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For Prospective Students

The Vanderbilt PhD program in Political Science ranks among the top programs of its kind, both overall and by subfield. We welcome applicants from all institutions, backgrounds, and experiences. While we admit a small percentage of applicants for our program, we aim to bring the most diverse, talented, and innovative students in the world to Nashville to study political science. As a student in our program, you are joining a supporting intellectual and social community. 

Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Like Vanderbilt University, the Department of Political Science defines diversity broadly to include experiences, perspectives, backgrounds, and identities. We believe such diversity among our faculty and students enhances the intellectual experience and achievements of this academic community. As such, we are committed to principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action, and we encourage individuals from diverse, under-represented populations to apply to our program. This graduate program seeks to: (1) continually strengthen the climate for current students and faculty from underrepresented groups; (2) recruit more graduate students from underrepresented groups to the department and discipline; and (3) give all students and faculty the tools to succeed in a diverse discipline.


 Explore our program

Graduate Program Overview

Learn about the requirements of the program, download the handbook, and get a sense of a typical course of study in our program.

Courses of Study

Explore the expertise of our faculty and what it is like to specialize in one of the four main subfields: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, or Political Theory.

Professional Development

See what programs and resources the Department of Political Science and Vanderbilt University offer in high-quality training for academic careers and healthy work-life balance.

Resources for Supporting and Including All Students in Success

A page describing our approach to recruiting and supporting students from all experiences and identities in our program, as well as links to support offices around campus.

How to Apply

Learn how to apply for the Vanderbilt PhD program in Political Science.

Financial Aid

Read about our financial support for admitted students and other financial aid opportunities, including fellowships from the university and external sources.

Graduate Placement

See where our PhD graduates have started their careers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to commonly asked questions about admission, selectivity, opportunities, and more.