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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

The Ph.D. Program in Political Science aims to train students for professional research and teaching careers, mainly at academic institutions. It emphasizes, first, the acquisition of substantive knowledge in the core areas of the discipline of Political Science as anchored in the Social Sciences. Second, it aims to equip students with quantitative and qualitative methodological skills, helping them conduct cutting-edge research as they advance their careers. While the Program aims to prepare candidates mainly for careers in academic institutions, graduates who take up research positions with international organizations, government agencies, and private sector companies consider the combination of substantive and methodological skills they acquired in the Program to be their key asset.

The standard Ph.D. curriculum commences with a full year of coursework aimed at equipping students for three comprehensive exams mandated for each student. We offer comprehensive exams in the fields of Turkish Politics, Comparative Politics, Political Theory, and Social and Cultural Studies, with students typically completing exams in two of these fields. We also encourage our students to co-build a third specialization field outside these under close supervision by their supervisor. Upon successfully defending their dissertation proposal, students embark on their dissertation work. All candidates for a Ph.D. in Political Science must complete their degree in six years.

The Political Science Ph.D. program accepts students with a full tuition fee waiver. The program also offers students other financial and professional benefits while they complete their curriculum and dissertation work. As such, the Department financially supports graduate students in attending methods training schools and presenting at academic conferences. When completing the requirements of the curriculum, students also receive individual attention from faculty members. All Ph.D. students graduate having received training-through-research through research assistantships funded by the Department as well as external institutions such as TÜBİTAK. Almost all Ph.D. students complete their degrees having published research with a faculty member in a reputable outlet Furthermore, students gain valuable experience through teaching assistantships funded by the Department. It is the combination of research and teaching experience that paves the way for success in careers in teaching and research at academic institutions.

The ideal candidates who would benefit most from the Program are successful MA students who are highly motivated to advance their professional, technical, and methodological skills in Political Science for research and teaching careers at academic institutions. We evaluate applicants based on their research interests and curiosities, communication skills, research experience, and academic preparation, as evident in ALES/GRE scores, writing samples, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. We give careful attention to the motivation and preparation of each applicant and aim at a holistic assessment of skills and competences.

The Curriculum

Course CodeCourse Name
GE 500Research Methods and Academic Publication Ethics
GE 690Academic Practices
GE 651Pre-Thesis Seminar I
POLS 699Ph.D. Dissertation
Research Methods Electives (2)
Restricted Electives (2)
Specialization Elective (3)
Unrestricted Electives

Apply to the Ph.D. Program

Program Information: For more detailed information, please follow the link.

Online Application: Please submit an online application here.

Requirements: These are the minimum necessary scores for applying to the Political Science Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program.

CGPA: 3.00/4.00

GRE: 298 (verbal and quantitative total + minimum 4.0 analytical)

ALES: 55 (equally-weighted)

Important Note: International candidates and those who are citizens of the Republic of Turkiye and studied their undergraduate abroad may apply with GRE results instead of ALES.

English Proficiency: At least one of the requirements below

  • TOEFL IBT (at least 87)
  • IELTS (at least 6.5 average and 5.5 from each section)
  • Bilkent PAE (at least C)

Please note that the validity period for all exams is 2 years.

Proof of Degree: Graduate degree if already obtained (application requirement: MA/MSc thesis)

Transcripts: Undergraduate & graduate transcripts (most recent one available at the time of application)

Statement of Purpose: 1000 words max. (reasons for applying to Ph.D., research interests)

Letter of Recommendation: 3 Letters of recommendation to be submitted online by the referees

Other: A writing sample

Application Deadline: 15 May 2024

Date of Interview: 06-07 June 2024

IMPORTANT NOTE: Incomplete applications will not be considered (At the time of application, the applicant should upload ALES or GRE scores or relevant exam application documents).


Ms. Zehra Hamamcı
POLS Admin. Assistant
E-mail: polsgrad@bilkent.edu.tr
Phone: +90 312 290 1339
Fax: +90 312 290 2742