The graduate program in political science is designed for students who are seeking a Ph.D. While some students enter the program after getting a master's degree, exceptional students can win admittance directly after obtaining a bachelor's degree. Each case is considered individually, but applicants are more likely to gain admittance to the program if they have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.5 or better, particularly in the social sciences. Applicants also should have high scores on the Graduate Record Examination and strong letters of recommendation. In awarding financial aid to entering students, preference is given to those students who have been admitted directly to the Ph.D. program.
Applications for September admission should be submitted no later than February 1 by students seeking financial assistance. For everyone else, the deadline is March 1. Transcripts, Graduate Record Examination scores, three letters of recommendation, and a writing sample are required.
The graduate program offers six areas of concentration: political theory, international relations, comparative politics, women and politics, public law, and American politics. Candidates for the Ph.D. select a major area of study from among the six concentrations. To qualify in the major area of study, a student must first pass a written and an oral examination. The written examination is a take-home, open-book examination, and each student has 12 hours to complete it. In addition to the major field, Ph.D. students must work in two minor fields. To qualify in the first minor field, a candidate must pass a written exam. In the second minor field, students must attain a cumulative grade-point average higher than 3.5 in at least three courses. Individual fields may require more than three courses and may designate further specific requirements. Having successfully passed all examinations, the candidate must submit a dissertation proposal within six months.
Typically, students take proseminars in their major and minor areas (9 credits). Grading in proseminars is based mainly on written examinations, as there are no assigned research papers. Ph.D. candidates must take a two-term methods sequence 16:790:532-533 Research Design in Political Science. These courses include elements of research design, quantitative methods, and epistemology of the social sciences. In addition, students must complete three or four research courses (9 to 12 credits) with at least two instructors and take seven to eight electives (21 to 24 credits) inside or outside the program. Before students take their qualifying Ph.D. examinations, they must complete a total of 48 credits of course work and have submitted a significant research paper.
A full description of the program may be found in the brochure Graduate Program in Political Science, which is available from the department.