How to Apply

Information on Applying and Application Materials

Notice regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and GRE requirements:

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, applicants seeking admission to the MA or PhD program for the Fall 2021 semester are not required to submit GRE scores, but scores will be considered if they are provided.

Applicants who wish to apply without submitting GRE scores should contact the director of graduate studies at and request a waiver from the GRE requirement.  Applications cannot be reviewed by the department until either GRE scores are received or a waiver is approved.

General Requirements:

  • Undergraduate or graduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Transcripts from all institutions you have attended or are currently attending
  • GRE general test scores (see COVID-19 notice above)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose/personal statement
  • CV or Resume

How to Apply:

Thank you for your interest in graduate study in the Department of Political Science at WVU! The Department welcomes your application and will be happy to answer any questions that you have.  Please direct any questions to Matthew Jacobsmeier, Director of Graduate Studies:

Students applying to the MA or PhD program should apply to start their chosen program in a fall semester.  Applications for spring starts are considered only in exceptional circumstances.

The Department considers applications for the PhD and MA programs on a “rolling” basis. However, decisions about which current students and new applicants will receive offers of funding for the next academic year are made during February. Therefore, the Department strongly encourages you to submit your application by January 15th. To be clear, this is the preferred date by which the Department wishes to receive applications. However, the Department still welcomes applications past this date. If funding is freed up because others turn it down, or because funding remains after the Department has considered applications submitted by January 15th, you may still receive funding. 

In addition, the Department sometimes nominates outstanding applicants for fellowships provided by the University. Applicants wishing to be considered for these fellowships should get their materials in even earlier. All new applicants are considered for funding automatically. 

To apply to the PhD or MA program, you must apply to the University online using the WVU graduate admissions website and note that you are applying to PhD or MA program in Political Science. All of your materials will be submitted through the University’s online system, including your GRE scores (if submitted), letters of recommendation, and so on.  
You must have three individuals who are well‐positioned to assess your potential for success in the program submit letters of recommendation on your behalf. You will be asked to provide contact information for your letter writers when you apply through the University’s online application system.  Your letter writers will then be able to submit their letters electronically.  The Department is especially interested in receiving recommendations from professors that you have had in undergraduate and/or graduate courses who are well‐positioned to assess your potential for success in graduate school. Of course, if you have a supervisor from your employment history who is well‐positioned to discuss your intellectual potential, a recommendation from them is appropriate as well.

Your statement of purpose should be approximately 200-500 words in length.  It should describe your intellectual and career goals and how the program that you are applying to will help you achieve those goals.