The Political Science department supports its graduate students through a combination of department fellowships, university multiyear fellowships, and teaching and research assistantships. Most incoming students are awarded five years of funding support consisting of fees and non-resident tuition, and student health insurance. All funding packages are contingent on meeting minimum academic and residency requirements throughout the tenure of support.

United States citizens and Permanent Residents are required to achieve California residency by the end of their first year in California to receive continued fee support. Non-Resident Tuition (NRT) will be paid through the third year by the department on behalf of international students who cannot achieve California residency. Upon doctoral candidacy (to be achieved by the end of year three), the university waives NRT for three years for international students.

Typical funding packages will include a combination of stipend support for one to two years of uninterrupted study, as well as teaching assistantships (generally in the second and third years of study), and a campus award for the fourth year called the Dean's Completion Fellowship (DCF). The DCF is contingent upon achieving doctoral candidacy by the end of the third year of study. While the DCF is received by meeting "normative time" to candidacy in the third year, the fellowship itself may be taken any time during the following three years. It also may be taken over two non-consecutive semesters if desired.

During the teaching years, in addition to a salary, students will receive a fee remission as a benefit of employment that will cover nearly all the CA resident fees. The department will pay the remaining fees not covered by the fee remission and the Non-Resident Tuition for international students in their second and third years. Teaching assistants (known as Graduate Student Instructors, or GSIs) work closely with faculty and the experience is considered to be a vital component of the doctoral program.