Political Science Education and the Profession

The Challenges and Advantages for Seasoned Professionals Applying to and Navigating Doctoral Programs



Graduate students in political science who have spent significant time in the workforce before doctoral studies encounter different challenges than students who matriculate immediately or soon after undergraduate study. In deciding to pursue a Ph.D., seasoned professionals may face significant financial opportunity costs, cultural re-entry issues, familial responsibilities, or geographical constraints. Additionally, the academic culture at R1 universities can sometimes undervalue how prior professional experience helps inform a rich research agenda. Yet, the maturity and professionalism older graduate students bring to the classroom and in shouldering additional departmental responsibilities benefit doctoral programs. This chapter offers some suggestions for seasoned professionals thinking about pursuing a Ph.D. at the application stage, navigating graduate studies, and contributing to their academic departments. This manuscript is part of Strategies for Navigating Graduate School and Beyond, a forthcoming volume for those interested in pursuing graduate education in political science (Fall 2022 publication).


Thumbnail image of 5 Jordan Rosebrook & Schiff Seasoned Professionals, Final.pdf


Log in or register with APSA to comment
Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting and Discussion Policy [opens in a new tab] – please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .