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Graduate Program Admission Requirements

Our master’s degree program is open to students with all career objectives; however, the program is ideally suited for those who are interested in conducting original research or are considering going on to earn a doctoral degree. Only students with a career objective of attaining a faculty position in higher education are considered for admission to the doctoral degree program.

Minimum Admission Requirements

You must have:

  • A bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent) from an accredited institution. This degree must represent the completion of a program equivalent in the distribution of academic subject matter and scholarship achievement comparable to that offered by the University of California.
  • A minimum 3.20 GPA for the last two years of undergraduate or graduate coursework. Admission may be justified if you have a GPA between 3.0 and 3.19, if you have a high GRE score and/or strong academic letters of recommendation. If your GPA is below 3.0, you are ineligible.
  • GRE exam scores. Scores up to five years old may be used. 308 is the minimum GRE score required for admission (combined quantitative and verbal portions only) with a minimum of 150 in each portion. Combined quantitative and verbal scores below this may be justified by a high GPA (3.75+), strong academic letters of recommendation, and/or strong TOEFL scores. The subject test is not required.
  • TOEFL scores (international students only). Scores up to two years old may be used. 213 is the minimum TOEFL score on computer administration, 550 is the minimum TOEFL score on paper and pencil administration, and 80 is the minimum for the Internet-based exam (iBT). The TOEFL requirement if you successfully completed a graduate degree where the language of instruction was English. If you want language training prior to applying, you may want to consider the options offered at UCR Extension.
  • Three academic letters of recommendation from faculty in your current program of study (written in English).


  • Admission to our program is competitive. Satisfying minimal standards does not guarantee admission.
  • Admission decisions are based on many factors including your degree, grades, statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, test scores, and relevant experience. Your goals must also connect to faculty research interests.

Application Deadlines

We begin accepting applications during the second week of September for the following fall quarter.

The application deadline for admission and fellowship consideration (Ph.D. program only) is January 5.

Applications are still accepted until September 1 (June 1 for international applicants); however, applications received after the January 5 deadline run the risk of less funding and fewer fellowship options.

How to Apply

To complete your application, you will need:

  • GRE scores
  • Three academic letters of recommendation (from people familiar with your academic work)
  • TOEFL scores (only international applicants)
  •  Official transcripts from all academic institutions attended

If you are ready to apply, please complete the official UCR Graduate School Application. This serves as the official application to UC Riverside’s Political Science Department’s Graduate Program.

Get Help

For general questions about the program and admissions, contact Director of Graduate Admissions Indridi H. Indridason at indridi.indridason@ucr.edu.

For help with the application process or the status of your application, contact the UCR Graduate Division at graddiv@ucr.edu or Graduate Student Affairs Assistant Sarah Oatman at sarah.oatman@ucr.edu.

Our faculty members are happy to answer any questions about the program and their subfields.