What is Considered in the Application Process?

The Department of Political Science believes that professionalism is best pursued in an educational environment that places value on both academic merit and social diversity. In admitting students to its graduate program it assesses merit criteria as reflected in prior undergraduate and graduate academic records, standardized test scores as well as letters of reference, but also important personal qualities as evident in the statement of purpose or essay submitted by each candidate. The statement of purpose is also reviewed to assess how well the individual profile of the candidate matches faculty research interests and field programs in the Department. Students are admitted for the Fall semester only. Applicants may be admitted unconditionally, admission may be denied, or the applicant may be admitted subject to conditions imposed by the Graduate Coordinator. The Department considers each complete application, with special attention to:

  • Graduate Record Exam scores: The applicant must obtain scores on the aptitude (verbal, quantitative, and analytical) tests of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Applicants are not required to offer scores on the advanced test in political science.
  • Academic achievement: The applicant must have demonstrated a high level of academic achievement as an undergraduate or in previous graduate studies. The Political Science Department considers all applicants regardless of undergraduate major, but some work in political science, or another social science, is preferred.
  • Three letters of recommendation from faculty members attesting to the academic abilities of the applicant are required. Students who are applying to the MA program in Public Affairs or Political Campaigning may (but are not required to) substitute one academic letter with a letter that speaks to the applicant’s relevant experience in an internship, public service, professional work environment, or a political campaign. Applicants who have been out of academic settings for many years and have difficulties finding three academic references should explain that in the statement of purpose, and provide letters that speak to work habits and the potential to succeed in a rigorous graduate program.
  • A personal statement of purpose written and submitted by the applicant. This should be a concise, sharply focused and well-crafted essay of a page or more that conveys intellectual ambitions, indicates how the program of study satisfies the student’s interests, and how the student would contribute to the program.
  • Writing Sample: this should be an academic research paper or scholarly essay that demonstrates your capacity to do doctoral level work. (Ph.D. students only).

Application Deadlines

M.A. Program: Applications for the MA programs are due by March 15. International students (who are not permanent residents of the U.S.) must complete their applications by February 1.

Ph.D. Program: All materials must be received by January 15.

How to Apply

Apply Online – click here for the application.

You may submit your statement of purpose, transcripts, writing sample (Ph.D. applicants only), and three letters of recommendation using the online application process. Please direct any questions to our graduate Secretary, Sue Lawless-Yanchisin, 352-273-2376 (p) or suzily<at>

Please send your completed application, $30 application fee (for first time applicants), official transcripts, official GRE scores, Florida residency affidavit, TOEFL scores (international applicants), and certificate of financial responsibility (international applicants) to the Office of Admissions.

Extra Considerations for International Students

Our international students are valued members of our academic community, and contribute much to the vitality of our department. Presently, we have graduate students from Alabania, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, India, Senegal, South Korea, Turkey.

For admission to our graduate program, international students from non-English speaking countries are required to take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or TOEFL iBT. We require that candidates seeking admission score 550 or better on the TOEFL (paper), 80 or better on the TOEFL (internet), or 28 or better on the TOEFL iBT.  Additionally, we require a score of 6 or better on the IELTS. Please visit for more information.

Students from non-English speaking countries who are applying for financial assistance are required to submit scores on the TSE (Test of Spoken English). Florida law requires international teaching assistants to demonstrate oral proficiency in English. Generally, the Department expects that international students will present a score of 55 or better on the TSE. TSE scores should be reported on the application for financial assistance.

International students must be able to finance their tuition, books, room, board, other school expenses and travel to and from the United States. Before obtaining a visa and leaving their home country, students must be able to furnish the United States Consulate evidence of financial solvency. Graduate students must present proof of tuition and fees for one year’s study at the University of Florida, exclusive of travel expenses. Financial assistance offered by the Department or the University of Florida can be used in partial fulfillment of this requirement but will not be sufficient on its own.

More information for international students at the University of Florida is available from the Graduate School, the Admissions Office, and the International Center.