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:

Requirements

  • First field: at least four courses
  • Second field: at least four courses
  • Methods Requirement (EXCEPT for Political Theory major field):
    • Required:
      • MATH 790-92 Short Courses in Multivariable Calculus and Linear Algebra
      • MATH 730: Elementary Probability (at least B- to meet requirement)
      • POLSCI 633: Scope and Methods of Political Science
      • POLSCI 630: Introduction to Regression
      • POLSCI 631: Introduction to Deductive & Analytical Approaches to Political Phenomena
      • POLSCI 748: Introduction to Causal Inference
      • At least one of the following:
        • POLSCI 733: Maximum Likelihood, Hierarchical Models, Generalized Additive Models
        • POLSCI 690: Time Series and Panel Data
        • POLSCI 632: Computational Methods and Machine Learning
    • We strongly recommend additional methods courses and have included such courses in the typical graduate study timelines (see below) and in the major fields.
  • 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 both their first and second fields
  • Qualifying Procedure – exam taken at end of your second year
  • Preliminary Exam in your first field – completed no later than end of fall semester in your third year
  • Prospectus Defense – completed no later than end of spring semester in your 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

Summer before matriculating

  • Incoming students without undergraduate single variable Calculus take a non-credit, free, online course covering this content. Our department provides a TA to help throughout.
  • Students who have taken single variable Calculus at the undergraduate level take a non-credit, free, online course offered by Professor David Siegel (Mathematics for Political and Social Research). Our department provides a TA to help throughout.
  • Prior to the start of the Fall semester, we will administer a placement exam that the DGS will use to provide advice to students on their methods training.
Fall Semester
  • MATH 790-92: Short Courses in Multivariable Calculus and Linear Algebra (if offered)
  • MATH 730: Elementary Probability
  • POLSCI 633: Scope and Methods of Political Science
  • Core or Elective in First Field
Spring Semester
  • MATH 790-92: Short Courses in Multivariable Calculus and Linear Algebra (if not yet taken)
  • POLSCI 630: Introduction to Regression
  • POLSCI 631: Introduction to Deductive & Analytical Approaches to Political Phenomena
  • Two courses in First and/or Second Fields
Summer
  • Research with faculty and colleagues
  • Begin preparing for qualifying exam

Year 2

Fall Semester
  • POLSCI 748: Introduction to Causal Inference
  • POLSCI 749: Advanced Game Theory (if student is on Formal Theory track)
  • At least two courses in First and/or Second Fields 
Spring Semester
  • POLSCI 730: Formal Modeling in Political Science (if student is on Formal Theory track)
  • Advanced methods elective course (recommended)
  • At least two courses in First and/or Second Fields
Summer
  • Research with faculty and colleagues
  • Begin dissertation prospectus

Year 3

Fall, Spring & Summer
  • Additional courses and work defined by your Major Field
  • Defend prelim paper in Fall semester
  • Submit prelim paper for publication
  • Defend prospectus in Spring semester
  • Expected attendance at workshops pertaining to First and Second Fields

Year 4

Fall & Spring
  • Dissertation work
  • Present new paper/chapter at the end of year conference in late spring
  • Expected attendance at workshops pertaining to First and Second Fields

Year 5

Fall & Spring
  • Dissertation work
  • Present new paper/chapter at the end of year conference in late spring
  • Expected attendance at workshops pertaining to First and Second Fields

 

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 will need to take the required methods sequence. 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.