The Western Michigan University political science Ph.D. program centers on the fields of American politics, comparative politics, and political theory. The program enrolls a small number of students each year by design. The size allows us to maintain small classes and increases opportunities for students to interact with faculty members.
Our graduate students comprise an important part of the intellectual life of the department, interacting with visiting scholars, participating on committees, and supporting our undergraduate program. The Political Science Graduate Student Association sponsors its own lectures and other programs to enhance the complete educational experience of all graduate students. Career development is encouraged through required courses on teaching and research, workshops, and mentoring by faculty members and veteran graduate students.
International students are a welcome part of our program and comprise around 50 percent of the graduate student body. Students come from countries such as Armenia, Bolivia, China, Croatia, Egypt, Germany, Ghana, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Romania, Russia, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, South Korea and Turkey.
Most graduate students are active in professional conferences by their second or third year. Students have presented papers at conferences organized by:
Students have been successful in attracting external grant funding, including from IREX, the American Councils, and the Middle Eastern Research Competition. One recent student won a national prize for her research. Students regularly conduct field research all over the world; recently research sites have included Russia, Poland, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Kenya, Bolivia, China, Armenia and Senegal.
Graduate assistantships are available on a competitive basis. Graduate assistants receive a salary/stipend and tuition remission. Assistantships include 20 hours per week assignments in either teaching or research assistance. Additional financial aid opportunities may be available through the Graduate College.
Our graduates have been successful in attaining placements both inside and outside of academia. In the 2003-04 cycle for example, five out of five students on the market obtained tenure-track placements in colleges and universities around the United States. Some international graduates have academic appointments in their home countries.
Faculty members have established solid records of research, teaching and service. Their books have been published by major university presses, and their articles have appeared in the top general and specialized journals in the discipline. Several have received funding for their research from the National Science Foundation.
One of the top-100 public universities in the United States, Western Michigan University is committed to being learner centered, discovery driven and globally engaged.
Kalamazoo is one of the 25 best cities in the country for young college graduates, according to a 2011 national study that looked at relative affordability, housing and employment opportunities, and size of the age 22-24 population.