Graduate study in political science at the University of Illinois

Our graduate program is highly selective. Each year our goal is to admit a small group of the most capable applicants. In a small program, students have the opportunity to work closely with faculty members, and many of our students publish articles while in graduate school. The small size also contributes to a supportive and collegial environment in the graduate program, one of our great strengths.

Financial Support

All our current students receive financial support in the form of fellowships and teaching assistantships. In addition, the department awards aid for dissertation research, conference travel and summer programs. These awards and assistantships are given according to guidelines in our Political Science Graduate Handbook.

The University offers support for conference travel, dissertation travel, and dissertation completion on a competitive basis. Our students have been very successful in winning these awards.

Research Opportunities

Our students maintain an active research agenda. Most publish while in graduate school, alone or in collaboration with their colleagues or faculty mentors. Browse our student publications, 1990–present.

The University of Illinois is part of the Consortium for Institutional Cooperation (the CIC), an organization composed of Big-10 universities and the University of Chicago. CIC membership allows students to participate easily in programs at other CIC institutions, including the Michigan/ICPSR summer methods program and the Indiana University language programs. In addition, CIC video courses bring students into contact with faculty and students at other institutions.

Teaching Training

The University of Illinois offers graduate students the unique opportunity to earn a Graduate Teacher Certificate and an Advanced Graduate Teacher Certificate. These certificate programs help students become superior teachers by providing them instruction on innovative and effective pedagogical techniques.


The PhD program primarily trains future college and university professors. We have placed students at a wide range of colleges and universities, including top research universities and prestigious teaching institutions. A few of our graduates have gone on to public service, or found employment in the private sector. The department maintains a placement service to assist our students in finding their first position after receiving the PhD. We maintain an updated list of PhD placements