Political Science, PhD

John Portz, PhD
Program Director

Britain Scott
Graduate Program Administrator

CSSH Graduate Programs General Regulations

The Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science is grounded in the core fields of the discipline—American government and politics, comparative politics, international relations, and public policy. Students identify a primary and secondary field as areas of emphasis. The curriculum introduces students to all four fields and also seeks to develop their research skills through a series of methods courses. Students may develop a traditional, academic focus in one of the fields, or they may combine it with public policy to highlight a policy orientation. The program focuses on preparing students to be academic scholars and teachers as well as practitioners in research and public service. The PhD degree requires completion of required courses, passing a written and oral comprehensive examination, and the successful defense of the dissertation before a faculty committee.

Credit Requirements

Students entering with a bachelor’s degree must complete 48 semester hours. Students currently in the MA or MPA program and accepted into the PhD program before completing the MA or MPA must complete 48 semester hours.

Doctoral Degree Candidacy

Doctoral degree candidacy is attained after successfully completing all course work and passing written and oral comprehensive examinations.

Academic Standing/Progress

All doctoral students must maintain an overall cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 3.500 while making progress toward the degree requirements. Students who fall below any applicable standard for two consecutive semesters are subject to dismissal from the graduate program. Additionally, receipt of financial support administered by the department, college, or university is contingent on satisfactory academic progress toward the degree and specific guidelines as published in the terms of award. Students who have ungraded courses or courses graded as incomplete risk no longer being eligible for financial aid awards.

Language Proficiency

Students who conduct research in a language other than English must demonstrate proficiency as necessary for completion of the dissertation. Language courses do not count as electives.

Complete all courses and requirements listed below unless otherwise indicated.


Comprehensive examination
Annual review
Language (as determined by committee)
PhD candidacy
Dissertation proposal
Dissertation committee
Dissertation defense

Major Requirements

Inquiry and Design
POLS 7200Perspectives on Social Science Inquiry3
POLS 7201Research Design3
Quantitative Techniques
Advanced methods courses from other disciplines may be chosen in consultation with your faculty advisor.
POLS 7202Quantitative Techniques3
POLS 7215Advanced Quantitative Techniques3
or LPSC 7215 Advanced Quantitative Techniques
POLS 7204Seminar in Public Policy3
POLS 7205Seminar in American Government and Politics3
POLS 7206Seminar in Comparative Politics3
POLS 7207Seminar in International Relations3


Courses from other disciplines may be chosen in consultation with your faculty advisor.

Complete 24 semester hours from the following:24

Exam and Dissertation

Exam Preparation
Exam Preparation—Doctoral
Complete the following (repeatable) course twice:
Dissertation Continuation
Complete the following (repeatable) course until graduation:
Dissertation Continuation

Program Credit/GPA Requirements

48 total semester hours required
Minimum 3.500 GPA required