Ph.D. Requirements

To earn the Ph.D. in Political Science each student must:

1. Accumulate 15 course units in credits.

This will normally entail:

  • 8 regular courses during a student's first year

  • 5 regular courses during the student's second year, in addition to his or her TA responsibilities

  • Two remaining courses in the third year, generally in the fall, with an eye toward writing a rough draft of the dissertation prospectus, which is to be delivered to the members of the student's prospective dissertation committee by the end of the fall semester

  • Dissertation research credits as needed

2. Achieve at least a B+ grade point average

3. Satisfy the research skills requirements

4. Write a research paper in the primary field. The paper will reflect a significant, original research project, typically during the fall of the student's third year.

5. Pass the preliminary examinations in two of the four general fields and display competence in a third field (either general, thematic, or specialized). The examinations are generally taken in May following the student's second year of courses.

6. Satisfy the teaching requirements, typically by serving as a teaching assistant in the student's second and third years in the program.

7. Prepare and defend a dissertation prospectus, typically by the end of the student's third year in the program.

8. Write and successfully defend a dissertation, under the guidance of a dissertation committee that consists of at least three faculty, with half or more of the committee drawn from the political science graduate group (faculty with primary or secondary appointments in political science).


Please also see the Graduate Program Brochure for more detailed information on the Ph.D. requirements, including a list of frequently offered graduate courses.