Financial Support

The Department of Political Science offers two main types of financial support to graduate students: graduate assistantships (GA positions) and tuition waivers (waiver hours).  Both types of support are competitively awarded. 

Students who are offered departmental graduate assistantships (GA positions) have their university tuition paid for and also receive a stipend.  GAs work approximately 20 hours per week in the department and serve as research assistants or teaching assistants.  GAs are still responsible for paying university fees and college tuition.  While not negligible, university fees and college tuition are a small fraction of university tuition.  Information on university tuition, university fees, and college tuition can be found at (The Department of Political Science is housed within the Eberly College of Arts & Sciences.)  Graduate students can hold departmental GA positions for up to four years.

Waiver hours cover all or part of a student's university tuition, but do not provide a stipend.  Students receiving waiver hours are also still responsible for paying university fees and college tuition.

PhD students typically receive priority consideration for both types of departmental support.  MA students sometimes receive waiver hours, but departmental GA positions are offered to MA students only very rarely.

It is important to note that receiving an offer of departmental support in one year does not guarantee that support will be offered in subsequent years.  However, if a student receiving support is doing well in the program, that student will typically receive an offer of support for the subsequent year.

To receive full consideration for departmental support, applicants should submit their applications by January 15th.  Students applying after this date may still be considered for support, but are much less likely to receive it.  Students are automatically considered for departmental support when they are accepted into the program.  Newly admitted students are typically notified regarding initial departmental funding decisions in March.

Some graduate students who do not receive offers of departmental support secure GA positions or part-time employment at the university outside of the department.  Some meritorious students also receive departmental or university awards and fellowships.  The Director of Graduate Studies typically provides more information about such opportunities to admitted applicants.