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How to Apply


Thank you for your interest in graduate study in the Department of Political Science at WVU! 

This page is designed to guide you through the application process. Below you will find information on how to apply, our application requirements, and answers to some frequently asked questions. We are happy to answer any other questions you have about our programs or submitting your application. Please contact William Franko, Director of Graduate Studies, at

We consider applications for the PhD and MA programs on a rolling basis, but the Department's deadline for guaranteed consideration for funding is January 15. We still welcome applications past this date and will consider these submissions for funding if it is available. Financial support may become available after January 15 if others turn it down or because funding remains after the Department has considered applications submitted by the priority deadline.

The start date for all of our graduate students, in both the PhD and MA programs, is the fall semester.

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.

Please note that the department is unable to waive the application fee upon request.

Application Requirements for the PhD and MA programs:

  • Undergraduate or graduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Transcripts from all institutions you have attended or are currently attending
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose/personal statement
  • CV or resume
  • Application fee
  • For international applicants, English proficiency scores when required (see below)

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you waive the application fee?

West Virginia University provides application fee waivers to all WVU full-time employees, McNair Scholars, Active and Retired US Military members and members of AmeriCorp or Peace Corp. If you do not meet one of the qualifications, you are not eligible for an application fee waiver.

Is the GRE required?

As of the Fall 2024 admission cycle, we no longer require GRE scores for applications to our PhD or MA programs.

Who should I ask to write me a letter of recommendation?

We ask for three letters of recommendation from individuals who are well‐positioned to assess your potential for success in the program. 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.

What should I include in my statement of purpose?

Your statement of purpose should be approximately 200-500 words in length. It is helpful if your statement discusses why you want to study political science at the graduate level, your research interests, your intellectual and career goals, how the program will help you achieve those goals, the kinds of career paths you are likely to consider, and how you will contribute to the program.

Do you have language proficiency requirements?

International applicants should see the Information for International Graduate Students page for details on the University's English proficiency requirements. The Department of Political Science does not permit conditional admission of applicants who have not submitted required English proficiency scores. Proficiency requirements for Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) can be found here.

Are official transcripts required?

You don’t need official transcripts for us to consider your application. We will accept unofficial undergrad and grad transcripts at the application stage. You will need to submit official undergraduate (but not grad) transcripts once you are admitted to the program. This is a university requirement.

If West Virginia University is your undergraduate degree granting institution you do not need to send transcripts.

Do I need to find a faculty supervisor prior to being admitted or in order to be considered for funding?

No, we don't require you to have a faculty supervisor in order to be admitted or to receive funding. The process of finding a faculty member to work with typically begins after you have joined the program.

How are admissions decisions made?

Admissions decisions are made by the Department's graduate admissions committee. Please note that meeting the application requirements above does not guarantee admission to the program.