Political Science at Rutgers University

Political Science at Rutgers is the joint enterprise of a diverse faculty and students from all parts of the nation and abroad.  They share the use of extensive resources, joining together in classes, informal and spontaneous activities, formal decision-making bodies, and collaborative research.  Their common interest and aspiration is to acquire, exchange and use an ever more profound knowledge of political affairs.


The graduate program in Political Science at Rutgers is the responsibility of the Department of Political Science of the School of Arts and Sciences in New Brunswick.  Individual faculty members from the Newark College of Arts and Sciences, and Camden College of Arts and Sciences also participate in the graduate program and are associate members of the department.

The University has extensive resources for pursuing advanced studies and research in politics.  It is located within easy reach of New York, Trenton, Newark, Philadelphia and Washington.  Immediately available on the main campus in New Brunswick are:

The Political Science Department has established its own  microcomputer teaching laboratory on the fourth floor of Hickman Hall.  The lab consists of twelve Dell microcomputers and a high speed printer.  It is designed to function as a classroom with a state-of-the-art computer/overhead projector to facilitate instruction. In addition, there is a department research lab with ten computers, a color scanner,  and a laser printer on the sixth floor. Students may use both labs for individual projects, including word processing, data analysis, simulations and graphics applications.   The Department's labs have many political science databases including all of the American National Election Studies, a complete collection of the New Jersey Eagleton Polls, the Supreme Court database, the full text of all Supreme Court decisions, and a folio collection of classic texts in political theory from Plato to J. S. Mill.  The recently expanded University Library contains more than 3 million volumes, including depositories of documents of the United Nations, United States, state governments, and many foreign governments.  Vast library resources are also readily available at such locations as the United Nations, the state capitol, Rutgers Law School and the Library of Congress. 

The Newark College of Arts and Sciences has its own M.A. program in Public Administration, for which separate application is necessary.


The department maintains both formal and informal relationships with a number of Rutgers' centers and institutes as well as other departments.  The Eagleton Institute of Politics is a center for practical politics in New Jersey.  Our graduate students are regularly selected as research assistants for various applied projects therre.  Students and faculty are also engaged in work with the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research,  the Center for Historical Analysis, and the Center for the Critical Analysis of Contemporary Culture.  Students and faculty are engaged as well in ongoing work with the departments of anthropology, history, psychology, and  English and several of the University's international programs including a newly emerging focus on Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East.., established in July 1997, seeks to promote the study of the complex relationship between the provision of individual and collective security and the building and maintenance of democratic political institutions. The Center's goals are to enhance our understanding of how secure, democratic societies and international systems are created, and to develop practical initiatives for constructing and deepening such democratic and security-producing arrangements on the local and global level. The Center's activities marry theory building with active fieldwork, bringing scholars, students, policy makers, civic leaders, and ordinary citizens together in practical efforts to analyze, design, and build functioning political institutions.

The Center for Global Security and Democracy

The Center for the American Woman and Politics (CAWP) is a unique think tank, education and resource center of the Eagleton Institute of Politics specializing in women's relationship to politics and government.  Established in 1971, the Center conducts programs for women public officials and serves as a clearinghouse for research and information about women in politics.  CAWP also acts as a liaison between the scholarly and political communities; conducts national surveys; maintains a unique data bank with statistics about women in elected office; publishes books, reports, and fact sheets; and issues a newsletter about women in politics for subscribers of its information services program.  CAWP is also committed to developing programs which educate and inspire young women to participate in the public world.


Periodically, the community gathers at the 6th floor Roberta Sigel lounge in Hickman Hall for various colloquia sponsored by the department and its "Centers."  At these times faculty and students engage in discussion of important topics in the discipline led by our own faculty and/or students or distinguished visiting scholars.  In recent years visitors have included Peter Euben, Mancur Olson, Rogers Smith, Nancy Hartsock, Robert Bates, Seyla Benhabib, Alex Wendt, Jon Elster, Kirsti McClure, Jack Snyder, Tracy Strong and Jane Mansbridge.

Consistent with the department's emphasis on excellence in both teaching and research we have developed programs in teaching effectiveness that are supported by the Graduate School.  Teaching assistants meet several times a year in a series of teaching workshops co-sponsored by the department and the graduate school.  All students will have an opportunity to attend these meetings during the course of their graduate study at Rutgers.  In addition we have established a teaching program sponsored by the Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education that has been available for all interested students.

Graduate students meet regularly to discuss common problems, to formulate policy positions, and to nominate candidates for committees.  They also provide advice to new students, and conduct social activities.  Most of these activities are conducted through the Political Science Graduate Student Association (PSGSA), an organization established and run by the graduate students in the program.  It seeks to advance the interest of its members in the political science community.  It nominates candidates for committees, elects officers annually, and offers its advice to individual students and to official bodies.


Policy decisions for the graduate program in political science are made by the department.Political science faculty who are Members or Associates of the Graduate Faculty vote on matters of particular relevance to the graduate program.


The Department makes policy decisions on admissions, curriculum, financial aid, courses, fields, examination procedures, and related questions, subject to University regulations.  Students as well as faculty serve on relevant committees dealing with these subjects.  Reserved to the faculty are decisions on individual students, such as admission of enrolled students to the Ph.D. program, financial aid awards, and examination appeals.


Executive responsibility for the graduate program is held by the Chair of the Department, who also serves as Graduate Director.The Chair is elected by the faculty members of the department for a three-year term.  The Chair is assisted by the Vice Chair for Graduate Studies, who is nominated by the Chair and approved by separate votes of the graduate faculty and the graduate student representatives.  A more detailed description of the governance procedures of the department is provided in the Department By-Laws.Copies of the By-Laws are available at the Department office.



Many efforts are made to aid students in their academic choices and in finding suitable employment.  The most useful help is often informal and derived from the close association of faculty and student colleagues.  Without limiting this informal assistance, the department also provides more formal means of advice.  General advice is available from the Vice Chair for Graduate Studies.  In addition, there are advisers in the special fields of interest.  For selection of courses, students are assigned an adviser upon entrance (the Vice Chair for Graduate Studies advices incoming students on course selection).  They should consult the list of courses available, and the recommendations of the fields (specified in the section on Major Fields and Sub-Fields) on appropriate courses and preparation.   After the first semester students should consult regularly with an adviser from their chosen major field, along with the Vice Chair for Graduate Studies, the Graduate Director, and other persons they find congenial, particularly in their major field. Further details on requirements and general principles of course selection are found in later sections of the brochure.  In the writing of the doctoral dissertation, close consultation with the principal supervisor is essential.


Students must recognize that the placement process begins the day they arrive at Rutgers.  Successful placement will be critically influenced by students' choice of major and minor fields, participation in seminars, participation in scholarly conferences, presentation and publication of research papers, choice of dissertation topics, timely progress on dissertation research, and successful competition for external dissertation and postdoctoral fellowships.  By the time students are actively seeking academic employment, they will find their ability to enhance their job prospects is narrowly constrained.  Students, therefore, should regularly and candidly discuss the career implications of their choice of studies, research, and academic activities with their advisors, the Vice Chair for Graduate Studies, and the Director of Graduate Placement.

The Director of Graduate Placement provides career advice and supervises a program of placement preparation.  Her office acts as a clearing-house for information on job and fellowship opportunities and oversees the preparation and distribution of confidential placement dossiers.