Deadline: December 1st, 2016 (Our online application is currently undergoing some changes and will be available in September 2016)

The faculty of the Department of Political Science and the School of International Relations welcome talented candidates from a variety of academic backgrounds who wish to pursue a Ph.D. degree. Although a prior degree in political science or international relations is not necessary, it is strongly recommended that applicants have completed at least some course work in related fields, including political theory, statistics and social science research methods. POIR does not offer a stand-alone, terminal masters program, and only Ph.D. candidates would qualify to obtain the M.A. in POIR as they progress through the program.

Admission decisions are based on consideration of applicants' prior academic performance, as reflected in course grades, the results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), letters of recommendation, and a statement of intent that demonstrates a seriousness of purpose, a high level of motivation and a desire to benefit from our faculty's areas of expertise or interest. Applicants are also required to submit a sample of their written work in English, preferably a research-oriented paper. Business, government and other practical experiences may also be taken into account. Applicants whose native language is not English must take the TOEFL examination, unless they have received an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution in the United States or other English-speaking countries. **A graduate degree earned from the US or any other English speaking country does not waive applicants from the TOEFL requirement. All 4 undergraduate years must have been studied in the US to waive the TOEFL. Please visit the USC Graduate Admissions website at the link below to determine your degree equivalencies and which documents and/or exams are required for admission.

The academic profiles of admitted students vary, but all applicants should be aware that the POIR admissions process is highly competitive. Students entering the program typically have competitive undergraduate grade point averages from accredited universities in the United States, or equivalent credentials from a non-U.S. institution. In addition, most students score well beyond the minimum GRE score required by Graduate Admissions. For more information, visit our POIR Admission Profiles.


All students admitted receive a full five-year funding package ranging between $24,000 to $32,000 per academic year. This package includes full tuition remission, two years of fellowship, three years of teaching and research assistantships, health insurance, and the waiver of certain fees. There is no provision for a “pay your own way” option, although applicants holding outside fellowships (for example, certain Fulbright and Ford Foundation fellowships) may be considered for admission. 


  • Veri Chavarin
  • 3518 Trousdale Pkwy
  • VKC 327
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089