • A minimum of 90 credit hours, with no more than 21 credits for dissertation research.
  • Course Requirements – The requirements listed under IV.A.2. (see item IV.D.6. and section VI. below). Substitutions are not permitted without the permission of the Graduate Committee.
  • Not more than a total of three (3) graduate credits in tutorials in Political Science (891 Individual Readings, 991 Minor Research Problems) taken at this university, including those taken at the M.A. level, shall count towards the degree.
  • Passing comprehensive examinations in two areas of specialization.
  • Passing POLS 901 in which the student will prepare and defend a dissertation prospectus.
  • Passing POLS 802, Professional Development in Political Science.

No 400/800 level courses in political science shall count toward the degree. This does not apply to courses being applied to the PhD research tool requirement, or to courses taught outside the department that are corss-listed in political science.

A student with a masters degree from another institution may pass a proficiency examination in or substitute courses taken for any core seminar, POLS 800 (Research Methods) and POLS 801 (Scope and Methods). Proficiency examinations and substitutions shall require the approval of faculty responsible for the course and should be taken as soon as possible, preferably in the student's first year.

Students working toward the Ph.D. can apply no more than six (6) hours of work beyond a masters degree completed at a non-Ph.D. granting academic unit/department to the Ph.D. This requirement does not apply to the Ph.D. tool requirement.

The Department requires candidates for the Ph.D. to teach during their period of residency. This requirement may be waived upon the recommendation of a student's committee or the Graduate Committee.

*Degree Requirements (also see requirements listed in the general and departmental portions of the Graduate Studies Bulletin http://www.unl.edu/unlpub/grad.html)

Assistantships

All assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis. Once funded, students who remain in good standing, can anticipate continued support, MA students for four semesters, Ph.D. students eight. Graduate assistantships carry tuition waivers. 

For more on procedures associated with graduate funding 'clicking here'. 

Funded students at the MA level serve as research assistants which involves working with and assisting faculty in research, teaching or both. Ph.D. students serve as teaching assistants and either direct recitation sessions associated with large lecture sections taught by faculty or teach their own course. The later includes the basic courses in American politics, international relations, comparative politics, and political theory. On occasion, there is opportunity to teach an upper level course, reserved for the most experienced and capable teaching assistants.

Fellowships

A number of university and department fellowships are available on a competitive basis. University fellowships are full fellowships including tuition wavier. They are open to all students who qualify regardless of area of study. For more, contact Graduate Studies. Department fellowships supplement assistantships, are awarded by the Department, and limited to students in political science. 

The Samuel R. McKelvie Scholarships is designated for those planning careers in public service. Applications are available from the Department. 

The John P. Senning Scholarship Fund supplements graduate assistantships. No application necessary. 

The Elizabeth Stone Senning Memorial Scholarship Fund is available on a highly selective basis to Ph.D. students at the dissertation stage for dissertation research in the fields of public administration, public policy or state government. Recipients will devote the year in which the scholarship is awarded exclusively to dissertation research and are ineligible for an assistantship and other funding.

The Walter Kiechel Memorial Social Science Fund supports graduate student travel to present research findings at professional meetings, travel associated with research activities or professional development, and tuition in special programs related to one's program of study offered at other colleges and universities. 

The Clare and Marguerite MacPhee Fellowship Fund is available in special circumstances to supplement graduate assistant stipends.

Scholarships

McKelvie Scholarships are open to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing careers in public service. The purpose is to promote and strengthen public service leadership in both the public and private sector. "Public service" in this context refers to both public and private sector professions that serve the human community. These include but are not confined to local, state, and federal government, employment or careers in not-for-profit entities, advocacy groups, or others community service professions. Applicants will be judged on their scholarship and academic standing; evidence of commitment to a public service career, and past, current and/or anticipated future participation in public service, for example, past or current participation might include an internship with a public agency. In addition to the application form, applicants must submit transcripts of all academic work, a resume, and two letters of support. Twenty scholarships ranging up to $2,000 are awarded each year.

Application deadline is April 1.

Download an Application:

Send applications materials to:

UNL Political Science Department, 
511 Oldfather Hall, 
P.O. Box 880328 
Lincoln, NE 68588-0328
Or e-mail completed applications (.doc or .pdf format) to: 
Attention: Scholarship Committee
hsexton2@unl.edu

The University of Nebraska - Lincoln does not discriminate based on gender, age, disability, race, color, religion, marital status, veteran's status, national or ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.

Political Science Department 

511 Oldfather Hall 
Department of Political Science 
University of Nebraska - Lincoln 
Lincoln, NE 68588-0328 
402-472-2343
E-Mail: dcsontos2@unl.edu


Chair of Graduate Program

Ross Miller
402-472-2259
E-Mail: rmiller10@unl.edu

Graduate Mailboxes – Room 512 Oldfather Hall (OldH)

  
Office of Graduate Studies 

General Information 402-472-2875 
 Admissions 402-472-2878 
http://www.unl.edu/gradstudies/