The graduate program in political science prepares professional political scientists to work in both academic and non-academic fields. Therefore, we accept only students who intend to work toward the doctorate; we do not offer a terminal master’s program.
A PhD in Political Science is granted to students who complete:
- The Graduate School’s (TGS) residency requirements.
- Department course requirements, including the First Year Review.
- The Research Paper requirement.
- Qualifying exam in first field of study.
- Course requirement in second field of study.
- An acceptable dissertation prospectus.
- A final oral dissertation defense with passing grade.
- Work in some instructional capacity for at least one academic quarter. Read about exceptions to this requirement on page 12 of our Guide to Graduate Study.
Typically, the student is admitted to candidacy once they have completed residency requirements, qualifying exams, and a prospectus defense. Note that the Master of Arts in Political Science is an intermediate degree, awarded to those who have completed TGS residency requirements. Students entering with a master’s degree from any U.S. or international institution are subject to the same general requirements, though the department may grant some transfer credit.
YEARLY PROGRESSThe Department has established the following general goals for each of the five funded years of graduate work.
Students in their first year are assigned a faculty advisor who assists them in selecting courses, planning their first-year course of study, and reflecting on their year through a First Year Review. Students take three courses per quarter for three quarters. In their first year they establish relationships with faculty, complete the methods requirement, learn about development of research questions and specific subfield and regional areas of specialization, develop writing and critical thinking skills, and pursue language work as needed.
Fifth-year students work on completing their dissertation and prepare to go onto the job market. The Graduate School designates two years of funding in student's offer letter that does not require teaching or working on faculty research. Students must use non-teaching funding in their first year. They may then choose when to use the additional year of non-teaching funding. Many students save this funding for their fifth year, so that they can focus on completing the degree.
Additional details about the program are available in the Department’s Guide to Graduate Study