PhD Requirements

Required Coursework 72 sem. hrs.

Students select a major and minor field from the following three fields:
     Political philosophy/political theory
     American politics/constitutional law
     International relations/comparative politics

Major field requirement....................................................... 18 sem. hrs.

Minor field requirement........................................................12 sem. hrs.

Third field requirement.........................................................3 sem. hrs.

Methodology/Language Requirements.............................................3-9 sem. hrs.
(includes PSC 5323 Research Design and Research Methods)

Electives (may include 9 sem. hours in interdisciplinary concentration...... 9-24 sem. hrs.

Dissertation Work..............................................................12 sem. hrs.

Students who enter the PhD program with an MA degree from another institution will find
the requirements modified to take appropriate account of their previous graduate work.

Political Science Preparation
  1. Either an MA thesis or a comprehensive exam in the student's second year is required for the M.A. degree, which will be used in the evaluation of a student's preparation to continue on the Ph.D.

  2. Doctoral students who choose international relations/comparative politics as their major field may elect to receive a Masters of Arts in International Relations rather than in political science by completing the requirements of that degree, but substituting writing and special study options of the MA in political science for those of the MA in international relations. In addition, those doctoral students who choose to receive an M.A. in international relations may request that the third field requirement of the M.A. degree in political science be postponed until the student's third year of study.

  3. PhD comprehensive exams are required in both major and minor fields of study. Major comprehensive exams will occur over two days, the exam for each day lasting four hours. Minor comprehensive exams will also occur over two days, the exam for each day lasting four hours. Eligibility for exams include completion of all course work, the professional paper, and the language requirement when appropriate. Major and minor exams are usually scheduled over a two week period in August, before fall classes begin.

  4. For major comprehensive exams in international relations/comparative politics, students have the option of preparing in international relations, comparative politics or a combination of both, upon the recommendation of the faculty in these fields. For major comprehensive exams in American politics/constitutional law, students choose to prepare in three of the following fields: Congress and the Presidency; Constitutional Law and the Courts; Political Parties, Participation, and Public Opinion; Public Policy and Administration; American Political Development and Thought. For minor comprehensive exams in American politics/constitutional law, students choose to prepare in two of the above fields. Doctoral student reading lists for all fields are available on Canvas.

  5. Students will be graded on a scale from distinction, high pass, pass, or fail. The grade of distinction is reserved for rare cases of excellence. Failed exams may be retaken in accordance with Graduate School guidelines.

  6. A dissertation prospectus must be approved by a committee composed of three or more faculty members chosen by the student and the graduate program director, in accordance with Graduate School guidelines. Failure to defend a prospectus by the end of the fourth year (or by the end of the third year, in the case of students who have earned an MA degree before matriculating in the program) can result in a suspension of funding for the following fall, until such time as the prospectus is complete and defended. A date for the prospectus defense can be set only after every member of the committee has had a chance to read the prospectus and deems it defensible. All prospectus defenses are open to the public.

  7. Students must register for 12 credits of PSC 6V99 Dissertation. 3-6 of these hours may be taken in a section of 6V99 designed for the purpose of discussion and criticism of dissertation chapters and journal articles. Dissertation writing group will also serve as a forum for research presentations for job interviews when appropriate. This special section of PSC 6V99 is designed to increase students' skills and writing strategies for presenting their work to the scholarly community, facilitate completion of the dissertation, improve the quality of written work, and produce important publications at the dissertation stage helpful to students' careers.

  8. Students must complete an approved dissertation and a successful oral defense, before a committee constituted in accordance with Graduate School guidelines. A date for the dissertation defense can be set only after all committee members have read the dissertation and deemed it defensible. All dissertation defenses are open to the public.

Methodology/Language Preparation

PSC 5323, Research Design and Research Methods (3 sem. hrs.)

Competency in either one foreign language (classical or modern), as defined by
the Graduate School, or a course in advanced research methods and statistics,
such as SOC 5312 (cross-listed as PSC 5312), Social Science Data Analysis.
When appropriate, a second foreign language or course in statistics will be
recommended.

Professional Paper

All students must complete a professional paper approved by two professors who
have worked with the student in the subfield in which the paper is written.