PhD in Political Science

Admission Requirements

Applicants are considered on a competitive basis. In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, applicants must meet the following program requirements:

  • Baccalaureate Field No restrictions.
  • Grade Point Average At least 3.00/4.00 for the final 60 semester (90 quarter) hours of undergraduate study.
  • Tests Required GRE General.
  • Minimum English Competency Test Score
    • TOEFL 80, with subscores of Reading 19, Listening 17, Speaking 20, and Writing 21 (iBT Internet-based); 60, with subscores of Reading 19, Listening 17, Writing 21 (New Paper-Based—after August 2018); 550 (Institutional Testing Paper-Based—prior to August 2018), OR,
    • IELTS 6.5, with subscores of 6.0 for all four subscores, OR,
    • PTE-Academic 54, with subscores of Reading 51, Listening 47, Speaking 53, and Writing 56.
  • Letters of Recommendation Three required, preferably from faculty members in political science or cognate disciplines who are familiar with the applicant’s training and ability.
  • Personal Statement Required. The statement should address the applicant’s academic goals.
  • Deadlines Application deadlines for this program are listed on the Graduate College website.

Degree Requirements

In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, students must meet the following program requirements:

  • Minimum Semester Hours Required 96 from the baccalaureate.
  • Course Work A grade of B or better is required in all required courses.
Course Title
Required Courses
Data Analysis I
Theories of Democracy and Representation
Data Analysis II
Research Design and Methods
Select one of the following:
Seminar in Political Theory
Seminar in Urban Politics
Seminar in American Politics
Seminar in Comparative Politics
Seminar in International Relations
  • Examinations 
    • Preliminary Examination: Required. After successful completion of the required course work, students, in conjunction with an advisor, will choose to be examined over one of three core areas of specialization: American politics, urban politics, or comparative politics. A second exam field must be chosen from among the subfields of American politics, comparative politics, urban politics, political theory, international relations, or another advisor-approved political science subfield. A third exam will be based on the student’s proposed dissertation work. The preliminary exam will consist of a written examination in each of the chosen areas.
  • Dissertation Required. It is expected that students will submit a full statement of dissertation plans to the dissertation committee no later than three months following passage of the preliminary exam. The dissertation prospectus will contain an analysis of the relevant literature, the theoretical issues to be addressed, the data to be used, the methods of analysis, and a statement of the anticipated significance of the research project. Students will not be authorized to proceed with dissertation research until their prospectus has been approved.
  • Other Requirements In addition to the required courses, the student may also be requested to satisfy an advanced methodology requirement appropriate to the student’s plan of study and approved by the director of graduate studies. Students whose plan of study will require reading or oral proficiency in a foreign language must pass an examination arranged by the department; course work required to prepare for this examination does not count toward the hours required for the degree.
  • Faculty Review At the end of every spring semester the director of graduate studies conducts a review of the student’s progress in the program to date, based on a variety of student performance indicators which may include progress and earned grades, seminar papers, and research interests. Before taking the preliminary examination, all students must complete an extensive research project. The paper will be evaluated by the project supervisor and one other member of the faculty who has been appointed by the director of graduate studies.

Interdepartmental Concentrations

Students earning a graduate degree in this department may complement their courses by enrolling in select concentrations after consulting with their graduate advisor. Interdepartmental concentrations available for this degree include: