About The Ph.D. Program

Thank you for visiting the graduate program website and for giving us the opportunity to introduce ourselves. We take special pride in our Department’s high national ranking in the discipline — and in the shared determination of our faculty to continue to build an exciting intellectual community. Our graduate program combines outstanding faculty and students, a broad-ranging curriculum oriented toward research, and the resources of one of the nation’s great universities. In addition to housing many leading departments in the social science, humanities and natural sciences, UCLA offers one of the world’s foremost research libraries, exceptional computing facilities, and an extensive network of interdisciplinary centers and institutes that foster linkages across disciplinary boundaries.

Our Department is a fairly large one, staffed by approximately 45 core faculty. Each year we aim for an entering class of about 15 to 20, which allows for considerable personal attention to each of our students. Currently, we have about 150 students in residence. We consider ourselves a “full service” department: our large and intellectually diverse faculty offers coursework and opportunities for research in all of the major sub-fields of the discipline. In addition, our graduate students have found that our curriculum facilitates intensive study in a number of cross-cutting areas – empirical and theoretical, contemporary and historical. Among these interdisciplinary concentrations are political economy, American political development, race and politics, women’s studies, and the philosophical, historical, and literary dimensions of political theory. Because UCLA is home to a large number of centers for language and area studies our students often focus their doctoral research on the politics of specific world regions while drawing theoretical and empirical leverage from sources that transcend conventional boundaries.

Our emphasis on rigorous academic training and independent research creates a diverse and intellectually exciting graduate student community. Most of our doctoral graduates go on to careers in academic institutions, but many have also found challenging employment in the public sector or in private organizations that emphasize research and analytic skills. In the past decade or so, our graduates have obtained tenure-track academic positions at Princeton, Yale, Harvard, Harvard's Kennedy School, Stanford, Pittsburgh, Rochester, Michigan, UC Berkeley, and UC San Diego. Others have joined such institutions as the World Bank, the State Department, the Federal Reserve Bank, RAND, and the Carnegie Endowment.