An advanced degree in political science will help create a foundation for success in a wide range of fields. Our current students have a variety of political interests, and our recent graduates have established careers in numerous fields and disciplines. You can focus your M.A. or Ph.D. degree on your interests by choosing one of our areas of study:

We're a supportive community of 12 distinguished faculty members and approximately 45 graduate students. For more information about our program, please contact Michael Clark, director of graduate studies, at 815-753-7054 or


Each year, we admit between six and 12 graduate students for full-time study. We primarily admit students for the fall semester, though spring admission is possible.

The application deadline is January 15. It's possible to apply after the deadline, but please contact us first.

Completion Time

Completion times vary, though these guidelines will help you know what to expect:

  • You can complete the M.A. in two years (four semesters of full-time study).
  • If you have an M.A., you can complete the Ph.D. in five or six semesters.
  • If you do not have an M.A., you can complete the Ph.D. in five years (10 semesters). It's possible to complete the M.A. requirements along the way.

Financial Support

Funding is available to all applicants and is awarded on a competitive basis. To receive funding, you must be in good academic standing with the department. We review funding requests in the spring semester. We also work with other university units, such as the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, to secure assistantships or fellowships (with tuition waivers) for our graduate students.

If you receive an assistantship/tuition waiver, you're expected to enroll full time and work a maximum of 20 hours a week for a graduate faculty member.

Visit the Graduate School for information on other funding options.

Master's Degree Students

You can expect to receive two years of support from a graduate assistantship, which provides:

  • A stipend for fall and spring semesters.
  • A tuition waiver that covers most, but not all, tuition-related costs.

Ph.D. Degree Students

You can expect to receive up to five years of support. The minimum award for a Ph.D. assistantship is approximately $14,000 per academic year. Please contact us for the current stipend amount.