Political Science

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Foreign:$ 35.9 k / Year(s) Deadline: Jan 6, 2024
133 place StudyQA ranking:1815 Duration:5 years You need IELTS certificate

The department fosters an active, vibrant community of scholars. We have a great deal to offer our students in their graduate studies. You can find just a partial list of those benefits below.

  • We foster a culture of collaboration. Our faculty work closely with graduate students on their research. Faculty regularly co-author with graduate students, publishing research in highly-ranked general and sub-field journals.
  • We offer our graduate students a generous financial support structure. Students in good standing are guaranteed five years of financial support including a stipend. All of our first-year students receive a fellowship with no work obligation, so they can focus on their studies. Upon successful defense of a dissertation overview, there are ample opportunities to apply for additional research fellowships that allow many of our students to focus solely on dissertation writing and research in their fourth and/or fifth years. 
  • We offer synergies with the University Center for International Studies (UCIS), the university’s path-breaking multidisciplinary institute that houses centers for area studies and centers on topical specializations in international studies.  These centers include, but are not limited to, one of only ten European Union Centers of Excellence in the United States, the Center for Latin American Studies, the Global Studies Center, the Center for Russian and East European Studies, and more.
  • We provide assistance with academic placement, and consistently place our students in highly-ranked departments in the U.S. and abroad. Recent placements include Texas A&M University, University of California at Davis, Louisiana State University, U.S. Naval Academy, Iowa State University, CIDE (Mexico City), San Diego State University, Illinois State University, Francis Marion University, University of California Riverside, Gonzaga University, Kennesaw State and University of Massachusetts Boston.
  • Recent prestigious post-doc placements include University of Chicago, Stanford University, University of Konstanz (Germany), University College London, University of Houston, and the Catholic University of Chile.
  • Our NRC ranking is between 20 and 30, representing a large rise over the last ten years.
  • We have a number of active speakers’ series and workshops in the department, and graduate students are encouraged to participate fully.
  • We provide funds to conduct original research, attend conferences, enroll in special educational opportunities, and join professional associations.
  • We offer socialization to the discipline, via departmental workshops and symposia.

Credit Requirement: A minimum of 72 credit hours, including the master’s degree, earned from any suitable combination of formal course work, independent study, research, teaching, or dissertation work as detailed elsewhere in this bulletin.

Students in the PhD program must choose two fields from the six departmental fields: American politics, comparative politics, world politics, political methodology, mass political behavior, and normative theory. Students are required to complete at least four graduate seminars from each of their two subfields (three courses for the political methodology subfield). Students must also complete the core course sequence (PS 2000, PS 2010, PS 2020, PS 2030, and PS 2040), as well as three "elective" courses, which can be courses from any subfield or (with permission) courses from outside the department of political science.

Comprehensive Examination: Students take a comprehensive examination at the end of their coursework to qualify for Ph.D. candidacy, consisting of a written exam in each of their two fields of study. When the faculty is unsure whether or not the written comprehensive exam demonstrates sufficient mastery of the material, the student may be asked to sit for an oral comprehensive examination.

Dissertation Overview: Following successful completion of the comprehensive examination, the student files an application for admission to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. At this stage the student presents a proposed topic for doctoral research and a research design for its execution to be reviewed by the dissertation committee.

Dissertation Defense: The final oral examination in defense of the doctoral dissertation is conducted by the doctoral committee and is open to the University community.

Supervised Teaching Experience: Supervised teaching experience is an integral part of the doctoral program. Normally, teaching experience is gained first by conducting recitation sections of an introductory course or by assisting a faculty member in an undergraduate course, followed by the teaching of one’s own course, in the 4th or 5th year of study.



  • PS 2000 - The Profession of Political Science
  • PS 2010 - Foundations of Quantitative Methods                               
  • PS 2020 - Empirical Methods of Research
  • PS 2030 - Political Research and Analysis
  • PS 2040 - Core Political Theory

American Politics

  • PS 2200 - American Government and Politics
  • PS 2211 - American Legislative Process
  • PS 2212 - The American Presidency
  • PS 2213 - Judicial Process
  • PS 2230 - Mass Politics
  • PS 2235 - American Electoral Behavior

Comparative Politics

  • PS 2301 - Theory and Concepts of Comparative Politics
  • PS 2310 - Politics of the European Union
  • PS 2311 - Western European Government and Politics
  • PS 2313 - Comparative Political Behavior
  • PS 2321 - Latin American Politics
  • PS 2337 - Topics in Chinese Politics
  • PS 2341 - Government and Politics of USSR and Russian Federation
  • PS 2374 - Political Economy of Development
  • PS 2381 - Seminar in Political Institutions
  • PS 2384 - Topics in Comparative Politics (Political Economy)
  • PS 2385 - Comparative Legislatures
  • PS 2116 - Comparative Public Administration

International Relations/World Politics

  • PS 2501 - Theory of International Relations
  • PS 2502 - International Organizations
  • PS 2534 - Civil Wars
  • PS 2540 - International Political Economy
  • PS 2563 - Peacemaking and Peacekeeping
  • PS 2621 - Conflict Theory

Political Behavior

  • PS 2230 - Mass Politics
  • PS 2235 - American Electoral Behavior
  • PS 2313 - Comparative Political Behavior
  • PS 2323 - Experimental Research in Political Behavior

Political Theory

  • PS 2607 - Democratic Theory and Democratization
  • PS 2620 - Topics in Political Theory

Research Methods

  • PS 2701 - Longitudinal and Panel Analysis
  • PS 2702 - Causal Inference
  • PS 2703 - Formal Theory I
  • PS 2704 - Formal Theory II
  • PS 2730 - Maximum Likelihood
  • PS 2740 - Time Series

Independent Studies

  • PS 2900 - Comprehensive Exam Preparation
  • PS 2901 - Qualifying Paper Preparation
  • PS 2902 - Directed Reading
  • PS 2903 - Directed Research
  • PS 2904 - Dissertation Overview Preparation
  • PS 2905 - Teaching and Research in Political Science
  • PS 2990 - Independent Study


  • An application form (which must be submitted to the School of Arts & Sciences online using this link); application fee of $50 (non-refundable);
  • A brief career statement (approximately 500 words) that outlines your intellectual and professional interests in political science. In addition to explaining your research interests, please address and—where possible—provide evidence from your scholarly and professional life of your perseverance, work ethic, and ability to work independently. If you are presently enrolled in an MA or PhD program at another institution, explain your reasons for wanting to change programs.
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation intended to provide independent evaluation of each applicant's potential; reference writers will submit these forms and letters independently from the application using a link embedded in an e-mail they receive from the "apply online" process. (The department views submission of letters written by applicants as a form of cheating. Any applications containing letters written by applicants will be downgraded or disqualified.);
  • Unofficial copy of transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions you have attended. If non-US citizens, please submit transcripts in the native language accompanied by notarized English translations. Note: official transcripts will need to be sent if admitted into the program;
  • A writing sample is optional.  If you choose to submit one, please upload it with the online application;
  • An official report of your performance on the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) sent directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). COPIES WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.
  • All non-US citizens applying to the graduate program - except those who have received degrees from a US institution - must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) as part of their application packet to demonstrate a sufficient command of English to meet the requirements of their field. The minimum scores are 90 for TOEFL (with at least a score of 22 in all of the four sections of speaking, listening, reading, and writing) and 7.0 for IELTS (with at least 6.5 in each of its four sections).
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