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 (https://government.georgetown.edu/people/faculty) on our website, as well as links to their profiles and web pages. A good resource for finding professors at Georgetown with specific interests or research is the Faculty Experts (https://gufaculty360.georgetown.edu/s/) 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.
If you need contact information for a faculty member and it is not listed in their bio or webpage, you can find it here: https://contact.georgetown.edu
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?
For all practical purposes, no. Our program is not set up to fully accommodate part time students, and we strongly discourage students from attempting to complete the program part-time. We do not admit unfunded students, and the conditions of funding limit how much you are allowed to work outside the program. 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. In some unusual circumstances, you can complete the program part-time, but you should not plan to do so.
Are any of the courses online? Can I get my degree remotely?
No. All of the Ph.D. programs courses must be attended in person. After coursework is complete, students may spend time in the field, but the program is designed to be completed in person.
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?
With some very specific exceptions, all students in the Ph.D. program are fully funded. We offer a five-year funding package that covers tuition, health insurance and a modest stipend. Students on that package have to work as a TA or RA in their 2nd, 3rd and 4th years, but are service-free in the first and fifth years. We do not admit unfunded students.
Are fellowships awarded to foreign students?
Yes. Fellowships are awarded to the strongest applicants, regardless of origin.
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.
Do I need an undergraduate or master’s degree in political science or a related field to apply?
No. A significant share of our applicants do not have undergraduate degrees in political science or government, and this is normal for the discipline.
Can I include more than three letters of recommendation in my application?
Unfortunately, there is no good way to handle more than three letters. We are approaching 700 applications, and we can only manage them through the university’s application system. Additional materials will get lost. Since the university doesn’t allow more than three letters, that’s all we can manage.
How do I know if the Department has received all of my application materials?
To check the receipt of your materials online after you have submitted your application, log back into your application (https://gradapply.georgetown.edu/apply/). Please allow at least 1-2 weeks for the 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.
I am having trouble with the application portal, I’m not sure about the specifics of the application materials, etc.
Questions about the application process itself are best answered by the graduate school directly. They can be reached at email@example.com.
There is more information about admissions here: https://grad.georgetown.edu/admissions/admissions-faq/
How many students does the program admit each year?
The department makes a judgment each year on the size of the incoming class, but we typically admit between 8 and 15 students each Fall, spread equally across each of the four subfields.
When can I expect to hear whether I have been admitted?
We typically begin contacting admitted students by mid-March.
All Ph.D. programs are expected to honor an April 15 deadline for students to accept offers. If you are on the waiting list, there is a chance we will need to wait until other students decline before we extend you an offer. That may come much closer to mid-April.
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 American Government, Comparative Government International Relations, or Political Theory 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.
Do I need to contact a prospective advisor before I apply?
No. Students are admitted by the admissions committee to the department, not to work with a specific advisor. However, it can be useful to research likely advisors and even contact them to ask questions about our program. We do consider a prospective student’s fit with our program, and identifying possible advisors helps us to understand fit.
Does the committee actually read the file?
Yes, in fact the committee reads all materials submitted for all files received.
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 Department 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?
Applicants are considered for funding at the same time they are considered for admission. We do not admit unfunded students. We offer a five-year funding package that covers tuition, health insurance and a modest stipend. Students on that package have to work as a TA or RA in their 2nd, 3rd and 4th years, but are service-free in the first and fifth years.
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 Realestate/Classifieds, and Craigslist.
The Application Fee
What fees will I need to pay in order to apply?
There is no fee for applications received before November 15. Applications received after November 15 (but before December 15) pay a $90 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.
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 incused 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 received a degree (this is includes institutions you transferred 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 nondegree 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 transcript is not in English. What should I do?
Official Foreign 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 Letter 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.
Is the GRE required?
The GRE is not required for application to the Ph.D. program. Test scores can be very helpful in evaluating a candidate, and if you have them, please include them in your application. But applications without GRE scores are acceptable and not penalized.
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.
I am an international applicant. Do I have to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score?
It depends. Applicants are required to demonstrate 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.
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.
I was not admitted. Can you tell me what I might do to improve my application for next time?
Unfortunately, it is not possible to give specific feedback. We typically receive hundreds of applications and aim for an incoming class of around 10 students. We therefore have to make a lot of hard choices, and many qualified applicants are not admitted. In many cases, the line between accepted and not accepted is very fine.
If you wish to apply again, you would submit a new application for the next cycle.
We can say that the usual weaknesses in otherwise strong applications are either poor fit with a Ph.D. program in political science or poor fit with our department. So we recommend making clear that you know what political science research looks like, and are specific about who you would want to work with and why. You can of course reach out to those faculty and see what they think about your background.