FAQs

General

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 webpages. A good resource for finding professors at Georgetown with specific interests or research is the Faculty Experts (http://experts.georgetown.edu/) 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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

No. Fellowships are awarded on academic merit.

All Applications must be submitted to the Graduate School.  Applications are submitted almost entirely online.

Please visit the Graduate School’s Application Instructions (http://grad.georgetown.edu/admissions/applicationprocedures/) and Application Requirement Checklist (http://grad.georgetown.edu/admissions/application-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.

No. We only accept applications for the fall semester.

No. A significant share of our applicants do not have undergraduate degrees in political science or government, and this is normal for the discipline.

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. 

To check the receipt of your materials online after you have submitted your application, log back into your application(https://app.applyyourself.com/?id=gtu-g).  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.

Questions about the application process itself are best answered by the graduate school directly. They can be reached at gradmail@georgetown.edu.

There is more information about admissions here: https://grad.georgetown.edu/admissions/admissions-faq/

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.

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.

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

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

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.

Yes, in fact the committee reads all materials submitted for all files received. 

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.

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.

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. 

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

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

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.

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.


Official Transcripts

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.

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.

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

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.


GRE Scores

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.

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


TOEFL/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.

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

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.

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.

Feedback

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.