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So you have decided that after leaving Iona, you would like to pursue graduate school. How do you begin the process? Below are some frequently asked questions and suggested guidelines for the application process. Be sure to read through it carefully. If at any point you have questions, be sure to contact your departmental academic advisor. Good luck!
Graduate school admissions committees are interested primarily in your academic record. Good grades, a solid GPA, and the nature of the undergraduate institution from which you are applying are all taken into account. In addition, letters of recommendation, particularly from faculty members are seriously considered. Candidates may be distinguished by special skills in research, statistics, computer applications, writing, and foreign languages; essentially, traits that might set up apart from other candidates. Along these same lines, overseas experience vis-à-vis study abroad or other programs, work experience, and internships are important in distinguishing you in the applicant pool.
Most schools also take into account your GRE scores. Almost all schools require you to take the GRE General Exam; some require a subject exam as well.
For additional information about the GRE, go to the following link:
In general, the better your academic record, the higher your chances of getting into graduate school. Of course, your chances will vary from program to program.
Do I apply for a Master’s program or a Ph.D.? In what? Where do I want to go?
In selecting a program, there are many factors to take into consideration. First, why do you want to go to graduate school? A careful introspection about what end graduate school will serve for you and what you hope to do after grad school will have a lot to do with what sort of program you will choose.
You can do preliminary research on the job prospects for a particular field (i.e. Public Policy, International Affairs, Political Communication, Political Management) by going to school websites and reading their descriptions. Most graduate programs devote some discussion of what their graduates are doing as marketing tool. Use this to your advantage.
Where do you want to be? Geography, as silly as it may sound, is often a key determinant of where people apply to school. Where would you like to be, the New York metro area? Washington DC? Do you have family considerations? These should be included in your search to narrow down programs.
As additional factor to consider are Rankings. What does particular program look like in comparison to other programs? What is realistic for you? How competitive are these programs? One way to calculate this is by considering external rankings. These look at admissions criteria, graduation rates, faculty, financial packages, etc. One such set of rankings may be found at :
Faculty and specialties are important in narrowing your choices. Who is there at the institution? What do they do? Is there a particular field in Political Science you want? Is there a professor who teaches and conducts research in that area?
Financial Assistance is another factor important in selecting a program. Does a program offer opportunities for fellowships, teaching and /or research assistantships, financial aid? Is this limited to Ph.d. versus Master’s programs? Do they require a FAFSA form?
The Application Process
You should begin the process above at least the summer before your senior year if not sooner. The application process, as it was for undergraduate institutions, is lengthy.
Find the Graduate School that is Right for You
Master’s Vs. Ph.D. programs, courtesy of the Princeton Review
Ranking Political Science programs
Iona Student interns at Democratic National Convention
Iona senior and Political Science major Bridget McBrien is attending the DNC at the request of staffers working with Governor Cuomo of New York.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia with Political Science faculty.
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