Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know whether to apply for the MA or the PhD?

The M.A. program is for applicants seeking broader knowledge of the field of Political Science as well as training in research design and data analysis suited to those pursuing careers that involve writing, data and policy analysis, and government administration. The M.A. can be a terminal degree for those seeking such professional advancement, or it can be used as a stepping stone to the Ph.D. program.

The Ph.D. program is for applicants desiring to be trained as independent, original scholars. Most Ph.D. graduates seek faculty positions at colleges or universities, though an increasing number are finding success in nonacademic research positions.

What are the different areas I can study as a graduate student? Where can I find out which professors focus on each area?

Students in our program may study American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, or Political Theory

You can learn more about our faculty and their areas of research and teaching interest on our Department’s webpage, here:

I’d like to see UWM and talk to some faculty. Whom should I contact to set this up?

We’d love to have you!  Please contact the current Director of Graduate Studies,  John Reuter, via email at

Are faculty members at UWM accessible to students?

We pride ourselves on the level of mentorship we provide for our graduate students. Faculty members are always willing to make appointments to meet with current graduate students and many of our advanced doctoral students have offices in the department to further collegial and professional interactions.

Do faculty ever include students in their research? Do they ever coauthor papers or publications with students?

Definitely. Many of our graduate students have worked with our faculty as coauthors.

What kind of jobs do graduates from UWM’s political science program get?

Our M.A. graduates have found jobs in government or with non-profit organizations and NGOs as well as in the private sector. Recent M.A. graduates are now working in forensic data analysis at the FBI, doing data science research for nonprofits, teaching at UW Oshkosh, and pursuing doctoral degrees both here at UWM and at other universities.

Our Ph.D. students have received both academic placements at top universities and colleges across the country as well as non-academic jobs. Recent graduates have received tenure track positions at Bradley University,  UW-Green Bay, University of Turku, Kansas State University, and Earlham College.

Will the specific field in which I hope to specialize have any bearing on the admissions process?

We look for the best applicants, regardless of area of specialization.

Is an undergraduate major in political science necessary for admission to your graduate program?

No. We currently have graduate students who received undergraduate degrees in Sociology, History, Psychology, and Economics, to name a few.

How are admissions decisions made?

The graduate admissions committee reviews each and every application. All of the parts of the application will be read, and we base our decisions on the strength of the totality of the application. Successful applicants are those who demonstrate that they are likely to successfully complete the chosen degree program.

Do you admit students to begin their studies in the spring Semester, or do I have to start in the fall?

We only allow students to begin in the fall.