Study Finds That Few Graduate Programs in Political Science Take Socioeconomic Diversity Into Account When Choosing Applicants

Kenneth Oldfield, a professor emeritus of public administration at the University of Illinois, has published research on the admissions policies of graduate programs in political science. He found that almost all of the graduate programs voiced a commitment to increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the field. But he found that very few of the graduate programs asked applicants about their socioeconomic status.

Professor Oldfield reports in a paper published in PS: Political Science and Politics that only 8 percent of political science graduate programs asked applicants about their parents’ occupation and 12 percent asked about the educational attainment of an applicant’s parents.

Professor Oldfield concludes that graduate programs in political science need to do a better job in seeking out students from low-income backgrounds if a truly diverse cadre of faculty in political science is to be achieved.