FAQs

General

What are the demographics of your PhD students?

Our PhD students come from a wide variety of backgrounds and have diverse academic and personal interests. We have included below some statistics about our students.
*Total Number of Students: 142 PhD students (21 AG, 45 CG, 50 IR, and 26 PT)
*Gender: 86 men and 56 women (15:6 AG, 23:22 CG, 31:19 IR, 17:9 PT)
*Average Age: late 20s

Who are the Department’s faculty members? Who would be part of my Dissertation Committee?

You can find a list of the Department's faculty members on our website, as well as links to their profiles and webpages. A good resource for finding professors at Georgetown with specific interests or research is the Faculty Experts search. Dissertation committees consist of a mentor and two other committee members. The Department of Government requires that the Dissertation mentor be a tenure-track or tenured member of our faculty. Of the other two members of the committee, one must be a faculty member at Georgetown (ideally another member of the Department's faculty) and the other can be a professor at any institution.

How long does it normally take to complete a Ph.D.?

Our students usually complete their PhDs in less than seven years. However, there are a number of factors that influence the length of time it will take a student to complete his or her PhD, including transfer credit and how long each student takes to research and write his/her dissertation. We estimate that it takes 2 years to complete coursework (as a full time student with no transfer credit) and one semester to prepare for and pass both major and minor comprehensive exams as well as any language exams. Students will then take an average of a year and a half to defend their dissertation proposal and complete their research. Finally, students spend approximately 1-3 years writing and defending their dissertation.

Are PhD students allowed to attend part-time?

Yes, however, our program is not set up to fully accommodate part time students. This means that a number of required classes are held during the work day (either in the mornings or afternoons). We have also found that our most successful students are those students that can dedicate themselves to their PhD work full time. Finally, funding (both scholarships and stipends for Teaching Assistant or Research Assistant work) is not generally made available to our part time students.
 

I have an MA degree. How will this affect my PhD program requirements?

Students entering our PhD programs with an MA degree may request to transfer up to half of the courses necessary for the PhD degree (i.e. 8 out of 16 classes or 24 out of 48 credits). Typically, this is done during First Year Appraisals in the spring semester of your first year in the PhD program.

 

What are my chances of getting a full fellowship?

The competition for fellowships is quite competitive. The number of fellowships (stipend and tuition scholarship for up to five years contingent upon satisfactory academic performance) offered to students varies each year. Current stipends are approximately $25,000 per academic year.

Are fellowships awarded to foreign students?

Yes. Fellowships are awarded to the strongest applicants, regardless of origin.

Are fellowships awarded to students based on need?

No. Fellowships are awarded on academic merit.

If I do not enter the program as a fellow, is there any chance of receiving funding later on or working as a teaching and/or research assistant for a professor in the department?

Depending on the Department's financial aid budget, twice a year students who are not fellows but are interested in being considered for funding will be asked to submit letters of interest to the Chair of the Admissions & Fellowships Committee along with their Georgetown transcript and letters of recommendation from Department faculty. A few students who are not fellows are awarded full or partial fellowships every year. In terms of working as a teaching or research assistant, these opportunities are only open to students receiving a fellowship.

How do I apply?

All Applications must be submitted to the Graduate School.  Applications are submitted almost entirely online.  Please visit the Graduate School's Application Instructions and Application Requirement Checklist for more information.  Do NOT send hard copies of documents and information submitted online.  Copies of resumes or writing samples on special paper are neither necessary nor desired.

Can I begin the program in the Spring? 

No. We only accept applications for the fall semester.

Where do I send my supplemental materials, that is official transcripts and other materials that must be mailed?

Please send them to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at the address below.  The Department of Government encourages all applicants to send any and all supplementary application materials together as one packet to the Graduate School to prevent processing delays.  (Admissions Officers may request that applicants re-submit missing materials directly to the Department after the deadline has passed in order to speed up the reviewing process.  This is the only situation in which materials should be submitted directly to the Department.)

Georgetown University
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Graduate Admissions, Box 571004
3520 Prospect Street, NW, CB-207
Washington, DC 20057-1004

Phone: 202-687-5568
Fax: 202-687-6802
Email: gradmail@georgetown.edu

How do I know if the Department has recieved all of my application materials?

To check the receipt of your materials online after you have submitted your application, log back into your application.  Please allow at least 1-2 weeks for processing of your materials.  If any of your application materials are misplaced during the review process, you will be contacted via email by a member of our Graduate Program Staff.

Do I have to choose a major field of study when completing my application for admission?

Yes. You will need to indicate whether you plan to major in International Relations, Political Theory, American Government or Comparative Government on your application.

Can I change my major field of study after I begin the program?

Yes. In order to do so, you will need to receive the approval of both the Director of Graduate Studies and the field chair.

Does the committee actually read the file?

Yes, in fact the committee reads all materials submitted for all files recieved.  Therefore, it is important to have an excellent personal statement and also to include extra materials (for example an extra letter of reccomendation or writing sample) - but ONLY if you feel it strengthens your application.

Are there a limited number of admissions spaces available for foreign students?

No. The Admissions Committee bases its admissions decisions solely on the application/applicant's academic credentials and not whether the candidate is from the U.S. or abroad.

How do I apply for multiple programs in the Government Deparment or a joint-degree program between the Government Department and another Center or Department at Georgetown?

For each program, regardless of its managing Department, you will need to submit a SEPARATE application (including application fees and supporting hard copy documents).  This means that for joint-degree programs you will need to submit TWO official copies of your transcript(s).  As always, all application materials must be submitted directly to the Graduate Admissions Office. This office will then forward one completed application to the Government Department and one to the other program/department.

How do I apply for funding?

All PhD applications are considered for admissions with funding.  Any applications not selected for admissions with funding are then considered for admissions without funding.  The Graduate School's website contains information about the cost of graduate study at Georgetown.  Other sources of funding for your graduate study can be found on the website of Georgetown's Office of Student Financial Services. 

Where can I get information on housing in the Washington, D.C. area?

The Department of Government and the Graduate School do not arrange for housing for our graduate students.  We would recommend that you go to the following websites for more information: Georgetown's Off-Campus Housing List, The Washington Post Apartment/Houses for Rent Search Page, The City Paper's Real-estate/Classifieds, and Craigslist.

The Application Fee

What fees will I need to pay in order to apply?

The Graduate School requires that all applicants pay a non-refundable Application Fee of $80. The Department of Government does not levy any additional fee. Please note that the Graduate School does not accept requests for application fee waivers. Only current Georgetown MA students applying for PhD status in the same program are exempt from the application fee requirement. All other applicants MUST submit their application fee at the time of application; the Graduate School will not allow a final decision to be made on the file of an applicant who has not paid his/her application fee.

Statement of Purpose

What should I include in my Statement of Purpose?  How is this different from a "Personal Statement" usually included in an undergraduate application?

Your Statement of Purpose is more academic in nature and addresses your intellectual interests, academic and professional objectives, and proposed topic(s) of graduate study.  It should discuss the following: your reasons for wanting to study in the Government Department at Georgetown University; how your research interests fit with those of the various faculty members in the Department of Government; and your long-term academic and/or professional goals.

My Statement of Purpose is more than 500 words, will the Admissions Committee read it?

The Admissions Committee is more interested in what you have to say, not the exact length of the statement.  The 500 word length is only an estimate, but we suggest that applicants keep their statements as close to the suggested word length as possible as it keeps the statement concise.

Where can I find information on your faculty members?

You can find out Faculty’s research interests, past courses, and contact information on our website.  Many of them also have websites of their own.

Official Transcripts

What makes a transcript official?

Your transcripts are considered "official" when a hard copy is requested from the appropriate institution's Registrar either directly to the Graduate School or sent to you and inclused unopened in your self-assembled application packet for mailing.

What transcripts are required?  I took a few post-graduate courses after I received my undergraduate degree, do I need to submit official transcripts for them as well?  What about courses from a community college or summer school classes?

We only require official transcripts from institutions where you recieved a degree (this is includes institutions you transfered credit from for these degrees, such as study abroad programs, etc).  However, it is highly recommended that you submit hard copy of official transcripts of all work beyond secondary school - undergraduate coursework, graduate coursework, study abroad courses, community college courses, and non-degree courses.  If you are currently enrolled in a degree program, please submit your transcripts for the coursework you have already completed.  After finishing the degree, please submit your final, official transcripts to the Graduate School. 

Prior graduate-level work is considered a good indicator by our Admissions Committee for how successful you will be in our graduate programs; and remember, if you do not include the information in your application, the Admissions Committee will not be able to use it to evaluate you as an applicant.

I have a degree from a non-American university and my trascript is not in English.  What should I do?

Official Foriegn language Transcripts should be accompanied by a notarized translation into English.  The official notarized translation should be submitted to the Graduate School in a sealed envelope, signed across the seal by the notary.

Official Letters of Recommendation

Will it help if I get a letter from a Senator, General, or other VIP?

No. The Admissions Committee wants to see letters from those who can assess your suitability for academic success in graduate school.  Your letters should be from individuals (preferably in academia) who can appraise your potential for graduate study.  Individuals who can speak to your ability to research, write, and think critically would be most appropriate.

One (or more) of my recommenders does not want, or is unable, to submit his/her/their letters using the secure online recommendation system.  What can I do?

It is HIGHLY recommended that your letter-writers use the online system.  It is the most reliable way to track your letters and determine what the Admissions Committee has actually recieved.  If it is impossible for the letter to be submitted online, it can be sent by mail to the Graduate School at the address provided above.

GRE Scores

What is the GRE score reporting code for the Department of Government?

The Department does not have a separate code from the rest of the Graduate School.  Georgetown University's score reporting code is 5244.

If I already have an M.A. from another university, do I still have to submit a GRE score?

Yes.  The GRE test is REQUIRED for all applicants.

If I have a J.D., can I submit my LSAT score instead of the GRE score?

No. The GRE test is REQUIRED for all applicants.

If I am an international applicant, do I need to submit a GRE score?

If you are an international applicant you must submit both TOEFL or IELTS score as well as the GRE.

What are the average scores of students admitted to your program?

The average GRE scores are:

Verbal: 165
Quant: 160
Analysis: 5.2

The average GPA is: 3.86

If I have low GREs, grades, etc... am I automatically denied admission?

No, there is no minimum required score for the GRE.  Furthermore, the Admissions Committee reviews all the information in the file. If your GRE scores are low, the Admissions Committee will look at other materials in the file that are also reliable indicators of academic potential.

If I have low GRE scores (or grades) should I submit an explanatory letter or memo with my application?

You are welcome to do so, however, please be aware that the Admissions Committee has "heard it all" so to speak and would rather focus on the positive aspects of our applicants than read through dozens of letters assigning blame for low GRE scores.

TOEFL/IELTS Score

I am an international applicant.  Do I have to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score?

It depends.  Applicants are required to demostrate a sufficient level of English proficiency.  If you are an international applicant who has never received a university degree from a college or university where English was the language of instruction, you will need to submit a TOEFL score.  However, if you are an international applicant that has received a degree from a university where English was the language of instruction (for example, you are a Japanese national who received her BA from an American university) then you don't need to submit a TOEFL score.

What are the minimum scores for the TOEFL and IELTS?

For the TOEFL, the minimum required score is 80 (on the iBT), 550 (on the paper-based test), and 213 (on the computer-based test).  For the IELTS, the minimum required score is 7.0.

Writing Sample

What is the required length for the academic writing sample?

There is no minimum or maximum length to the writing sample. The average length of samples received by the Department of Government is 15 to 20 pages.

What type of writing sample should I use?

Your sample should be scholarly, academic in nature and perhaps of a level that is publishable. It is not mandatory but it is preferable that the writing sample be on a topic you wish to study here at Georgetown. The academic writing sample should be a single-authored work.  Applicants generally use a graduate-level paper or chapter(s) from their undergraduate or MA thesis.