Department of Political Science College of Arts and Sciences Stony Brook University, State University of New York

Department of Political Science College of Arts and Sciences Stony Brook University, State University of New York

Stony Brook, NY
student ratio
Not Reported
total students
average amount to complete degree
January 15
fall application deadline
acceptance rate
4 Degrees Offered
degrees offered


The Ph.D. Program in Political Science at Stony Brook University

The Ph.D. Program in Political Science at Stony Brook is small and research oriented program, with concentrations in public policy and political economy, American politics, and political psychology/behavior. The program is limited to about 35 students taught by 20 faculty members, and features close working relationships with faculty members, small class sizes, and numerous research opportunities for graduate students. The program provides opportunities for students to develop skills as researchers and teachers, both through small seminars and hands-on experience. Graduate students have offices next to the faculty members, other graduate students, graduate student seminar rooms, the graduate lounge, and extensive research facilities. All of this is located on a single floor of a modern building overlooking the Long Island Sound. This arrangement not only provides a delightful and friendly working environment, but also creates close working relationships among faculty members and students that are critical for the professional training the program offers.

A graduate program can be no better than the faculty involved with it, and the Stony Brook Political Science Department is one of the most productive research departments in the country. A recent study of articles published in the 3 major American political science journals ("American Political Science Review," "American Journal of Political Science," and "Journal of Politics") over the past 10 years shows that Stony Brook is 2nd in the country in total publications, exceeded only by the University of Michigan (other schools in the top 10 include Stanford, Rochester, Harvard, and Ohio State). Taking into account the size of most of the other major graduate departments in political science, Stony Brook is clearly the most productive department per capita. What does this mean for the graduate program? Graduate students take courses from and do research with some of the most active researchers in political science. Seminars are taught by faculty members who are familiar with the current controversies in that field and students have opportunities to work on cutting-edge research in their areas of interest. It is an exciting environment and a place where research is not just taught in the classroom but is experienced through direct participation. From students' first semesters, they will be involved in research projects with political scientists who are well known throughout the discipline. By the time students' dissertations are finished, they will have taught their own undergraduate courses and will probably have presented research papers at major professional meetings. Jointly authored student-faculty member papers from the department have been published in the major political science journals on topics including urban politics, political psychology, regulatory enforcement, congress, and electoral studies.

The department is also one of the tops in the country in obtaining research grants and external funding. These grants provide financial support for graduate students and, even more importantly, they open up even more possibilities for collaborative research. Faculty member research grants often involve graduate students directly in the projects and those students later go on to co-author resulting papers and books.

The graduate students in the program also contribute to the positive environment of the department. As a result of maintaining a small program, the department can be selective in admitting students. Its graduate students are highly qualified and hard working. They have diverse backgrounds and wide ranging interests. Sharing offices, research facilities, and the graduate student lounge promotes a friendly and intellectual environment. It is not at all uncommon for students to work together on research projects while in school and to continue joint research after graduating.

This emphasis on professional preparation and collaboration on research papers has given graduates a competitive edge in the academic and research job markets. After finishing their degrees, the program's students have been successful in finding jobs at major research and teaching universities as well as in the public and private sectors. The program is designed to be finished in 4 years so students can finish their educations in an appropriate amount of time and get started with their careers.

Fields of Study

In order to provide a thorough background in the fields offered, the department has focused research and teaching resources on 3 specialized fields -- American politics, policy and political economy, and political psychology. Students take foundation courses in these fields during their first years. In subsequent years they will do advanced course work in 2 of these 3 fields, as well as select a specialized field for dissertation research. All students must pass qualifying examinations after their second year in 2 of these fields and in research methodology. All students receive thorough training in research methodology, since this is essential to all fields.

American Politics

The American Politics concentration provides a broad perspective on national political institutions and processes, with particular emphasis on elections. Courses are taught in political parties and elections, the legislative process, the American judiciary, political ideology, electoral behavior, and social choice theory. Students become familiar with the kinds of quantitative and formal analysis techniques most often applied to the study of American politics. Members of the faculty are currently doing research on nominations to the Supreme Court, Congressional decision-making, voting in Congressional and Presidential elections, and public opinion.

Political Economy

The political economy program builds upon the department strengths in political psychology, methodology, and laboratory experiments. The primary focus of the program is on applications of behavioral economics methods in political science and empirical testing of theoretical models in laboratory settings. Such a focus allows for the cross-field collaboration and synergy within the political science department.

Substantively, experimental economics uses the insights from psychology to test the traditional economic models of a man as a selfish utility-maximizing actor. Behavioral economics takes these psychological insights and experimental results further and offers alternative theoretical models that incorporate emotions, altruism, sense of fairness, inequity aversion, and so on. The behavioral models can then be applied in any substantive field of political science.

Political Psychology

The doctoral concentration in political psychology/behavior applies contemporary psychological theories, concepts, and research methods to the study of political behavior. Students are trained in topics and methods associated with psychology as well as political science. Methodological concerns focus on experimentation. In addition to formal training in experimental methods, students are apprenticed throughout the course of training to ongoing laboratory research projects. Students become familiar with the department's extensive and well-equipped laboratories and the regular subject pool.

The substantive concerns of the political psychology concentration include, but are not limited to, those facets of psychology that can be applied to the study of political behavior: e.g. communication and interaction, group influence, attribution, attitude change, political cognition, public opinion, cognitive processes, and decision making.

Follow this link to learn more about Political Psychology.


Since students believe that strong backgrounds in research methods are essential for political scientists, the program provides a rigorous training in the application of statistical methods and formal models to political analysis. Coursework in analytic methods includes introductory training in mathematical methods and statistics as well as more advanced modeling, econometric measurement, and time series analysis. The "hands-on" approach is an integral part of the program. The program is built on the belief that it is the application of research methods, first as part of faculty and class research projects and then in students' own dissertation research, that makes students competent researchers with the skills required for success in research and academic careers.

Top Research University Awards MA in Political Science

Stony Brook University is a public research university located on the North Shore of Long Island, New York. Founded in 1957, it was formerly known as the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook and is considered the flagship campus of the SUNY system.

One of the nation's 63 leading research universities in the invitation-only American Association of Universities (AAU), Stony Brook University is recognized for its notable scientific discoveries, world-class research facilities, Nobel Prize winning faculty, and diverse student body. "US News and World Report" consistently ranks the graduate programs at Stony Brook University among the top in the nation. In addition, "Fiske College Guide" and other college guides have named Stony Brook University as a "best buy."

The Master of Arts in Political Science program at Stony Brook University is situated within one of the nation's leading political science departments, ranked among the top 5 in research and publications. The department has an internationally recognized program in political psychology and public opinion.

Master of Arts in Political Science Overview

The Master of Arts in Political Science degree program at Stony Brook University has a focus on the psychology of public opinion and attitude change. The program builds on Stony Brook's successful, internationally recognized PhD program in political psychology. The MA program is designed to benefit students with diverse interests and career goals. It will help to prepare students who wish to enter PhD programs in political science, communications, or social psychology. It will also benefit students interested in the fields of political campaigns, public relations, media, polling, or who work for federal or local legislators or not-for-profit organizations.

MA Program Curriculum

The MA degree program focuses on teaching advanced skills in political psychology, public opinion, and political attitudes. The Political Science MA program will introduce students to theories that help to make sense of public attitudes and behavior, familiarize them with core research on the dynamics of attitudes and opinions, and provide them with fist-hand experience on the major research methods used to study the dynamics of public opinion. Courses in the program will illuminate the techniques that can be used to mobilize support for a specific political candidate, build support for a particular issue position, or alter public behavior such as electricity usage or the purchase of more energy efficient appliances.

The program may be completed in a calendar year by full-time students and within 2 years by students who select part-time schedules.

MA Course Work Entails 30 Credits

Students enrolled in the master's degree program in political science must complete 30 credit hours, 24 hours in coursework, and 6 credit internships or research papers.

Graduate MA Program Faculty Members

Stony Brook's highly regarded Department of Political Science offers MA program students a superior instructional faculty. Stony Brook's faculty members include internationally recognized scholars in the fields of political psychology, public opinion, and political behavior.

MA program faculty members include Professors Stanley Feldman, Leonie Huddy, Howard Lavine, and Charles Taber, who were co-editors of the international journal Political Psychology. Professor Gallya Lahav is an expert on immigration attitudes and policies, especially in Western Europe. Professor Helmut Norpoth has published extensively on voting behavior in the US and Europe.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition and fees at Stony Brook, set by the State University of New York, are considerably below those of comparable programs on Long Island and throughout the greater New York metropolitan area.

To apply for need-based aid, including student loans, students should complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Campus and Surroundings

Stony Brook University is situated on 1,362 suburban acres in Stony Brook, New York, on Long Island's North Shore -- about 60 miles east of Manhattan and 60 miles west of Montauk. The university's Research and Development Park is located on 246 acres adjacent to the main campus.

The main campus is divided into 3 distinct parts -- East Campus, West Campus, and South Campus. Residence halls are grouped into quads, with each quad named for a notable figure from New York State. Most of the residence quads are located on West Campus, including apartments for both graduates and undergraduates.

Stony Brook also has branch campuses in Manhattan and Southampton, on Long Island's east coast.

Location & Contact

Department of Political Science

College of Arts and Sciences
Stony Brook University, State University of New York

Nicolls Road
Stony Brook, NY 11794
United States

Dr. Jeffrey Segal


Phone: 631-632-7640
Fax: 631-632-4116

Dr. Matthew Lebo

Graduate Program Director

Phone: 631-632-7554
Fax: 631-632-4116

Request More Info

Degrees & Award

  • Degrees Offered
    • Major Degree Levels Offered
    • Political Science Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
      Master of Arts (MA)
    • Public Policy And Urban Development Master of Arts (MA)
    • Public Policy Master of Arts in Public Policy (MAPP)
  • Degrees Awarded
    • Master's Degrees 49
    • Doctoral Degrees 3
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported
    • * Shows the number of degrees awarded for the last academic year that data was reported.
  • Earning Your Degree
    • Part-time study available? Not reported
    • Evening/weekend programs available? Yes
    • Distance learning programs available? Not reported
    • Terminal master's degree available? Yes
  • Degree Requirements
    • Master's Degrees Not reported
    • Doctoral Degrees
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported


56% of applicants are admitted.
  • Acceptance Rate
    • Applied 138
    • Accepted 81
    • Acceptance Rate 56
    • Enrolled 43
  • Applying
    • Application Fee - Domestic $100
    • Application Fee - International $100
    • Electronic applications accepted? Not Reported
    • Applications processed on a rolling basis? Not Reported
  • Application Deadlines
    • Type Domestic International Priority Date
    • Fall deadline January 15th Not Reported Not Reported
    • Winter deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
    • Spring deadline October 1st Not Reported Not Reported
  • Entrance Requirements
    • Master's DegreesGRE General Test
    • Doctoral's DegreesGRE General Test
    • First-Professional's DegreesNot Reported
    • Other Advanced DegreesNot Reported
    • International DegreesNot Reported

Tuition & Fees

  • Tuition & Fees *
    • Tuition & Fees$4,685
    • *Average dollar amount (tuition & fees) required to complete the degree
  • Financial Support
    • Financial award applicants must submitNot Reported
    • Application deadlines for financial awardsNot Reported
    • Types of financial support availableFellowships, Teaching Assistantships

Student Body

  • Gender
    • Total Graduate Students84
    • Female Percentage44%
    • Male Percentage56%
  • Participation
    • Total Graduate Students84
    • Part-time Percentage14%
    • Full-time Percentage86%
  • Ethnicity
    • Hispanic / Latino11%
    • Black / African American5%
    • White / Caucasian64%
    • American Indian / Alaskan Native0%
    • Asian9%
    • Native Hawaiian / Other Pacific Islander0%
    • Two or more races0%
    • Unknown11%


  • Faculty Breakout
    • Total Faculty28
    • Full-time Percentage71%
    • Part-time Percentage29%
    • Female Percentage21%
    • Male Percentage79%


  • Existing Research
    • Focus of faculty researchNot Reported
    • Externally sponsored research expenditures last year$96,098