Political Science

Graduate Degree Program Summary

Graduate programs offered

Earn a Graduate Degree

  • MA in Political Science with optional specialization:
    • Environmental Studies
    • Ethnic Studies
    • Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs
    • Water Resources Planning and Management
    • Women's & Gender Studies
  • PhD in Political Science with optional specialization:
Areas of Study

These informal areas of focus may help to shape your course of study but they will not appear on transcripts.

  • American Politics
  • Biopolitics
  • Comparative Politics
  • Human Rights and Security
  • International Relations
  • Political Theory
  • Public Policy

Online and Distance Opportunities

Some online coursework may be available for your program; contact dept. for details.

Contacts for Political Science

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Other Ways to Connect

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Political Science

Department Chair
Professor Kevin Smith

Graduate Chair
Professor Dona-Gene Barton

Graduate Secretary
David Csontos

Campus Address
511 Oldfather Hall
Lincoln NE 68588-0328

Promo image for Political Science

Application checklist and deadlines

1. Required by Graduate Studies

Submit these items as part of the standard steps to admission.

2. Required by Political Science

After you apply, allow one business day for us to set up your access to GAMES, where you'll complete these requirements.

  • Entrance exam(s): GRE
  • Minimum English proficiency: Paper TOEFL 600, Internet TOEFL 100, IELTS 6.5
  • Three recommendation letters
  • Writing sample (a college term paper, research report, or essay)
  • Statement of purpose

When sending GRE or TOEFL scores, UNL's institution code is 6877 and a department code is not needed.

Application Deadlines for Political Science
  • For Financial Consideration: May 1 for Fall. October 15 for Spring.
  • Otherwise: Applications for admission are accepted throughout the year.

Application/admission is for entry in a specific term and year. UNL's academic year is divided into 3 terms: Fall (August-December), Spring (January-May), and Summer (multiple sessions May-August). Some UNL programs accept new students only in certain terms and/or years; if your desired entry term isn't mentioned here, you may want to consult the department for clarification.


Graduate study in the Department of Political Science offers students the opportunity to work directly with nationally and internationally known scholar-teachers in American politics, international relations, comparative politics, public policy, and political theory. Students in the program have close working relationships with faculty and receive quality training for careers in academia, government, the nonprofit sector, and business. Graduate students often collaborate with faculty on research and jointly publish articles in national journals and present at conferences together.

The department is actively involved in several interdepartmental initiatives: ethnic studies; human rights and humanitarian affairs (an interdepartmental area of specialization which examines the diversity of the human condition and human rights issues), the Nebraska Public Policy Center (which seeks to facilitate research and analysis for policy issues important to Nebraskans), the Sorenson Forum (which addresses the difficulties of finding able people who will enter public life), the Gallup Research Center, and the Preparing Future Faculty Program. The department also offers a certificate in public policy analysis and program evaluation.

Cost of attendance

Cost differs from one student to another. For details see Tuition, Fees, and Funding or try our Cost Estimator.

Courses and More

Admitted students will choose courses from the Course Catalog, typically in: During the first half of their coursework, students will work with an advisor to create a plan of study — one of the essential Steps to Degree Completion.

Faculty and research

Where available, faculty names link to bios or homepages and conversation icons () link to directory listings with address, phone, and email.

Brandon Bosch

Sociology of Mass Media; Political Sociology

Jean Cahan

Modern European Philosophy; Modern Jewish Thought; Spinoza; Anti-Semitism, Political Theory; Israel and Modern Jewish IdentityDirector, Harris Center for Judaic Studies

Michael Combs

Judicial Politics; Constitutional Law; Black Politics; Urban Politics

John Comer

Public Opinion; Political Parties; Interest GroupsEmeritus

David Forsythe

Human Rights; International RelationsEmeritus

John Gruhl

Judicial Process; Constitutional Law; Civil Liberties; Criminal Justice

Ingrid Haas

Social Psychology; Social Cognitive Neuroscience; Tolerance, Stereotyping, and Prejudice

John Hibbing

Legislative Politics; Public Opinion; Evolutionary Psychology in Politics

Courtney Hillebrecht

International Relations; Human Rights

Alice Kang

Comparative Politics; International Relations

Nam Kyu Kim

Comparative Politics; World Politics; Methodology

Ari Kohen

Political Theory; International Relations

Ursula Kreitmair

crafting more effective environmental policy on the basis of behavioral research

Patrice McMahon

International Security; Comparative Politics; International Relations

Rupal Mehta

International Security; International Relations Theory; Formal/Quantitative Methods; Research Design/Political Analysis; Comparative Politics; South Asia

Sarah Michaels

Water Resources Policy and Governance; Science-Policy Interface; Comparative Environmental Policy

Ross Miller

International Relations; Comparative Politics; MethodologyGraduate Chair

Kevin Smith

Public Policy; Public Administration; American Politics

Michael Steinman

Public policy and administration.Emeritus

Elizabeth Theiss-Morse

Political Psychology; Public Opinion; Political Behavior

Sergio Wals

American Government; Political Behavior; Race and Ethnicity; Comparative

This summary page is maintained by Graduate Studies.
For additional details check out the dept./program website: Political Science.

Departments: Have an update for this summary? Contact Stacy Dam.