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Rules and Requirements

Thank you for your interest in our Ph.D. program. Here you will find in-depth information about our Department, including our history, philosophy, and curriculum. We are recognized as one of the top ten programs in the nation, as evidenced by the most recent rankings by U.S. News & World Report and the National Academy of Sciences. We also were rated #1 in the nation in overall graduate student satisfaction (National Doctoral Program Survey). As you might imagine, we are very proud of our faculty, our program, and our students.

Our Department believes that political science is a coherent discipline, rather than independent subfields loosely grouped under a shared umbrella. As a reflection of this belief, our program is designed to break down barriers and build bridges across the subfields and give all of our students a broad command of the discipline as a whole, regardless of their area(s) of specialization.

In accordance with these principles, we have recently reformed our graduate program to include a first-year curriculum required of all incoming students and composed of three quarters of courses in "principles of politics" and three quarters of "methods" courses. Our graduate program is a unique statement about the discipline of political science. No similar attempt to unify the curriculum has been undertaken in any other department in the country.

Our program is designed to be completed in four to six years. In the first two years of the program, students attend seminars, write a research paper, and attempt a comprehensive examination. Students then finalize a dissertation prospectus and defend it before their dissertation committee. Students spend their fourth year and beyond conducting their dissertation research, writing their dissertation, and defending their completed project before their committee.


Washington Monthly ranks UCSD 1st

UC San Diego has ranked 1st out of 279 institutions in Washington Monthly's 2015 national university college rankings.


U.S. News ranks UCSD Poli Sci Graduate School 8th

UCSD Graduate School (Political Science) ranked 8th; 5th in International Politics.


U.S. News ranks UCSD 19th globally

UCSD ranked 19th out of 750 universities around the world.

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