The Ph.D. program is divided into a general phase and a specialized phase. Entering students spend their first year in the general phase, which includes proseminars in methodology and in the major fields of political science. Students who have previously taken graduate work may be exempt from some of these proseminars. At the end of the first year of graduate work, the student is evaluated by a departmental committee which determines whether the general phase has been satisfactorily completed. During the specialized phase of the graduate program, the student’s work is based on a program of study prepared with their Advisory Committee. The student takes advanced work in at least two substantive fields in political science, a major and a minor field. Possible major fields include: American politics, Comparative politics, and International Relations. The possible minor fields are: American, Comparative, International Relations, Institutions, Behavior, Policy, Methods (the major and minor field cannot be the same).
The student completes qualifying exams evaluated by faculty field committees that consist of written and oral examinations in each of the two substantive fields specified in the student’s program prior to defending the prospectus for the dissertation. The qualifying examination in political science consists of the prospectus defense given by the Advisory Committee. The student then writes a dissertation and defends it in a final oral examination. Candidates for the Ph.D. in political science must demonstrate proficiency in a research skill. The required research skill will consist of additional quantitative skills or proficiency in a foreign language that is directly pertinent to the student’s research interests. Additional details about requirements may be secured from the Department of Political Science.
Candidates for admission to the graduate program in political science must apply using the Graduate College online application system. Required information includes (1) a copy of transcripts and GRE scores; (2) a one- to three-page Statement of Purpose explaining why the student wishes to pursue a Ph.D. degree; (3) three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant’s academic performance; (4) a sample of writing on a topic relevant to political science; (5) a resume or curriculum vitae, and (6) TOEFL scores if the applicant’s first language is not English. Applications will only be considered for the fall semester.
Applicants will be evaluated on the basis of the Department’s judgment of the likelihood of their success in the program as compared with other applicants and considering the limited number of applicants accepted to the program. In evaluating candidates, the Department will consider the totality of their records, including grades, test scores, letters of recommendation, writing samples, and other relevant information. The department usually only accepts applicants to the PhD. program. Students who do not have political science undergraduate majors are welcome in this program.
Core course requirements
Required Courses related to the dissertation
Ph.D. students must demonstrate proficiency in a research skill. The required research skill will consist of additional quantitative skills (usually an additional class) or proficiency in a foreign language that is directly pertinent to the student’s research interests.