Graduate Program

The Department of Politics offers both Ph.D. and terminal M.A. degrees with concentrations in American Politics, Political Theory, Comparative Politics, and International Relations.

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The aim of graduate training in the Department is to equip graduates with a critical understanding of the practical and theoretical dimensions of national and international political processes and institutions, and to provide a diverse package of analytical and methodological skills. Programs are designed to prepare students for careers in teaching and research, as well as public and the private sector.

The University of Virginia’s Department of Politics has a number of distinctive strengths and rare qualities that make it a very attractive place to do graduate work.

Our faculty is intellectually diverse yet we share a commitment to exploring vital political questions in depth. We probe contemporary developments with careful attention to the ideas, institutions, and history that animate politics in the United States and the world. We have strengths in all major areas of political science and a corresponding commitment to methodological pluralism. We train students to match the appropriate methodology to the question at hand.

Beyond the traditional subfields, our distinguished faculty have a number of strengths that transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries. Among many other areas, the Department has particular strength in democratic theory, political development, political institutions, and international security. We give students the opportunity to explore important themes broadly, even as they undertake a rigorous regimen within the conventional subfields of political science.

The Department of Politics participates actively in the College’s Quantitative Collaborative, an interdisciplinary initiative designed to bring together scholars with interests in quantitative methods and research from across the social sciences. Other partnerships include the Center for Politics, Miller Center, National Security Policy Center, Power Violence and Inequality Collective, Program on Constitutionalism and Democracy, and the UVA Food Collaborative. We hope our web page will help to answer whatever questions you may have about the Department of Politics and its graduate program. If you desire to know more, please do not hesitate to contact the Director of Graduate Studies, Professor Phil Potter.