Graduate Studies in Political Science

The Political Science Department at Duke places graduate research and training at the core of its mission. Three features define our approach to graduate education: ambition, innovation, and rigor. Our students explore questions ranging from the micro political economy of development, to the origins of state capacity, the relationship between ethnicity and conflict, the interplay between religion, money, and politics, or the ability of voters to articulate preferences in complex issue spaces.

Emphasis on Theoretical & Methodological Research Skills

Led by a devoted group of scholars at the cutting edge of their respective fields, Duke graduates are pushed from the very beginning to tackle challenging problems with the most suitable theoretical and methodological skills. This requires constant innovation and curiosity, both within political science and across the disciplines. We pride ourselves of our ability to work with and benefit from departments across the social sciences to ensure our students have access to the appropriate tools to tackle questions at the frontier of the discipline. With this goal in mind, our students learn very early on to work with and collaborate with faculty in creative and rigorous ways.

In addition to a demanding sequence of courses during the first two years, our graduates begin working with faculty from the very first day, to gain an appreciation of the challenges involved in producing innovative research. This paves the way to their own intellectual development, the first milestone of which is a solo-authored research paper to be presented to the department during their third year in the program. From that point on, until the completion of the dissertation in year five, the focus is primarily on independent research.

Our goal is to produce scholars capable of pushing the frontiers of the discipline over the course of their careers. Across all of our fields, we help students develop their best work. Our students achieve placement in the very best academic, public, and commercial organizations.