Graduate Program

Yale’s Ph.D. program has a strong historical record of producing leading scholars in the field of Political Science. (Please note: The department does not offer a stand-alone MA in Political Science. For information about the MA in International Relations, please click here.) Many Yale graduates have also had successful careers in government, politics, non-profit organizations, and the private sector. This historical strength is matched by a strong faculty deeply engaged in training current graduate students to succeed in contemporary Political Science.

One of the Department’s strengths is substantive and methodological pluralism—there is no single “Yale way,” and our students and faculty are motivated by a range of questions in and across the subfields of Political Science. At the same time as we acknowledge this diversity of interests, the Department’s curriculum is designed to ensure students have adequate opportunities to master the core tools of contemporary social science research, including a four-course sequence in quantitative methodology and research design (statistics), a two course sequence in formal theory, courses on experimental design, implementation, and analysis, and a training program in qualitative and archival methodology.

The Department also offers training in five substantive subfields: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Economy, and Political Theory. In each of these subfields, faculty regularly teach courses that expose students to both the foundational work in these areas and current active research topics. In many subfields, this training takes the form of formal or informal “sequences,” for example Comparative Politics I and II are taught each year. These classes are supplemented by topical seminars on selected and advanced topics.

In addition to regular courses, the Department and affiliated institutions (in particular, the MacMillan Center and the Institution for Social and Policy Studies) host a variety of (near-)weekly workshops in which outside speakers and Yale affiliates present and discuss work. These workshops provide a unique opportunity for students to observe the work of leading scholars, as well as to develop their own research in conjunction with faculty and student review. Information about these workshops is available here.

Students will also take two courses as a cohort. The first, Introduction to Politics, is for all Ph.D. students in their first semester. The second, Research and Writing, spans the second year and is centered on students producing a publishable quality research paper prior to embarking on the dissertation. Students in Research and Writing present their final paper in the Department’s mini-APSA conference in April.

About eighteen students enter the Ph.D. program each year. The total number of students in residence at any one time, including students working on their dissertations, is approximately 100, of whom about 40 are taking courses.

The Director of Graduate Studies for the Political Science Department is Milan Svolik. Professor Svolik’s DGS office is located in Room 234  in Rosenkranz Hall, 115 Prospect Street. He can be contacted by email at dgs.polisci@yale.edu. To sign up for DGS office hours, please see the classesv2.yale.edu website.

The Graduate program registrar is Colleen Amaro.  Her office is located in Room 230 in Rosenkranz Hall, 115 Prospect Street. She can be contacted by email at colleen.amaro@yale.edu.