Frequently Asked Questions
department of political science
Does the Ph.D. program accept students who do not have a master's degree?
A master's degree is not required. Students entering the program with no previous graduate work must take sixteen courses (48-49 credits).
If I do have a master's degree, will I receive credit for my past work?
Yes, students entering the Ph.D. program with a master's degree must take at least nine courses (27 credits). How much credit is given for past work will depend on whether that work fulfills any of the requirements for the Ph.D.
What about fellowships and financial aid?
We are usually able to provide financial support to our doctoral candidates for a period of four or five years, although the department's initial commitment typically is only for two years, with additional years of funding contingent on the student's performance. Our regular grants carry a stipend and full tuition remission. In return, we require 12–15 hours per week of research assistance to members of the faculty or teaching assistance in undergraduate courses. We do, however, encourage applicants to explore other funding opportunities, which may be able to offer more generous packages.
There are some jobs at Boston College for which MA students may apply that provide assistance with tuition. A few of our students have found Graduate Assistantships in the Information Technology Services department on campus, which provides nine credits of tuition remission per semester and a modest monthly stipend. See the website for Information Technology Services for more information. There are also other positions available on campus to which MA students may apply. For on-campus employment, consult "Financial Support for Graduate Students."
How can I apply to both the Ph.D. and the MA Program? Are rejected Ph.D. applicants automatically considered for the MA?
Students who apply to the Ph.D. program who do not already have an MA are automatically considered for the MA program as well.
Does the Ph.D. program accept MA candidates from Boston College itself, and are they given any special preference?
We of course welcome MA applicants from our own program, and several have enrolled in recent years. However, all applicants are placed in the same pool for admissions purposes.
What kinds of foreign-language preparation are necessary for admission?
None is required, although all Ph.D. students must demonstrate proficiency in one foreign language before taking the Comprehensive Examination.
Does your program have a "minimum"-level requirement for GRE scores upon application to the Ph.D. program?
No. GRE scores are considered in the overall context of the students' application.
What is a good form for the writing sample?
A sample of scholarly work, for instance a term paper, not to exceed 20 pages.
When are admissions decisions made?
The deadline for Ph.D. applications is January 2. The deadline for MA Applications is February 1. Decisions are usually made by mid-March.
How many students does the Ph.D. program admit?
In a typical year, five students will enter the Ph.D. program.
How many students does the MA program admit?
There is no pre-set limit on the number of students who will be admitted to the MA program.
When is your application deadline, and how can I acquire an application form?
The application deadline for the Ph.D. Program is January 2. The application deadline for the MA program is February 1. The Graduate Record Examination is required. Application forms should be accompanied by a personal statement, a writing sample of not more than 20 pages, transcripts, and three letters of recommendation.
If I have further questions, who can answer them?
Carol Fialkosky, graduate program administrator, should be able to answer many of your questions.
For more information about the Ph.D. program contact Professor Nasser Behnegar, Director of the Ph.D. program.
For more information about the MA program contact Professor Gerald Easter, Director of the MA program.