University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Graduate Programs

UMass-Amherst offers PhD and accelerated MA degrees in six fields of political inquiry: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Theory, Public Policy and Public Law. Yet we believe that often the most interesting and important political questions transcend disciplinary fields and encourage faculty and students to work at these intersections.

Thus, while offering courses and exams in traditional fields of political science, we encourage doctoral students to pursue research questions that cross the domains of two or more fields. In addition, while each field is its own thriving research community, UMass-Amherst also convenes multiple research clusters whose work crosses subfields, including Conflict, Violence and Security, Political Economy, Computational Social Science, and Ambiguities of Democracy.

Course offerings include broad survey courses of the specific fields as well as cross-field seminars such as: Comparative Democratization; Political Networks; Collective Action and Political Change; Political Behavior; Law and Society; Political Participation; Global Political Economy; Foundings; Constitutional Law; Political Institutions; Violence and the State; Comparative Legal Systems; Political Representation; Human Security; Media and Politics; International Law; Political Psychology; Nationalism; Law and American Democracy; Gender and Politics; Race and Politics; Comparative Judicial Systems; Political Dissent; Law and Public Policy; Language and Politics; Feminist Theory and Politics; Technology, Power, and Governance; International Environmental Politics; Civic Political Engagement; Democracy and the Public Sphere.

Our department is also committed to methodological pluralism: at UMass a student can master tools as diverse as statistical modeling, network analysis, ethnography, textual analysis, comparative case studies, or experimental survey methods. Students choose methods training appropriate to the questions they are asking, and enjoy mentorship by scholars often across diverse subfields and methodological orientations.

Applications are welcome from students interested in doctoral work in political science with the intention to pursue a career in the academy; or from UMass undergraduates with a 3.0 or higher interested in an accelerated Masters degree. Funding is offered to admitted doctoral students, subject to satisfactory progress in the program. Funding is not offered to Masters students.

Want to learn more about our current students? Visit our graduate student page for a quick overview of current students or browse through some recent dissertations! Our Placement History also documents some of the institutions and programs where our alumni have secured fellowships or tenure-track positions.