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Department of Political Science


Apply for Undergraduate Admissions

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions manages online applications to the university and provides the most comprehensive information on the application process, including deadlines and information about university scholarships for S.C. residents and nonresidents. Whether you are applying as a freshman, looking to transfer to UofSC or planning to come to Columbia from another UofSC campus, check the requirements based on your current status and apply now.

Apply to Graduate School

The Graduate School coordinates online applications to our master's and doctoral programs. Admission for each program is based on a holistic evaluation of the applicant’s potential, whether it is for conducting rigorous social science research (Ph.D. program) or for professional work – Master of Public Administration (MPA) or Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS). 

Review the application requirements: 

Application Deadlines 

  • December 15, for students applying for fall admission, departmental assistantships and fellowships, if applicable. 
  • April 1, for students applying for fall admission only. 

Start your application today. 

The Ph.D. and MAIS programs accept applications only for fall admission. Applications for the MPA program are accepted for fall or spring admission. Funding may be available for Ph.D. students only and is awarded on a rolling basis. For the most up-to-date requirements, please review the current graduate handbook.

Political Science Graduate Program FAQs 

Admission is based on a holistic evaluation of the candidate’s complete academic background, including grades, test scores, past research accomplishments and the evaluations contained in letters of reference. The decision also depends in part on the qualifications of the total pool of applicants. 

No. The university charges an application fee that is non-optional and non-refundable. We are not able to offer application waivers at this time.

Yes. The university charges an application fee that is non-optional and non-refundable.

Yes. The requirement for the GRE is not typically waived. Students who wish to apply to the program should plan to take the exam in advance. 

A formal application will be submitted via the Graduate School website and will include: 

  • Official application form 
  • Curriculum Vitae/Resume 
  • Official GRE scores 
  • Official transcripts (From all colleges and universities attended for credit, undergraduate and graduate; unofficial transcripts are required to be uploaded to your application.)  
  • Personal statement 
  • Writing sample 
  • Three letters of recommendation 
  • TOEFL or IELTS score if applicable 

Either a TOEFL or IELFTS score is required for international students for whom English is not a primary language. International students who have been educated in and received a degree from an English-language instruction institution in a county in which English is the main language may be exempted from this requirement. 

Yes, although funding is limited and awarded on a competitive basis. There are also a limited number of Graduate Fellowships available as well as opportunities to teach as an instructor, professional fellowships and work-study. 

Fellowships: Students who wish to be considered for the highly competitive university-wide fellowship are advised to apply early, or by December 1, if possible. Applications to the Ph.D. program received after December 15 will be considered for financial aid if there is still aid available, but those applying later may run the risk that all funds may be allocated before their application is considered. 

Assistantships: Graduate assistantships, typically research assistantships, entail a stipend, a reduction in tuition costs and part-time work for a professor or the department. Out-of-state students awarded a graduate assistantship are entitled to receive the in-state-tuition rate. 

Due to the number and quality of the applicants to the program and the limited availability of funds, only about one-third of the Ph.D. students are awarded graduate assistantships. 

  • Obtain a student visa. 
  • Students will serve as teaching assistants must take and pass an English For Foreign Students proficiency exam (offered during program below). 
  • Attend a special orientation program for international students (begins on the same day as the reporting date indicated on the I-20 form). 
  • Consult International Student Services to ensure you have met all requirements or for assistance with the above. 

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.