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Admissions & Financial Aid

Admission to the Political Science Graduate Program at the University of Kentucky is internationally competitive. We only accept applications for matriculation in the Fall semester (rather than Spring or Summer). Applicants should submit their materials by January 15 to ensure a complete review. Applications are accepted after this date BUT later applications may miss key financial aid and admission decisions.The admissions process (detailed below) precedes and is separate from the financial aid decision-making process.

To apply, you must use the online application system. All materials required for the application can be submitted via this system.

The required materials include the following:

  • A personal statement. This is a statement of your goals and objectives in which you discuss your areas of scholarly interest, any research directions you may wish to pursue, and how your interests and goals fit with those of faculty and the University of Kentucky's Graduate Program in Political Science. This document should be about two pages double-spaced.
  • A one sentence statement requesting consideration for a Teaching Assistantship if the applicant wishes to be considered.
  • A resume or curriculum vitae
  • Three letters of reference from persons who can evaluate your potential for success in our graduate program.  
  • One transcript from each University attended
  • GRE scores (click here for more information)
  • Writing sample
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores if your first language is not English (click here for more information)
  • Application Fee ($65 for domestic applicants and $75 for international applicants) 

Please note that all materials should be submitted using the online system linked above.  No materials should be mailed directly to the department.  Also, the applicant may submit unofficial or self-reported documents (e.g., for the GRE and transcripts) for the initial application.  If the applicant is accepted to the program, the Graduate School will then request official documentation.

Applications are reviewed by a Department of Political Science faculty committee (the Graduate Committee), which makes a recommendation to the Department's Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), who is responsible for admissions decisions. Questions about the application process and the status of applications may be directed to the DGS at The Graduate Committee does not have a minimum required score on the GREs or a minimum required Grade Point Average, but takes these into account in any admission decision. The Graduate Committee does not emphasize one aspect of the application over any other, but takes the entire package under consideration, and is motivated in its decision making by the applicant's potential for success in graduate study in general, and our department in particular. 

The department welcomes students with undergraduate concentrations in related fields. In some cases students without an academic background in Political Science may be required to complete additional coursework so as to gain appropriate foundational knowledge.

We especially encourage applications from women and students from minority populations. The University of Kentucky has several special fellowships for minority graduate students. The DGS or the Graduate School's Office of Recruitment may be contacted for further details. Link for grad school diversity.

We encourage applicants and prospective applicants to visit the Department and the University of Kentucky to learn more about our graduate program. A visit gives the prospective student a valuable opportunity to see the campus and our facilities and to meet with faculty and graduate students to discuss interests and goals. In addition, a visit is a chance to explore the wonderfully livable city of Lexington and its beautiful Bluegrass surroundings. To schedule a visit, contact the DGS at For information about Kentucky see Living in Lexington.