Useful Materials and Pointers for Graduate Students and Others


I am often asked for feedback and advice about going to graduate school, about succeeding in graduate school, or about varioius publishing and survival skills as an academic. So I've put together some materials here that might hopefully be helpful to various different younger scholars.

Some useful tips for undergraduates and others thinking about applying for professional school or graduate school. Includes links to useful web sites as well as a slide show with some pointers and suggestions. (Updated, October 1, 2008)

Some pointers and suggestions for graduate students

Examples of book proposals that I've written. These are just examples that might be useful for other authors thinking of proposing a book to a university press.

---Agendas and Instability in American Politics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993); proposal from 1991.

---Basic Interests (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998); proposal from 1997.

---Politics of Information (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015); proposal from 2012.

---Deadly Justice: A Statistical Portrait of the Death Penalty (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018); proposal from 2016

---Eroding Trust, Policing Anger: How Racial Disparities in Traffic Stops Threaten Democratic Values (proposal from 2017, book published in 2018 with Cambridge University Press with a better title: Suspect Citizens: What 20 Million Traffic Stops Tell Us about Policing and Race)


The peer review process can be difficult and frustrating, but you have to pick yourself up after a rejection and go forward. Lest younger scholars think that they are the only ones with tough reviews, here are a few of my favorites from over the years. One anonymous reviewer commented once that I was "not sufficiently familiar with Baumgartner's recent work". Ouch! While occasionally there may be unhelpful or overly critical comments in the anonymous review process, I must say that in my experience almost every paper I have published has been improved through the review process. Still, it sometimes hurts and one has to get through it. I put these reviews here just in the spirit of showing that tough reviews come to all of us.


--- Rejections from major university presses for my first book, Conflict and Rhetoric in French Policymaking, which was eventually published in 1989 by Pittsburgh University Press.


--- Rejections from major university presses for my second book, with Bryan D. Jones, Agendas and Instability in American Politics, which eventually was published by the University of Chicago in 1993, with a second edition in 2009, and which has been cited many thousands of times.


--- In 2009 Bryan Jones and I, working with a great team of collaborators, published a paper in the American Journal of Poltical Science entitled "An Empirical Law of Budgets" - it is available on the "articles" page of this website. While the paper was cited over 350 times over the next 15 years, getting it into print was not easy. Here are the various bits of correspondance, over 30 pages of reviews, objections, suggestions, and then finally an acceptance. One reviewer was convinced the paper never should have been published. Here is our rejection from APSR (12 pages with reviews) in Feb. 2007; R1 from AJPS in July 2008, R2 and 3 and the editor's letter from AJPS providing a revise and resubmit in July 2008; our revision memo in October 2008; R1, R2 and R3, from February 2009; our re-revision memo from February 2009, and the final acceptance letter (with some changes still required) from March 2009. It wasn't easy!


---We had a slightly easier time with a related article that also ended up in the AJPS in 2009, Punctuated Equilibrium in Comparative Perspective. Here is the rejection from APSR, with reviews; initial reviews from AJPS (cover letter, r2, r3, r4), our revision memo, the resulting review and acceptance letter.


--- Here is a similar set of reviews for my 2013 article in Policy Studies Journal with Max Rose, "Framing the Poor." Reviews 1, 2, 3 from our original submission; our response memo; the two reviews from our revised manuscript, 4, 5; and our response memo explaining the changes.


updated: November 30, 2023.

2-page CV




Conference Papers

Policy Agendas


Death Penalty


Traffic Stops

Student Research

Tips and Pointers