Graduate FAQ

The Ph.D. Program in Political Science at Stony Brook is small and research oriented, with concentrations in public policy and political economy, American politics, and political psychology/behavior. Our program is limited to about 35 students taught by 20 faculty members, and features close working relationships with faculty, small class size, and numerous research opportunities for graduate students. The program provides an opportunity for students to develop skills as researchers and teachers, both through small seminars and hands-on experience. Graduate students have offices next to the faculty, other graduate students, graduate student seminar rooms, the graduate lounge, and extensive research facilities. All of this is located on a single floor of a modern building overlooking the Long Island Sound. This arrangement not only provides a delightful and friendly working environment, but also creates close working relationships among faculty and students that are critical for the professional training we offer.

A graduate program can be no better than the faculty and the Stony Brook Political Science Department is one of the most productive research departments in the country. A recent study of articles published in the three major American political science journals (American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, and Journal of Politics) over the past ten years shows that Stony Brook is second in the country in total publications, exceeded only by the University of Michigan (other schools in the top ten include Stanford, Rochester, Harvard and Ohio State). Taking into account the size of most of the other major graduate departments in political science, Stony Brook is clearly the most productive department per capita. What does this mean for the graduate program? Graduate students take courses from and do research with some of the most active researchers in political science. Seminars are taught by faculty who are familiar with the current controversies in that field and students have an opportunity to work on cutting-edge research in their area of interest. It is an exciting environment and a place where research is not just taught in the classroom but is experienced through direct participation. From your first semester you will be involved in research projects with political scientists who are well known throughout the discipline. By the time your dissertation is finished, you will have taught your own undergraduate courses and will probably have presented a research paper at a major professional meeting. Jointly authored student-faculty papers from our department have been published in the major political science journals on topics including urban politics, political psychology, regulatory enforcement, congress, and electoral studies.

The department is also one of the tops in the country in obtaining research grants and external funding. These grants provide financial support for graduate students and, even more importantly, they open up even more possibilities for collaborative research. Faculty research grants often involve graduate students directly in the projects and those students later go on to co-author resulting papers and books.

The graduate students in our program also contribute to the positive environment of the department. As a result of maintaining a small program, the department can be selective in admitting students. Our graduate students are highly qualified and hard working. They have diverse backgrounds and wide ranging interests. Sharing offices, research facilities, and the graduate student lounge promotes a friendly and intellectual environment. It is not at all uncommon for students to work together on research projects while in school and to continue joint research after graduating.

This emphasis on professional preparation and collaboration on research papers has given our graduates a competitive edge in the academic and research job markets. After finishing their degrees, our students have been successful in finding jobs at major research and teaching universities as well as in the public and private sectors. The program is designed to be finished in four years so students can finish their education in an appropriate amount of time and get started with their careers.


Department of Political Science • Social and Behavioral Sciences Building, 7th Floor, Stony Brook, NY 11794-4392 • Phone: 631-632-7650 • Fax: 631-632-4116
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