Information for Applicants

Application Instructions and Information
The deadline for applicants seeking financial support is Feb. 15. This deadline means that all materials, including transcripts and reference letters, must be received by the university by this date. Applicants (especially international applicants) are thus encouraged to begin the process much earlier. Applications submitted past this deadline (Feb. 15) cannot be guaranteed review for either funding or admissions. We currently do not accept applications to start in the Spring semester. 

We generally offer several Graduate Assistantships for some students. These competitive awards provide a stipend and subsidized health insurance. Applicants who receive this funding serve 20 hours per week as a graduate assistant, generally with one member of our faculty. All admitted candidates are expected to begin their plan of study in the fall semester. We are currently accepting applications to begin in Fall 2024. Admission decisions are usually communicated to applicants in late February or early March.

There is an application fee. The Political Science Department cannot wave this fee, but there is a free application week (no application fee) for domestic students from Monday, Oct 23 to Monday, Oct 30. Check the university Grad Applications website for exact dates. 

An application must have each of the following in order to be considered:

  • Curriculum Vitae/resume: Applicants should submit a CV, mentioning professional experience and focusing on academic background.  
  • A cover letter: Please introduce yourself in one page, two at most. This is a good place to let us know what your intended field/s of study is/are, whether there is a faculty person in our program with whom you are interested in working (this is not required), and for you to introduce the documents in your application. Is your writing sample from a specific course or research project? What should we know about your course work to date, if anything? Have you included additional documents? If so, what are they? (This is not required. But if you choose to submit extra documents, you should let us know what they are and why they are important to our evaluation of your application.) What makes you an excellent candidate for our graduate program?
  • Goal Statement: Please submit a three- to four-page summary of your academic interests and professional goals. We are especially interested in what research topic you have in mind, why you believe your topic is significant, and how your research and academic training at Kent State will enable you to meet your career goals. Your statement will be reviewed with a clear understanding that your research focus and career goals may evolve over time.
  • Official academic transcripts: You must include transcripts from all schools attended for 8 semester hours or more. Applicants should have a 3.0 GPA or higher on a 4.0 scale for the Ph.D. We do not require a specific undergraduate major for application.
  • A writing sample: Your writing sample should exemplify your ability to research and write, and your potential to do so at the graduate level. We recommend that you submit one sole-authored writing sample relevant to your proposed graduate studies in political science. If possible, submit a sample that is directly related to the research topic described in your Statement of Purpose. If you are submitting a co-authored published work, please explain what sections of the piece were yours in your cover letter.
  • Three letters of recommendation: Your letters of recommendation should speak directly to your ability to plan and implement original and rigorous research, produce quality academic output, consistently meet deadlines, and be a collegial member of an academic community. We appreciate concrete examples as well as a candid assessment of areas of growth as appropriate. It is advisable to use former professors as your letter writers, especially for Ph.D. applicants.
  • For international applicants: Proof of English proficiency is required. The minimum recommended TOEFL score is 79 on the internet exam, or 550 on the paper exam. There are exceptions to the exam requirement, which are listed at Office of Global Education's websiteIf you still have questions about whether you will be required to take the TOEFL, please contact the Office of Global Education. We (the Political Science Dept.) cannot wave the TOEFL for an applicant.
  • Optional GRE scores: We do not require GRE scores for admission into either our M.A. or Ph.D. programs. However, if an applicant does not quite meet one of the other admission requirements, such as a 3.0 GPA for PhD applications or 2.75 for MA, the graduate admissions committee will consider the student’s GRE scores as an additional factor in the applicant’s favor. Ph.D. applicants who wish to be considered for assistantships can also submit GRE scores to strengthen their application. Applicants should have a combined verbal and quantitative GRE score of above 300. 

Application materials can be submitted in one of three ways:

  1. Emailed to,
  2. Submitted electronically through the KSU Graduate Studies website, OR
  3. Mailed directly to our Graduate Studies office:
P.O. BOX 5190
KENT, OHIO 44242-0001


To begin the process of applying to the M.A. or Ph.D. programs, domestic students should visit the Graduate Studies application page. International students should begin the process on the International Graduate Application page.