Why Choose a WMU Ph.D.?

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.

The department prides itself on its diversity. Over a five year period, women comprised 47% of the graduate student body. Minorities comprised 13% and international students 40%. The latter came from over 30 countries across Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

Most graduate students are active in professional conferences by their second or third year. Students have presented papers at conferences organized by the:

  • American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies
  • American Political Science Association
  • Association for Asian Studies
  • Association of Third World Studies
  • International Studies Association
  • Midwest Political Science Association
  • Southern Political Science Association
  • Western Political Science Association

Students have been successful in attracting external grant funding, including from Fulbright, IREX, the American Councils and the Middle Eastern Research Competition. One student recently won the Carrie Chpman Catt prize for her research on women and politics. Students regularly conduct field research all over the world. Research locations have included South Korea, Russia, Poland, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Kenya, Bolivia, China, Armenia, Senegal, Serra Leone, Liberia, Jordan, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Lebananon, Pakistan, Canada and Germany.

Graduate assistantships are available on a competitive basis. Graduate assistants receive a salary or stipend and tuition remission. Assistantships include 20 hours per week assignments in either teaching or research assistance. 

Our graduates have been successful in attaining placements both inside and outside of academia.

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.

The University

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.

The community

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 to 24 population.