Doctoral students at Penn have access to world-class faculty, research centers, libraries, and financial resources to support their coursework and research.


The size of the Political Science graduate program enables students to enjoy close working relationships and individualized study arrangements with faculty members. At present, the standing faculty includes about 35 members, with further expansion planned. Several Penn faculty members in other departments hold secondary appointments in Political Science and are considered members of the “Graduate Group” (and often serve on Dissertation Committees). In addition, the Department frequently welcomes visiting professors and post-doctoral fellows in fields of interest to graduate students.

Faculty publications have won such awards as the top prizes for books and papers bestowed by the American Political Science Association or its various sections. They have served as editors or board members of such leading journals as The American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, International Organization, World Politics, Comparative Political Studies, PS: Politics & Political Science, Orbis, Praxis, Asian Survey, Theory & Event, Politics and Gender, and The Journal of Theoretical Politics. The department includes scholars who have held Fulbright and Guggenheim fellowships and received grants from such organizations as the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Carnegie Mellon Corporation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, The National Endowment for the Humanities, The American Council of Learned Societies, and The Institute for Advanced Study. Some faculty members have also served as advisers to various local, national, and international agencies.

Programs & Research Centers

The Political Science Department and its main subfields regularly organize speaker series and workshops that bring in scholars doing exciting and important research, whether as rising newcomers in the field or distinguished scholars.  These are viewed as an integral part of the training and preparation of doctoral students. In addition, there are several research centers and inter-disciplinary programs that organize talks, conferences, symposia, and other activities of interest to many of our faculty and graduate students. Some of these are led by members of the Political Science faculty. These include area studies centers as well as such centers as DevLab, the Christopher Browne Center for International Politics, the Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy, and Perry World House. 

The full list can be viewed here.


Libraries & Other Resources

Van Pelt Library is the center of a system that contains approximately 3.5 million volumes while being fully integrated with state-of-the-art electronic resources. Graduate students and faculty in the Political Science Department also have access to a reference librarian specifically assigned to assist them with their research needs.

The Van Pelt Library is a depository of all documents published by the United Nations and of microform copies of all documents published by the Organization of American States. The Biddle Law Library contains extensive materials relating to American constitutional law, international law, and international organizations. The Lippincott Library contains a wide range of publications concerning government-business relations, multinational corporations, and the international political economy. Of interest to area specialists are the fine library collections of materials on South Asia, Japan, China, and the Middle East. Students interested in American political development can draw on the manuscripts, records, and reference books of several institutions in Philadelphia, such as the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Mercantile Library, and the American Philosophical Society.

The Social Science Data Center is an important resource for data used in the quantitative analysis of political phenomenon and provides a wide scope of technical, consulting, and computer services for faculty and students. Several statistical packages are installed and maintained, and informal mini-courses are provided to instruct classes and individuals in their use. 

Admitted students are normally granted a five-year fellowship package that pays full tuition and fees. Students at the dissertation stage pay fees that are considerably less than that required for regular course study. If a student has not earned the Ph.D. degree by the end of five years as a full-time student, he or she will be charged “Reduced Tuition” until the degree is awarded, or for a maximum of five additional years.

Financial Support for Ph.D. Students

Those admitted to Penn’s doctoral program in Political Science, unless they happen to hold external fellowships, will be awarded a five-year package that includes full tuition, fees, and an annual stipend. The only obligation for students is to serve as Teaching Assistants for two years (usually their second and third years)–an experience that is viewed as part of the training and requirements for the doctoral degree. Students at the dissertation stage are also encouraged to apply for external grants and for fellowships offered at Penn on a competitive basis. These allow Ph.D. students to extend the time period during which they receive financial support.  After five years, students who are still working towards the degree but have not obtained additional funding covering tuition are usually charged “reduced tuition” each semester until the Ph.D. is awarded. There are also a variety of smaller grants to support research and conference participation offered by the Department, the School of Arts and Sciences, and various research centers at Penn.