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Frequently Asked Questions

We're here to help. 

Do you have a question that is not addressed below? Feel free to contact the Graduate Director, Dr. Richard Dougherty or the Politics Department.

What kind of financial aid and scholarships are available?

In addition to the full tuition scholarship awarded to all Ph.D. students for their Ph.D. courses, most Politics students receive a small living stipend for their first 3 years in the program. In 2012-13, students received $3,500. In 2012-2013, several students received a higher level of funding.

Every two years, the department nominates several students to compete for a Hatton W. Sumners Scholarship. Nominees must be American citizens and in their second to fourth years of study. The Sumners Foundation subsequently interviews the nominees and selects two winners. Each Sumner scholar receives a $17,000 living stipend for two years. 

Each year the department selects a single recipient of a scholarship funded by the Earhart Foundation. This $17,000 living stipend is typically awarded to a student in his second or third year of study.

Each year the department also selects a recipient of the Richard A. Hillman Scholarship. This award, a $10,000 living stipend, is usually given to a second or third year student.

Is there a minimum GRE score?

There is no minimum score that serves as a cutoff point. The verbal score is more important than quantitative or writing. In recent years, most admitted students had a verbal GRE percentile in the 90s, with some in the upper 90s. The GRE is one factor among several that are considered. The strength of the other applicants is also important in determining who is admitted. It was easier to be admitted a decade ago than it is now.

Do students in the Masters program have a better chance of admission to the Ph.D.?

Masters students who apply for the Ph.D. program are judged primarily on their performance in Politics graduate courses and less on other factors. Masters students therefore increase their chances of admission if their performance is better than what would have been expected on the basis of their original applications. 

How many students are admitted into the Politics PhD program each year? How many apply?

Typically four or five students are admitted. Often one or two are admitted from the Masters program. In recent years we have had 25 to 35 applications annually for the Ph.D. 

Do I need to have an MA before applying to the PhD program?


Do students frequently work while in the program?

Some students work part-time jobs while in the program. Working usually means that it will take longer to finish, because it is hard to work and take a full load of courses. On the other hand, it is not prudent to burden oneself with massive loans. 

Are campus jobs available for graduate students?

Most campus jobs go to undergraduates as part of the Federal Work-Study program. However, students occasionally find positions on campus. Others work off campus. See the Human Resources department for employment opportunities at UD. 

Are teaching opportunities available for graduate students?

A few students are hired as adjuncts for a semester or two at the University of Dallas, but this usually happens only after most course work is completed. It is more common for students to find adjunct positions at nearby community colleges. The department strongly recommends this as a way to get teaching experience before finishing the Ph.D. 

What is the age range of graduate students? Do any have families?

Almost all are in their early to late 20s. Some come directly out of undergraduate studies. Others have worked or done other things for several years. Perhaps a quarter of our graduate students are married. A few have young children. 

Where should I live?

The only apartment complex within easy walking distance is Tower Village, which is across the street from campus. A number of graduate students also live in the Colony Apartments, which are about 3 miles from campus. There are many other apartments in the area. Some students have also found that extended stay hotels are a good option when first moving to the area.

Will I need a car?

Although bus service is available, and there is a new DART rail station on the northeast side of campus, public transportation tends to be inconvenient to use because buses and trains do not run as often as one would like to the places where one would like to go. Still, it is useable. Having a car is useful but not indispensable. Among one's friends, there is usually someone who drives. There are no shopping locations in easy walking distance from campus, but the number and quality of stores within 5 miles is excellent.

What airports are closest?

Dallas/Fort Worth International and Dallas Love Field are about equally close, 20 minutes by car (longer in rush hour). 

How many classes do students typically take per semester?

Students usually take 9 to 12 credits a semester (3 or 4 classes). One of those will be the IPS core class. Another is often a language class. 

How many years does it take to complete the course work?

Students typically complete their course work in 3 to 4 years. The IPS Core Courses are offered on a three-year cycle. The number of classes taken during a semester and the number of summer semester classes taken will help determine how long it takes to complete your course work.

What summer courses are offered?

In recent years the Politics Department has offered one graduate course per summer. Greek and Latin are offered annually in intensive summer courses.