Graduate Study FAQs

Can I apply for a master's degree in Political Science?

The Department of Political Science does not admit students seeking a terminal master's degree. The program is oriented toward a Ph.D. A master's degree is earned as study for the doctorate progresses.

Can I apply for either spring or fall admission?

The Rice University Department of Political Science admits graduate students for matriculation in the fall semester only. Deadline for receiving your completed application is January 5 of the calendar year you wish to enter the program.

When should I begin the application process?

You should begin your application process early, preferably in the fall prior to the fall you wish to enter. To make sure scores are available when admission decisions are normally made you should take the GRE, TOEFL, etc. as required by the December prior to the January 5 deadline. You should also request transcripts and letters of recommendation by December or earlier in order to give the senders time to get the material to Rice before the deadline. The deadline for completed applications for the fall semester is January 5.

I may have some documents sent to Rice before I submit the application forms. What will happen to them?

Should any documents arrive before the application form, we will hold them in a pending file until the application is submitted. Items sent separately from the application form should include your name, your address, and your social security number. Be sure to send all materials directly to the Department of Political Science.

What can you tell me about financial aid?

Rice provides financial aid in four ways:

  • tuition waivers
  • graduate fellowships
  • research assistantships based on merit
  • need-based aid such as federally insured loans

Tuition waivers are granted in an amount equal to Rice's tuition, which is $43,220 for 2016-2017.

Graduate fellowships, unlike teaching fellowships awarded by many universities, entail only a modest teaching or research assignment (a maximum of ten hours per week during the semester); consequently, graduate fellows can engage in full time study. At present these fellowships provide incoming students at least $22,000 per nine month academic year and an additional $3,000 in summer funding guaranteed (contingent on good standing).

Numerous opportunities for additional summer funding (often supported by faculty grants) are also available. In addition, a number of graduate students have been recipients of external fellowships. All financial aid decisions are made shortly after the January 5 application deadline.

Does Rice offer graduate student housing?

Rice’s graduate students live off campus, either in nearby rental properties or at the university-owned Rice Graduate Apartments, Morningside Square Apartments or the Rice Village Apartments. Learn more about Rice’s convenient graduate student housing options.

What is Houston like?

Houston – Kiplinger magazine’s best city in the nation for 2008 – is home to a blend of ethnic groups and cultures matched only by New York City and Los Angles. Houston is a center for the visual and performing arts, an international business hub and home to the second-busiest port in the United States. To learn more about the city and campus, view Rice's introduction to Houston life and take a virtual tour of the Rice campus.

What if I have other questions?

Contact the Chair of the Department of Political Science.