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EIU Department of Master of Arts in Political Science

Graduate Application Faq

  • When are application deadlines? 

We still review applications until classes begin for each semester, so there is no deadline beyond the first week of classes. However, there are significant advantages to getting admitted earlier. More classes are available to register, there’s more time to get financial aid in place, and you will get more thorough advisement if you receive admission far in advance of the semester. 

  • Can I receive a waiver for my graduate application fee? 

EIU does offer an application fee waiver to a very small group of people: McNair Scholars, EIU employees, veterans, and GN4U participants. We do not offer a graduate application fee waiver for international applicants.

  • What materials are needed for a complete application file?

You will need: an official transcript from the university you graduated from most recently, a personal statement, and two letters of recommendation. The application system will guide you through the process of submitting those materials. You will include the contact information of your two recommenders. They will receive an email with instructions about how to submit their recommendation. We do not require a GRE score for admission. The decision to waive the TOEFL for international applicants lies completely with the team at OISS and not with the graduate coordinator. Any questions about English proficiency should be directed to the Office of International Students and Scholars. 

  • I have been admitted to the political science program but have not received my NetID - how can I obtain that?

This is almost always related to documents related to immigration. For international applicants, the process is two stages. The political science program will admit the student, then OISS will need to ensure that all immigration documents have been received. Once that paperwork is in order then a NetID will be issued. 

  • When does registration open? 

The dates fluctuate a bit each year, but typically registration for the fall and summer semester begins when the campus returns from Spring Break in late March. For spring registration, it’s typically the second Monday in October. 

  • Do you have graduate assistantships available? 

Yes, we typically offer six graduate assistantships. They provide a full tuition waiver for fall, spring, and summer semesters. They also include a nine-month stipend. For the 2023-2024 academic year, the monthly amount was $1054. Students will still be required to pay any course fees. 

  • Is there a deadline for graduate assistantships? 

Yes, the deadline for consideration is March 1st of each year. A link to apply can be found here:

  • Do I need to be admitted to the graduate program in political science to be considered for funding? 

Yes, a candidate must be fully admitted to our graduate program to be considered for any graduate assistantship or scholarship. 

  • Do you offer spring or summer assistantships? 

We very rarely may have one spring assistantship. However, because of a variety of factors it is impossible to know if one will become available each year. Oftentimes those vacancies occur with short notice and thus we favor candidates who have fewer logistical hurdles to get to Charleston. There are significant drawbacks to a Spring assistantship. The first is that it only provides a tuition waiver for Spring and Summer semesters. Additionally, the pay is for only 4.5 months of work. Also, there is no guarantee that a Spring assistantship will lead to any more funding from the department in subsequent semesters. Summer assistantships are no longer available beginning in the Summer of 2024. 

  • What factors do we take into account when making these graduate assistantship decisions? 

It’s a mixture of undergraduate achievement as well as letters of recommendation that are the most influential in the decision making process. We also carefully read the personal statement that was submitted as part of the application packet. The committee consists of the full-time teaching faculty in the political science department. In the decision making process we typically only closely considered GA applicants with at least a 3.5/4.0 GPA. The average GPA for the 2022-2023 cohort of graduate assistants was 3.77/4.0. For the 2023-2024 cohort of graduate assistants the average GPA was 3.71/4.00. 

  • Can you look at my resume/CV/transcript and tell me the likelihood of receiving a graduate assistantship? 

I cannot. It’s impossible to know how many applicants we will have for the GA positions as well as how competitive the pool will be. There are so many unknown factors that it would be irresponsible to make a determination. We are receiving more graduate applications each admissions season and we do not anticipate the number of assistantships will increase - thus the likelihood of receiving funding is growing smaller each academic year. Over the last few years, about ten percent of those who were admitted to our graduate program and also applied for a graduate assistantship received a GA. 

  • I am an international applicant and I have questions about visas, immigration, travel arrangements, etc. Who should I contact? 

Anything related to travel, visas, immigration, etc. should be directed to the team at the Office of International Students and Scholars. They are very well equipped to handle all of these queries. Professors are not trained to help navigate this process. 

  • I would like to defer my admission to the next semester, how can I do so? 

Eastern Illinois University is no longer deferring applications/admissions. You will need to submit a new application online via your MyEIU checklist. If you have already submitted documents you will not need to resubmit, unless updated financials are required as they are only valid for 6 months. You will, however, be required to pay the $30 application fee. 

  • What criteria are necessary for admission? 

Typically, we admit students who have two strong letters of recommendation, a cogent and well articulated personal statement and a GPA of 2.75/4.0 from their undergraduate university. 

  • What are program requirements for the degree? 

That can be viewed through this spreadsheet for online students:

Or for face to face students:

  • Do I need to seek out a faculty sponsor before applying? 

No, you do not. That’s not a typical requirement for students studying in the social sciences. You will need to seek out an advisor to supervise your capstone or thesis, but that doesn’t occur until the end of the program. 

  • Do I need to have an undergraduate degree in political science to apply? 

No, you do not. We have students from a wide variety of undergraduate backgrounds. While it may be helpful to have some previous coursework in political science, it is not a requirement. 

Related Pages

Contact Information

Department of Political Science

Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Avenue
Charleston, IL 61920
Fax: 217-581-2926

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