Ph.D. Requirements

Our graduate program is organized around subfields that address major theoretical questions about political life, encourage collaboration across intellectual boundaries, and place us at the frontiers of the discipline. As a graduate student here, you will become certified in two major fields and gain exposure to other fields through our graduate workshop series. Minimum degree requirements are as follows (effective for students matriculating in or after Fall 2021):

Requirements

  • First field: at least four courses
  • Second field: at least four courses
  • Methods Requirement (EXCEPT for Political Theory major field):
    • MATH 780: Calculus and Probability & MATH 781: Matrices and Data
    • MATH 730: Probability (at least B- to meet requirement)
    • POLSCI 731: Scope and Methods in Political Science
    • POLSCI 630: Basic Regression
    • POLSCI 631: Introduction to Deductive & Analytical Approaches to Political Phenomena
    • POLSCI 748: Causal Inference
    • At least one of the following advanced topics:
      • Advanced Regression
      • Time Series and Panel Data
      • Computational Methods and Machine Learning
  • Foreign Language Requirement
    • Students in some areas of concentration will need to establish foreign language competency in order to be strong candidates on the job market. Consult with your faculty advisor to plan for attaining that competency in a timely manner.
  • Political Theory course(s)
    • Recommended: one or more courses in normative political theory and political philosophy
  • Workshops
    • Students are expected to attend all workshops pertaining to  their first and second fields and all department-wide speaker series
  • Qualifying Procedure – required by some, but not all fields, and typically taken at the end of the 2nd or beginning of the 3rd year
  • Preliminary Exam in your first field – taken at the end of the 2nd year
  • Prospectus Defense – completed by the end of the third year
  • Dissertation

NOTE: Cross-listed courses cannot be double-counted for both first and second fields.

Effective Fall 2018, courses below the 500 level may not be applied toward the required credits needed for a post-baccalaureate degree. With the approval of their director of graduate studies and the associate dean for academic affairs, graduate students may enroll in lower-level courses, but these courses will not count toward any graduation requirement and will not be included in a student’s GPA calculation.

This new policy affects all UG (undergraduate-level) course registrations for incoming or continuing graduate students beginning in fall 2018 and beyond.  UG courses that graduate students have taken before fall 2018 will still count toward their degree credit requirements and GPA as allowed under the old policy.

Year 1

Fall Semester
  • Coursework: MATH 780, MATH 730, POLSCI 731, 1 course in 1st or 2nd field
  • Set up a regular meeting schedule with your advisor(s)
  • In consultation with your advisor, begin exploring possible research questions through a guided reading of literatures of interest
  • Participate in departmental and field-specific workshops
Spring Semester
  • Coursework: MATH 781, POLSCI 630, POLSCI 631, 1 course in 1st or 2nd field
  • Set up a regular meeting schedule with your advisor(s)
  • By May 1st, submit a 1st year paper to your primary advisor(s) and the DGS
  • By May 31st, submit your summer plans to your primary advisor(s) and the DGS
  • Participate in departmental and field-specific workshops

Year 2

  • Coursework: POLSCI 748, 1 advanced methods elective, 4-6 electives in 1st and 2nd fields
  • Set up a regular meeting schedule with your advisor(s)
  • By May 1st, submit a 2nd year paper to your prelim exam committee and the DGS
  • By May 15th, complete the oral portion of your preliminary examination
  • By May 31st, submit your summer plans to your primary advisor(s) and the DGS

Year 3

  • Coursework: as needed
  • Set up a regular meeting schedule with your advisor(s)
  • By December 1st, submit a dissertation prospectus to your dissertation committee and the DGS
  • By December 15th, hold a meeting with your dissertation committee
  • By May 15th, hold a meeting with your dissertation committee
  • By May 15th, verify to DGS your 2nd year paper is under review at an acceptable journal
  • Present paper at the end of year conference in Spring

Year 4

  • Coursework: as needed
  • By December 15th, hold a meeting with your dissertation committee
  • By May 15th, hold a meeting with your dissertation committee
  • Present paper at the end of year conference in Spring

Year 5

  • Coursework: as needed
  • Present paper at the end of year conference in Spring
  • Defend dissertation in Spring

 

This is the recommended methods sequence for all students in empirical fields and our hope is that you will take these courses together as a cohort. All students will be encouraged to refresh basic math skills during the summer prior to matriculation and we will provide the resources needed to do so. We will conduct a placement exam prior to the start of the Fall semester which will help the DGS and Methods Field Chair to make individualized recommendations to students. In some cases, students may be encouraged to begin the department’s methods sequence in the Fall of their second year and focus their first year on substantive course work and building fundamental math skills. In some cases, where a student enters the program with extensive prior training (e.g., an M.A. in Economics or an undergrad B.S. in Statistics), the DGS and the Methods Chair may discuss a more advanced course of study. All such recommendations will be made on an individualized basis and through discussion with the student.

  1. Required Courses: These are required methods courses for everyone except students in Political Theory. However, theorists pursuing an empirical field as a second field may need to take portions of the methods sequence. This should be discussed with the relevant field chairs and DGS. NOTE: We strongly recommend additional methods courses both in and outside the department, such as courses in Economics, Computer Science, and Math/Statistics.
  2. Students are expected to participate in faculty research in the first year either via a lab (e.g. DevLab, SPC lab, PIPC) or jointly with a member of the faculty.
  3. This is a "slow and steady will win the race" approach – nothing is skipped or taken out of order and there aren’t any semesters where there’s a ton of difficult courses. This sequence will also focus on developing programming skill with R and other software and will cover linear regression early on.
  4. The department will periodically offer applied methods workshops based on student demand.