Apply to the Ph.D. Program

The application portal for Fall 2024 admission is now closed.

We accept applications for admission to the Ph.D. program for the Fall term of each year only. 

How to Apply

To apply, you must complete the University of Arizona Graduate College online application. Follow these steps:

  1. Create a GradApp account
  2. Complete your GradApp profile under "My Account".
  3. Select "Apply to a Program" from the sidebar.
  4. Select "University of Arizona-Main" as the campus and "Tucson" as the location.
  5. Choose "Degree Seeking" under application type and "Government & Public Policy (PHD)" under program of study.
  6. Choose the semester during which you wish to enter the program.
  7. Your application should now be initiated under "My Active Applications."

If technical issues arise with the online application, please contact the Graduate Collage at for assistance.

The application portal for the PhD program is typically open between October and January each year. 

Application Checklist

We admit a limited number of applicants on a competitive basis each year. Admission and financial support decisions are made on the evaluation of the following required application materials.

Academic Statement of Purpose

What we would like to see addressed in your “Academic Statement of Purpose” (no more than 3 pages):

  • What is your academic background? 
  • What question(s) and/or topic(s) are of interest to you – do you have specific (or broad) ideas about what you would like to study in graduate school?
  • Are there specific faculty members in SGPP with whom you would like to work? How do their academic interests complement your own? 
  • What methodological approaches do you want to use to address these questions? For example, what kind of data, cases, and/or methods are of interest to you? Discuss your previous preparations for this aspect of the research process. That could include one or more of the following, but it is certainly not limited to these options: 
    • Successful completion of academic coursework or training programs/certificates in research methods.
    • Relevant analytical skills developed and employed through your work experience. 
    • Your quantitative GRE score. (Note that, as with other items on this list of suggestions, this is optional. We do not require the GRE for admission, and we will not assume anything if you choose not to discuss it in this document.) 
    • One or more academic articles/books that adopt an empirical approach that you find compelling.

Personal Statement

What we would like to see addressed in your “Personal Statement” (no more than 2 pages):

  • Why do you want to pursue a PhD? How will this degree help you to achieve your career goals?
  • Why do you want to pursue a PhD at UArizona, specifically?
  • How have your identities and past experiences shaped your academic interests and prepared you for graduate school? This might include discussing some or all of the following:
    • How have your cultural, geographical, financial, and/or educational backgrounds and experiences presented opportunities and/or challenges for you?
    • How have these backgrounds and experiences motivated you to pursue a PhD, and how might they help you succeed in our program?
    • If you have written a senior or master’s thesis or conducted some other major independent or collaborative research project, how did that experience influence your PhD goals?
    • Do you have experience as a research and/or teaching assistant?
    • Did you work in a position that made you want to explore some process more deeply?


A bachelor's degree with an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.00 is required for admission. Submit transcripts from all institutions where you have received college credit.

Transcripts can be scanned and uploaded with the online application. Scans of official transcripts are preferred; if unofficial transcripts are used, they must include the name of the institution and your name.

English Language Proficiency

You are required to complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) if your native language is not English or if you have not received an undergraduate degree from an institution where English is the exclusive medium of instruction.

If you wish to be considered for financial support via an assistantship, you must score a minimum of 24 on the speaking element of the TOEFL IBT or a minimum of 7.5 on the speaking section of the IELTS. Scores should be submitted through ETS using institution code 4832, or as a PDF document in the supplemental question section of the application.

Applicants who have completed a bachelors or graduate degree at a regionally accredited institution in the United States, or an approved institution in an official English speaking country.  Students eligible for this exemption, who are awarded a graduate teaching assistantship from their department, must complete the mandatory English Speaking Proficiency Evaluation (ESPE.)  Refer to the GA Manual for more information:

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required from three individuals who can speak to your academic potential, including knowledge and creativity, communication skills, and ability to complete projects.  Letters of recommendation are submitted by the letter writers through the online application system.

Writing Sample

You should submit a writing sample that represents your original research/work. The writing sample should not exceed 25 pages in length.

Contact Us

If you have any questions, contact the Director of the Ph.D. Program:

Dr. Jessica Braithwaite