College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences

Graduate Programs

Graduate programs can take a number of different forms. Graduate work occurs after a student completes a bachelor’s degree and moves on to advanced work in a chosen field of study. Graduate degrees can include Masters in Political Science, a PhD (doctorate) in Political Science, a Masters in Political Science, a Juris Doctor degree (JD), and many more degree programs even outside of our discipline.

Typically, a graduate program can last anywhere from 1-7 years. Master’s and law degrees are shorter (1-3 years) and typically prepare students for advanced professional careers. Doctorate degrees are longer (5-7 years) and typically prepare students for academic careers as college instructors and professors. 

What can I do to prepare for graduate school?

The majority of the preparation for graduate school starts in the summer of your junior year in college:

  • Study for and plan to take the graduate entrance examinations (e.g. GRE, LSAT, etc.,)
    • Enroll in courses offered by agencies such as TestMasters, Princeton Review, Kaplan, BluePrint
  • Research relevant graduate programs that you might be interested in applying to.
    • Visit department websites to view program information, faculty, and application information
  • Talk to faculty members in office hours to secure letters of recommendation
  • Devise a TIMELINE to apply to these programs:
    • Summer: Study for the GRE or LSAT
    • Fall: Begin acquiring materials for application, finalizing personal statements, take the GRE or LSAT
    • Winter: Apply to these programs (coincides with senior capstone quarter)
  • Participate in clubs, organizations, and activities to “pad” your graduate school resume
    • National Model UN, Model OAS, Mock Trial, Political Science Club
    • Cal Poly Pomona Student Research Conference
    • Undergraduate Journal of Political Science
  • Ensure that you are on the path to graduation!
    • Meet with your department advisor or see the CLASS Advisors regularly
    • Boost your GPA!

Below is a list of selected graduate programs, their deadlines and requirements. These are selected from public institutions in Southern California. This is not an exhaustive list and these dates/requirements are subject to change. You should do this research on your own, but this list is only intended to give you an idea of the application process.

UC Graduate Programs

These programs offer mostly PhDs in political science. The deadline for these applications ranges from early December to mid-January.

UC Irvine (PhD, Faculty alumni: Dr. Chaturvedi & Dr. Nyenhuis)
PhD in Political Science
Deadline: December 15
Requirements: GRE, three recommendations, transcripts 

UCLA
PhD in Political Science
Deadline: December 1
Requirements: three recommendations, statement, writing sample, transcripts, GRE

UC Riverside
PhD/MA in Political Science
Deadline: January 5
Requirements: GPA above 3.2, GRE exam (307 minimum score), three letters of recommendation, transcripts 

UC San Diego
PhD in Political Science
Deadline: December 10
Requirements: transcripts, three letters of recommendation, GRE, optional writing sample

UC Santa Barbara (PhD, Faculty alumni: Dr. Dean & Dr. Guerrero)
PhD in Political Science
Deadline: December 15
Requirements: Transcripts, three letters of recommendation, GRE, statement, GRE, writing sample 

UC Santa Cruz  
PhD in Political Science
Deadline: January 13
Requirements: statement, transcripts, GRE, three letters of recommendation, abstract of scholarly work

Cal State Graduate Programs

The CSU system offers a wide variety of master’s degrees in a variety of fields. The application process is far more flexible than PhD programs, as these applications are typically due anywhere from February to July.

Cal Poly Pomona
Masters in Public Administration
Deadline: Fall – June 1, Winter – November 20
Requirements: Statement, two recommendations, GRE, transcripts 

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Masters of Public Policy
Deadline: March 1
Requirements: Statement, Resume/CV, three recommendations, transcripts 

Cal State Bakersfield
Masters of Public Administration
Deadline: No date given online
Requirements: Statement, two recommendations, transcripts, GPA above 2.5 

Cal State Fullerton
Masters of Public Administration
Deadline: March 31
Requirements: Statement, resume, two recommendations, transcripts, GRE optional

Masters in Political Science
Deadline: Begins in March, ongoing
Requirements: Statement, writing sample, 2-3 letters of recommendation, GPA above 3.0, GRE, transcripts 

Cal State Los Angeles
Masters of Public Administration
Deadline: Fall – April 1, Spring – October 1
Requirements: GPA above 3.0, two recommendations, statement, resume, transcripts 

Masters in Political Science
Deadline: Fall – April 1, Spring – October 1
Requirements: GPA above 3.0, transcripts, two recommendations, statement 

Cal State Northridge
Masters of Public Administration
Deadline: Fall – July 1
Requirements: statement, resume, transcripts, GRE if GPA below 3.0 

Masters in Political Science
Deadline: Fall – April 15, Spring – October 15
Requirements: transcripts, resume, statement, writing sample, two recommendations, GPA above 3.25 

Cal State San Bernardino
Masters in National Security Studies
Deadline: Fall – April 15; Winter – October 15; Spring – January 15
Requirements: GRE, major GPA of 3.0, graduate writing requirement, statement, three recommendations, pre-requisite courses 

Masters in National Cyber Security Studies
Deadline: Fall – April 15; Winter – October 15; Spring – January 15
Requirements: GRE, major GPA of 3.0, graduate writing requirement, statement, three recommendations, pre-requisite courses 

Masters in Public Administration
Deadline: Fall – July 16, Winter – October 14, Spring – January 20
Requirements: statement, transcripts 

Long Beach State
Masters of Arts in Political Science
Deadline: Fall – February 15; Spring – October 1
Requirements: 3.0 GPA, three recommendations, statement, transcripts 

San Diego State
Masters in Political Science (emphasis in Public Policy OR International Relations)
Deadline: February 1
Requirements: 3.0 GPA, GRE above 153 on verbal & quantiative 

GRE (Graduate Record Examination)

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test that is an admissions requirement for most graduate schools in the United States. The exam aims to measure verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills that have been acquired over a long period of time and that are not entirely based on any specific field of study outside of the GRE itself. 

Offered: You can take the computer-delivered GRE revised General Test once every 21 days, up to five times within any continuous rolling 12-month period (365 days). This applies even if you canceled your scores on a test taken previously. You may take the paper-delivered GRE revised General Test as often as it is offered, in April, October, and September.

Scoring

Verbal: 130-170 points | Quantitative: 130-170 | Analytical writing: Two essays, scored from 0-6

Time: 3 hours, 45 minutes

Law Programs

The deadline for these programs typically fall between February and March.

UCLA
Deadline: Fall – February 1
Median GPA: 3.78
Median LSAT: 168
Requirements: LSAT before February, statement, resume, two letters of recommendation, evaluations, transcripts 

USC Gould
Deadline: February 1 (priority)
Median GPA: 3.76
Median LSAT: 166
Requirements: LSAT before February (for priority), statement, resume, three letters of recommendation, transcripts, 

UC Irvine
Deadline: March 31
Median GPA: 3.56
Median LSAT: 162
Requirements: LSAT before June, statement(s), resume, two letters of recommendation, transcripts 

Loyola Marymount Law
Deadline: February 15 (priority)
Median GPA: 3.54
Median LSAT: 161
Requirements: LSAT before December, statement(s), one letter of recommendation, transcripts, resume 

Pepperdine Law
Deadline: February 15 (priority)
Median GPA: 3.63
Median LSAT: 162
Requirements: resume, personal statement, mission statement, two letters of recommendation, LSAT before February 

UC Hastings Law
Deadline: March 31
Median GPA: 3.58
LSAT: 162
Requirements: resume, personal statement, two letters of recommendation, LSAT before February 

Chapman Fowler School of Law
Deadline: March 31
Median GPA: 3.71
Median LSAT: 156
Requirements: resume, personal statement, two letters of recommendation, accepts LSAT (recommends June before senior year) 

LSAT

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a half-day standardized test administered four times each year at designated testing centers throughout the world. Administered by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) for prospective law school candidates, the LSAT is designed to assess reading comprehension, logical, and verbal reasoning proficiencies.

Offered: February, June, September/October, and December

Taking the exam multiple times: The ABA has changed the rule regarding the reporting of the highest of multiple LSAT scores, however, this does not change the review process. If the candidate has taken the LSAT multiple times, the Committee will review all of the LSAT scores. From an admissions perspective, the average score may be the best indication of an applicant's success. It is advisable for the applicant to explain why one score is more indicative of his or her likelihood of success.

Scoring

Total: 120-180, average is approximately 150

Format: Five 35-minute sections of multiple choice questions: reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and two logical reasoning

Time: 2 hours, 55 minutes

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