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In light of the Covid-19 situation,  all UC Davis Spring 2020 course will move to virtual instruction.  As a result, the department’s administrative functions have moved to remote work conditions until further notice.  At this time, the preferred method of contact for departmental staff members is e-mail; please visit our administrative staff contact page for further information.


The Department of Political Science doctoral program maintains a high percentage of alumni job placements.

Since 2000, almost all of our Ph.D. program graduates have been appointed to tenure-track positions in prestigious academic institutions. Here are stories about of some recent graduates, along with a comprehensive list of placements.


Skyler Cranmer

Skyler Cranmer (Ph.D., 2007) is an associate professor at the Ohio State University, having previously been at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Skyler’s primary interest is in political methodology, in which he is conducting research in Bayesian statistics (particularly multiple change point estimation and reversible jump MCMC), missing data imputation, complex network analysis, and automated data gathering and content analysis. He spent 2006–07 as a visiting pre-doctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science, and then remained there during 2007–08 as a postdoctoral fellow. Skyler also does research in the field of international Relations. He has recent articles in Political Analysis, British Journal of Political Science, International Studies Quarterly, Policy Studies Journal, Conflict Management and Peace Science, Journal of Politics, Social Networks, and Physica A.


Elizabeth Simas

Elizabeth Simas (Ph.D., 2011) is an assistant professor at the University of Houston. Her research uses both survey and experimental methodologies to explore the ways candidates and voters behave in electoral campaigns, with a particular emphasis on the U.S. House. Among her achievements as a graduate student was receiving the Dean's Doctoral Fellowship for Excellence in Research. She is working on several projects, with working papers on the predictability and impact of candidate issue statements, partisan projection and bias in the assessment of candidate positions, and the individual effects of elite level polarization. Her work has appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Public Opinion Quarterly and Political Research Quarterly.

picture of Zeynep Somer-Topcu

Zeynep Somer-Topcu

Zeynep Somer-Topcu (Ph.D., 2009) is an assistant professor at the University of Texas, Austin, having previously been at Vanderbilt University. Her research and teaching interests include a broad array of issues in comparative politics and institutions. She is currently examining political parties' policy changes in response to public opinion shifts and the consequences of these policy shifts on public opinion, election outcomes, cabinet formation and duration, and party leadership survival in Western, Eastern and Central European democracies. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Politics, American Journal of Political Science, British Journal of Political Science, Comparative Politics, and Comparative Political Studies. Her research has won several awards, and in 2013 she received the Emerging Scholar Award from the APSA section on Political Organizations and Parties.


James Zink

James Zink (Ph.D., 2010) is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at North Carolina State University. Prior to joining the faculty at North Carolina State, Jim was a postdoctoral fellow at Emory University. His primary research is in the history of political thought, with a special emphasis on early American political thought, Anglo-American constitutional theory, and the problems and possibilities of liberalism. He also has a secondary research agenda on the practical implications of ideas in the history of political thought, including experimental research concerning perceptions of judicial legitimacy. His recent publications include articles in the American Political Science Review, Journal of Politics, The Review of Politics, and Political Research Quarterly.

Additional Placements

2017 Graduates

  • Andrey Tomashevskiy – Assistant Professor at Rutgers University
  • Paul Johnson – Research Analyst for the US Airforce
  • Tracy Lin – Postdoctoral Scholar at the London School of Economics
  • Christopher P. Donnelly – currently a Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Mary Washington

2016 Graduates

All are tenure-track academic positions unless otherwise noted.

  • Shareefa Al-Adwani: American University of Kuwait
  • Jesse Hammond: Naval Postgraduate School
  • Michelle Schwarze: University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Timothy Taylor: Wheaton College

2015 Graduates

  • Richard Bairett: Southern Utah University
  • Wilfred Chow: University of Hong Kong
  • Christopher Hallenbrook: Visiting Assistant Professor, Bloomsburg State University
  • Tracy Lin: Postdoctoral Scholar, University of California, San Francisco
  • Kristina Victor: Visiting Assistant Professor, University of California Sacramento Center
  • John Warner: Kansas State University
  • Shaina Western: Oxford University (Somerville College)

2014 Graduates

  • Danielle Joesten: California State University, Sacramento
  • Matthew Pietryka: Florida State University

2013 Graduates

  • Alicja Jac-Kucharski: Lone Star College, Kingwood
  • Richard Johnson: University of Strathclyde
  • Debra Leiter: University of Missouri, Kansas City
  • Gail Pivetti: Research Analyst, KSE Partners
  • Ryan Reed: Northwest Missouri State University; currently at Bradley University
  • Jack Reilly: New College
  • Michelle Schwarze: Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Matthew Weiss: University of Texas, Pan American

2012 Graduates

  • Chris Albon: Director, Governance Project, FrontlineSMS; currently Director, Data Projects, Ushahidi 
  • Elissa Alzate: Winona State University, Minnesota
  • Niki Kalaf-Hughes: Bowling Green State University
  • Milosz Kucharski: Lone Star College, CyFair
  • Sarah Lockhart: Fordham University
  • Caitlin Milazzo: University of Exeter; currently at the University of Nottingham
  • Carl Palmer: Illinois State University
  • Jennifer Wilking: California State University, Chico
  • Ibrahim Zabad: St. Bonaventure University

2011 Graduates

  • Kevin Evans: Florida International University 
  • Kris Inman: Social Science Researcher, Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Alexander Mayer: Research Associate, MDRC
  • Elizabeth Simas: University of Houston 
  • Jonathan Seth Snider: Analyst, Department of Defense
  • James R. Zink: North Carolina State University

2010 Graduates

  • Andrea Duwel: Presentation High School
  • Rolfe Peterson: Mercyhurst College 
  • Aimee Tannehill: Cryptanalyst, Federal Bureau of Investigation

2009 Graduates

  • Monti Datta: University of Richmond 
  • John B. Ryan: Florida State University; currently at SUNY, Stony Brook
  • Belgin San-Acka: Koç University 
  • Curtis Simon: Mt. San Antonio College
  • Zeynep Somer-Topcu: Vanderbilt University; currently at University of Texas, Austin 

2008 Graduates

Leo Blanken: Naval Postgraduate School 

  • Skyler Cranmer: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; currently at The Ohio State University
  • Nikolaus Emmanuel: Oklahoma State University; currently at the University of Copenhagen
  • Gregory Love: University of Mississippi 
  • Molly M. Melin: Loyola University Chicago 
  • Jennifer Ramos: Loyola Marymount University
  • Gloria Walker: Centenary College of Louisiana

2007 Graduates

  • Olga Bogatyrenko: SUNY, Fredonia
  • Ryan Dudley: California Maritime Academy
  • Sarah Fulton: Texas A&M University
  • V. Gregg Garbesi: United States Naval Academy
  • Dana Zartner: Tulane University; currently at University of San Francisco

2006 Graduates

2005 Graduates

  • Matthew Carlson: University of Vermont Ryan Claassen: Kent State University
  • Michael Koch: Texas A&M University
  • Michael Rocca: University of New Mexico
  • Patricia Sullivan: University of Georgia; currently at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 

2004 Graduates

  • Cynthia Boaz: SUNY, Brockport; currently at Sonoma State University

2003 Graduates

  • Christian Erickson: Roosevelt University
  • Tiffany (Jones) Miller: University of Dallas
  • Kimberly L. Nalder: California State University, Sacramento 

2002 Graduates

  • Bethany Barratt: Roosevelt University
  • Teena Gabrielson: Southwestern University; currently at University of Wyoming
  • John J. Kennedy: University of Kansas 

2001 Graduates

  • Richard Andres: School of Advanced Airpower Studies
  • Thomas G. Hansford: University of South Carolina; currently at University of California, Merced 
  • Stephen R. Routh: California State University, Stanislaus
  • Lisa Sharlach: University of Alabama

2000 Graduates

  • Craig Collins: California State University, East Bay 
  • David Damore: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Matthew Hoddie: Texas A&M University; currently at Towson University

1990s Graduates

  • Monica Barczak: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Stephen Nicholson: Georgia State University; currently at University of California, Merced 
  • Stacy (Burnett) Gordon: University of Nevada, Reno
  • Roger Rose: Benedictine University
  • Nancy Shulock: California State University, Sacramento 
  • Linda Valenty: San Jose State University
  • Haeran Lim: Seoul National University
  • Catherine Nelson: Sonoma State University
  • Ross Miller: Santa Clara University; currently at University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  • Caroline A. Hartzell: Gettysburg College