Fall 2019 applications are now open

The graduate program in Political Science is both an intellectual and a community resource. Applicants for either the M.A. or Ph.D. degrees are expected to show evidence of potential for graduate study and to articulate reasons why this discipline, program, and location are relevant to their concerns. The department seeks a diverse pool of applicants whose pursuits and interests will contribute to our community and the broader world. Admission to the program is competitive, and even applicants who meet or surpass minimum requirements are not guaranteed acceptance.

Students with baccalaureate degrees from accredited U.S. institutions of higher learning or with foreign baccalaureate degrees equivalent to the U.S. bachelor's degree may apply to our graduate program if their academic records meet UH Mānoa Graduate Division standards. Normally this means a grade point average of 3.0 or better on a four-point scale.

The evaluation of applications involves two phases. First, an initial screening is completed by the University's Graduate Division to ascertain whether the applicant meets the minimum entry criteria specified in the current University of Hawai'i at Mānoa General and Graduate Information Catalog. Second, if the student meets the minimum entry criteria, the application is forwarded to the department for review. The department Admissions Committee, with input from other department members, makes final decisions regarding admission to the program.

Mānoa Political Science and the GRE

Our department DOES NOT require the GRE for admission. We removed the requirement because we found the GRE to be a poor predictor of graduate student aptitude for our program. Some students who had very low scores on the GRE went on to stellar success in our program and the academic world after that, while others who came in with very high scores found themselves unable to cope with the rigors of graduate school. There is ample evidence of racial, gender and other biases in aptitude tests, and the GRE is no exception. In our view, the GRE seemed to correlate best with the socioeconomic status of the applicants and did little to inform us of the aptitude of the candidate for graduate work in our program.

Removing the GRE from the evaluation process has meant that our assessment of candidates has focused primarily on (a) the quality of their research sample, (b) their statement of intent, (c) the quality and depth of their reference letters, (d) their prior academic record, and (e) the strength of the case they make in their cover letter, especially with regard to the fit between their needs and the department's resources. We feel these are far better instruments through which to assess the potential of a particular student than a multiple-choice test ostensibly measuring aptitude for graduate work in some generic sense. Successful applications provide the admissions committee with a qualitative account of a candidate’s academic past and their goals once admitted to our program.

Return to Top

Applying to the Program

Applications are considered only for the fall semester; there is no spring admission. The deadline for applications for Fall 2019 admission is January 18, 2019 for U.S. residents. Due to the extra time required for processing foreign documents, the deadline for foreign students is January 4, 2019. Late applications will not be accepted.

All documents necessary for a complete file must be received by the deadline. Any files that are missing items at the close of the business day of the respective deadline date will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed by the admissions committee. It is your responsibility to assure that the documentation has arrived and that your file is complete.

Please understand that the admissions process is highly competitive, therefore, admission is not guaranteed.

Return to Top

Application Materials

1. Graduate Division Documents (Submit directly to Graduate Division):

Please send these documents to:

Graduate Admissions Office
2540 Maile Way, Spalding 354
Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96822

For more information, visit the Graduate Division website.

2. Department Documents (Submit directly to Political Science Department):

  • Statement of Objectives
  • Three Letters of Recommendation (these can be mailed or emailed)
  • Writing Sample (such as an article or term paper that demonstrates your writing ability, roughly 10 pages long)
  • We do not require the GRE for admission. Please do not send us GRE scores.

PDF versions of these documents may be submitted electronically to

  • Statement of Objectives (LastName_Statement.pdf)
  • Three Letters of Recommendation (LastName_LOR1/2/3.pdf)
  • Writing Sample (20-25 pages) (LastName_WritingSample.pdf)

You may also submit these documents via post to:

Graduate Admissions
Department of Political Science
2424 Maile Way, Saunders 640
Honolulu, Hawai'i 96822

Return to Top

Current M.A. Students

Students who are currently enrolled in our master's program and wish to apply for the doctoral program do not follow regular Ph.D. application procedures.

Please visit Petition to Doctorate for more information

Return to Top