Graduate Studies

Welcome to Graduate Studies in Political Science

Please refer to the Program Information section for admission requirements. The application deadline is February 1st.

Unlike other political science graduate programs in Canada, our philosophy is to admit the very best students into our graduate program, regardless of their research interests. In fact, we prefer students who don’t have a clear topic but instead are passionate about exploring and learning new ideas, theories, and methods. We want students who crave mentorship and are keen on becoming contributors and consumers of political science research during their degree.

With this philosophy in mind, our curriculum offers the best political methodology training in Canada. The ability to engage in cutting edge research requires being able to read quantitative, qualitative, and theoretical papers and being able to apply these toolkits to a research problem. Students are also exposed to a wide range of theoretical perspectives and topics in our courses and are taught to identify gaps in the literature that they can fill during their degree and afterwards. MA students who complete our degree are well-equipped to start a PhD or seek employment in the public and private sectors.

The emphasis in our PhD program is on mentorship. We want to help students learn how to publish articles in peer reviewed journals and to become successful teachers. Normally, first year PhD students are assigned as research assistants to a faculty member to learn the craft of publishing and to potentially co-author a paper with them. Students are also encouraged to work on a publishable research paper topic during their first year of courses and then to workshop it during the summer Publishing Workshop, which is designed to help first year PhD students learn about the publication process and work on producing a publishable paper by the end of the summer. Publications remain a major focus throughout the degree.

During years 2-4 of the PhD program, students serve as teaching assistants and where possible, are given an opportunity to co-teach and then teach their own undergraduate course. In this way, students are given mentorship and practical experience to improve their teaching abilities.

We believe that mentorship is a collective responsibility shared by all faculty members, and not just the supervisor. We encourage you to get to know as many of the faculty members as possible during the first two years of the degree before choosing a supervisor. We believe that all members of the PhD supervisory committee should be fully engaged in the dissertation at every stage and that students should draw on the collective expertise of the department throughout their degree. If you are passionate about becoming a professional political scientist and are open to being mentored and challenged to grow, we invite you to apply to our graduate program.

Advantages of Graduate Studies in Political Science at Western

Image of students in a lecture hall and library

Strong Training and Support

  • Competitive funding packages for PhD and MA students
  • Office space for all graduate students
  • Strong training in research methods
  • Theoretical and methodological diversity
  • Opportunities and financial support for quantitative and qualitative data collection activities
  • Excellent libraries (4th largest academic research library in Canada) and facilities
  • Strong intellectual community and a variety of seminar series
  • Career and Professional Development
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