Admission Procedures

How to Apply

Those seeking to apply to the Graduate Program can apply online. Admission and Financial Assistance applications are accepted for the fall semester only. The deadline is December 15th. Financial aid is limited to Ph.D. candidates.

In keeping with the policy of BU’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, the Department of Political Science practices holistic admission, considering all components of a PhD application for every applicant. We are aware that the COVID-19 pandemic may have negatively affected some applicants’ Spring 2020 grades, and others may have opted for a modified grading option (e.g., pass/fail). We will evaluate applications with these circumstances in mind. Applicants are encouraged to explain any unusual personal circumstances either in their personal statement or in a separate document uploaded with the application.

We require applicants to submit the following:

  • Transcripts for all institutions attended
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Statement outlining plans for graduate study
  • Academic writing sample
    • GRE scores optional

International students whose native language is not English should refer to the English Proficiency Requirement instituted by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Language Proficiency Requirement for international applicants – for Fall 2021 applicants, GRS is accepting the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition and the Duolingo English Test to support our applicants who are experiencing difficulties accessing testing due to the pandemic.  

Applicants should apply online and all supplementary materials should be uploaded with the application.  Please do not direct materials to the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences or to the Department of Political Science.

We recommend all applicant submit their transcripts, recommendations, and test scores prior to submitting the online application to ensure all documents are received before the deadline.

It is your responsibility to contact the Department of Political Science to determine if your application is complete. 


Applicants are expected to hold a B.A., preferably in political science or in a related discipline such as economics, philosophy, sociology, international relations or history. Depending on their qualifications, applicants from other disciplines will also be considered.

Graduate Exams and Scores:

The Department of Political Science practices holistic admission, considering all components of a PhD application for every applicant. We do not have a minimum GRE score. Because English-language proficiency is crucial for success in our program, we do require a minimum TOEFL score of 100 (600 for the paper-based test) or an IELTS score of 8. The English-language proficiency requirement is waived only if the applicant has received or expects to receive an undergraduate or graduate degree from a college or university in any of the following countries prior to enrollment in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences: the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, or Ireland.

ETS Institution Code: The ETS Institutional code for the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences is “3087.”