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Degree Requirements

Effective September 1, 2011

The following rules for the Graduate Program in the Department of Political Science apply to all students entering the Ph.D. or M.A. programs after September 1, 2011. These rules supplement but do not supersede the rules of the Graduate School as set forth in the Graduate School Bulletin. Students are responsible for meeting all rules and regulations of the Graduate School as well as of the department.

The Graduate Studies Committee faculty of the department shall enforce rules governing the M.A. and Ph.D. programs and be the final authority in their interpretation and application in specific cases. M.A. and Ph.D. students may petition the Graduate Studies Committee faculty for variances from or exceptions to these rules. Its decisions shall be final and binding in such cases.

No individual faculty member or departmental committee other than the Graduate Studies Committee is authorized to approve any deviations whatsoever from these rules.

PhD in Political Science

Accelerated Master's of Political Science (BA+MA)

Master's of Political Science (MA)

 

 PhD in Political Science

Residence, Course, & Grade Requirements 

Ph.D. students must be in residence full-time (registered for nine credits) for two consecutive semesters. (See the Graduate School Bulletin for the definition of "residency.")

Students entering without previous graduate study must complete at least 15 graduate-level courses. Full-time students are generally expected to take 3 courses per semester in the two years of the program.

Students entering with an M.A. in political science may, with the approval of the Graduate Studies Committee, transfer up to five courses from their M.A. program toward satisfaction of the 15 course requirement.

Students entering with some graduate work in political science, but not an M.A., and those with an M.A. in a discipline related to political science may, with the approval of the Graduate Studies Committee, transfer up to two courses toward satisfaction of the 15 course requirement.

Students must fulfill a distributive requirement of 2 courses in each of 4 different fields. The fields are: American Politics, Comparative Politics, Contemporary Social and Political Theory, History of Political Thought, International Relations, Intradisciplinary and Interdisciplinary Political Studies, Public Law, and Public Policy.

The Graduate Studies Committee may, in certain cases, require a student to take course work beyond the required minimum of 15 courses.

All of the courses used to satisfy Ph.D. requirements must be graded, and no course in which a grade of lower than B is received may be counted toward satisfaction of this requirement. A majority of the courses used to satisfy Ph.D. requirements must be at the 700 level.

Students may petition the Graduate Studies Committee for permission to count up to three graduate-level courses taken outside this department toward satisfaction of the 15 course requirement. The petition should include the course number, title, syllabus, and instructor, as well as a statement as to how the course(s) fit into the student's program of study. Petitions should be filed after completion of the course(s), but students may submit a preliminary petition beforehand to inquire if a class is likely to qualify towards degree requirements.

All Ph.D. students must also register for at least ten dissertation credits before the completion of their course work.

Comprehensive Examination Fields

Students must pass two written preliminary comprehensive field examinations administered in a format determined by each field by the third year/sixth semester of their enrollment in the program.

Field examinations test a student's comprehension of the substance, theories, methods, and literature in that field. Examinations tend to be general in character, designed to cover a field. Normally, a student will take at least three courses in a field before being examined, but field examinations are not necessarily related directly to courses. Copies of previous examination questions are available in the office of the Graduate Secretary.

Field examinations are offered twice a year during the first week of the Fall and Spring Semesters. Students are required to sign up for these examinations prior to the end of the preceding semester.

The grading scale for these examinations is "Distinction," "Pass," and "Fail." A student who fails an examination may, on the recommendation of faculty in that field and with the permission of the Graduate Studies Committee, repeat the exam. Permission to retake a field examination may be granted only once, and in all cases where a re-examination is authorized, the entire examination must be retaken.

The format of field examinations and field papers is determined by the faculty in each field subject to approval by the Graduate Studies Committee. The currently approved formats for written examinations, by field, are listed in Appendix 1.

Oral exams should be held within two weeks of the written exam or the submission of the final research paper. No oral examination will be scheduled until the committee members agree that an oral examination is merited following a review of the written examination or research paper. All members of the examination committee will be present for the oral examination. If this condition cannot be met for the originally scheduled date, the oral examination shall be rescheduled.

Methods Requirements

All Ph.D. students are required to take in their first year (normally during their first semester) Political Inquiry, a foundational course designed to introduce students to the core philosophical and epistemological foundations of political science. This is course is designed to be appropriate for students in all fields and of all methodological orientations.

The department also regularly offers three other courses: Introduction to Quantitative AnalysisQualitative Methods, and Interpretation. Each field has determined which, if any, of these courses are required for a student to take a comprehensive exam in that field. These field-specific requirements can be found in Appendix 1.

Dissertation

Satisfactory completion of a dissertation is the final requirement for the Ph.D. The dissertation represents a systematic investigation of a problem in the candidate's major field and should demonstrate an ability to do independent research. It is prepared under the supervision of a dissertation committee consisting of the student's principal dissertation advisor, who shall serve as chair, a second reader from the graduate faculty of the department, and a third reader from the graduate faculty of the university from a department other than political science.

Each student must develop a detailed dissertation prospectus with the guidance of the chair of the dissertation committee. The prospectus must include a statement of purpose, a review of relevant literature, a statement on research methods or procedures to be used, and a discussion of the significance of the expected findings and/or their theoretical importance.

When the prospectus has been prepared to the satisfaction of the dissertation committee, the student will present an oral defense of the prospectus, which will be conducted by the committee and be open to all faculty and graduate students in the department. If defended successfully, the prospectus will be signed by the members of the dissertation committee and the Graduate Program Director and filed with the Graduate School.

A dissertation committee may not be established, nor a dissertation prospectus approved until a student has completed all course, comprehensive, methods, and residency requirements. Moreover, a dissertation committee and approved prospectus must be on file with the Graduate School at least seven months before the anticipated date of graduation.

The dissertation committee administers the final oral examination upon acceptance of the dissertation. The Graduate School must be notified at least three weeks in advance of the date for which the oral is scheduled. The defense is open generally to faculty, staff and graduate students at the University.

Mentoring and Advising

Each incoming student is matched with a faculty mentor and a graduate student (peer) mentor in the first year of the program. Faculty mentors meet with students to discuss their course selection, research interests, and offer guidance in designing a course of study, and in selecting future dissertation advisors. Graduate student mentors serve as resource people during the first year of the program and offer advice on the graduate school experience.

Thereafter, with assistance from their first year mentor and the Graduate Program Director, and based on their classroom experience, students identify a principal faculty member to serve as their graduate advisor. The choice does not preclude working with other faculty, or the selection of a dissertation chair.

Satisfactory Progress

Satisfactory progress for full-time students is defined by the following schedule for the completion of degree requirements:

After one semester, completion of at least three graduate-level courses with grades of "B" or better.
After two semesters, completion of at least five graduate-level courses with grades of "B" or better.
After three semesters, completion of at least eight graduate-level courses with grades of "B" or better.
After four semesters, completion of at least eleven graduate-level courses with grades of "B" or better.
After five semesters, completion of at least thirteen graduate-level courses, and passage of one comprehensive field examination.
After six semesters, completion of at least fifteen graduate-level courses, passage of two comprehensive field examinations, passage of the methods requirements.
After seven semesters, completion of dissertation prospectus.
After eight semesters, ABD: all course, examination, methods, and residency requirements satisfied, dissertation committee established, prospectus approved and on file with the Graduate School.

Satisfactory progress for part-time students will be defined by the Graduate Studies Committee on an individual basis.

No student should have more than 2 incompletes on their record.

Satisfactory Progress Reviews

The Graduate Studies Committee shall initiate a standard satisfactory progress review for all Ph.D. students on the basis of the following schedule:

In late May each year, the department will convene an all-faculty meeting to discuss the annual progress of each full-time student. Faculty will discuss the performance of students in their courses, for e.g. students’ performance in discussions, presentations to classes, writing assignments, mastery of material, strengths and weaknesses, and improvement over the semester. The meeting will generate collective recommendations about students’ progress in the program. The Graduate Program Director will draw upon these recommendations to issue annual progress letters to graduate students, which will be sent out over the summer. The letters will indicate whether the student is making “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” progress. Students will be invited to schedule individual sessions with the Graduate Program Director to discuss their progress evaluation in further detail.

In the case of an “unsatisfactory progress” determination, probationary conditions will be imposed. Students on probation will be informed of the measures that they must take to make satisfactory progress (i.e. resolve incompletes; improve class participation, writing and/or research skills; take a comprehensive exam) and will be reviewed again for satisfactory progress reviews in subsequent semesters. Students who fail to return to satisfactory progress within two semesters will be dismissed from the program.

A satisfactory progress review for an individual student will also be initiated by the Graduate Studies Committee in the event of any of the following: (i) failure of a comprehensive examination, (ii) receipt of a grade of B-or lower in a graduate-level course, or (iii) termination of a student's statute of limitations.

Upon failure of a comprehensive examination, the Graduate Studies Committee, in executing a satisfactory progress review, may exercise any of the following options:

A. It may permit the student to take an examination for a second and final time in that field, with the understanding that failure for a second time will result in automatic dismissal from the program;

B. It may permit the student to take an examination in another field with the understanding that a failure in that examination will result in automatic dismissal from the program;

C. It may, in a case in which either option A or B has already been extended to a student following a previous failure of an examination, deny any further privileges and dismiss the student from the program.

Petitions and Appeals

Students may petition the Graduate Studies Committee for individual exceptions to the general Rules and Procedures governing the program. Petitions in writing must be filed to obtain credit for graduate-level courses taken at other universities, other than an M.A. in Political Science, or in other departments at this University.

Students may appeal the decisions of the Committee with regard to petitions, probation, or dismissal and are entitled to meet with the Committee in conjunction with their appeal.

In all cases, petitions and appeals are to be addressed to the Graduate Studies Committee.

 
Guidelines for Allocation of Funding

Only students in the Ph.D. program are eligible for funding awards.

At the time of admission to the Ph.D. program, students receive a funding package for a specified number of years. The annual renewal of these awards depends upon maintaining satisfactory progress in the program.

The Graduate Studies Committee will review student progress and performance annually before renewing an award. For the renewal of TA awards the Graduate Studies Committee will also review and evaluate the performance of the student as a TA, and will solicit input from their faculty supervisors.

Students entering the program without funding may apply for funding in their second and third years, the award of which will depend upon their performance in the program, which must meet the ‘satisfactory progress’ requirements outlined above, and the availability of funding after new and continuing student awards have been made.

Students in their fourth year and beyond may be employed by the Department as Teaching Associates (TOs), depending upon departmental need and the availability of funding. Normally, students must be ABD to qualify for TO funding.

External funding decisions regarding graduate positions funded by external grants held by faculty members shall be made by the faculty member in question. Students who have maintained satisfactory progress in their doctoral program shall be eligible to apply. In all cases, such positions shall be advertised both on the graduate student listserv and at the Graduate School, Assistantship Job Posting. Preference shall be given to hiring political science doctoral students for such positions.

Funding decisions shall be made by the Department Chair in consultation with the Graduate Program Director.

The following rules for the Graduate Program in the Department of Political Science apply to all students entering the Ph.D. or M.A. programs after September 1, 2009. These rules supplement but do not supersede the rules of the Graduate School as set forth in the Graduate School Bulletin. Students are responsible for meeting all rules and regulations of the Graduate School as well as of the department.

The Graduate Studies Committee faculty of the department shall enforce rules governing the M.A. and Ph.D. programs and be the final authority in their interpretation and application in specific cases. M.A. and PhD. students may petition the Graduate Studies Committee faculty for variances from or exceptions to these rules. Its decisions shall be final and binding in such cases.

No individual faculty member or departmental committee other than the Graduate Studies Committee is authorized to approve any deviations whatsoever from these rules.


Accelerated Master's of Political Science (BA+MA)

Course & Distribution Requirements

Option #1 (recommended for those who plan to pursue a Ph.D. in political science or related field).

Accelerated M.A. students must complete a total of eight graduate courses with grades of "B" or better and a six credit thesis and defense. Three of these courses are to be completed as an undergraduate student. Of the remaining five courses, four must be taken in political science. Students are required to take the course Political Inquiry. This course may not be taken as an undergraduate.

Students must take at least one graduate course from each of any three fields in the department.

Option #2 (recommended for those who do not plan to pursue a Ph.D. in political science or related field).

Accelerated M.A. students must complete a total of ten graduate courses with grades of "B" or better. Three of these courses are to be completed as an undergraduate student. Of the remaining seven courses, five must be taken in political science. Students are required to take the course Political Inquiry. This course may not be taken as an undergraduate.

Students must take at least one graduate course from each of any three fields in the department.

Students must also submit two seminar papers (from any course that counts toward their Accelerated Master's Degree) to the Graduate Program Director. Each paper must be at least 20 pages (5,000 words) in length and have received an "A-" or better.

Methods Requirement

All Accelerated M.A. students are required to take the course Political Inquiry, a foundational course designed to introduce students to the core philosophical and epistemological foundations of political science, during their first year as a graduate student (normally during their first semester). This course is designed to be appropriate for students in all fields and of all methodological orientations. Students may not take this course as an undergraduate.

Thesis & M.A. Examination

Accelerated M.A. students pursuing Option #1 are required to write a thesis under the supervision of a thesis advisor from the Graduate faculty in political science and a second reader who may be chosen from a department other than political science. The thesis committee and thesis outline must be established and reported to the Graduate School at least four months prior to the thesis defense.

Upon completion of the thesis, an oral examination will be administered by a committee consisting of the thesis advisor and the second reader from the graduate faculty in political science. This Accelerated M.A. examination will seek to relate the thesis to the student's degree program.

The Graduate School Master’s Degree Requirements must also be adhered to.


Master's of Political Science (MA)

This is not the Accelerated Master of Arts. See below for the Accelerated M.A. rules.

Course & Distribution Requirements

Option #1 (recommended for those who plan to pursue a Ph.D. in political science or related field).

M.A. students are required to complete eight graduate-level courses with grades of "B" or better, seven of which must be taken in political science. At least one course must be taken in three of the fields within the department. (See Ph.D. degree program for a listing of the fields.)

Students must register for six thesis credits before completion of their course work and present a thesis as described below.

Option #2 (recommended for those who do not plan to pursue a Ph.D. in political science or related field).

M.A. students are required to complete ten graduate-level courses with grades of "B" or better, eight of which must be taken in political science. At least one course must be taken in three of the fields within the department. (See Ph.D. degree program for a listing of the fields.)

Students must also submit two seminar papers to the Graduate Program Director, each of which must be at least 20 pages (5,000 words) in length and each of which must have received a grade of "A-" or better.

Methods Requirement

All M.A. students are required to take in their first year (normally during their first semester) Political Inquiry, a foundational course designed to introduce students to the core philosophical and epistemological foundations of political science. This is course is designed to be appropriate for students in all fields and of all methodological orientations.

Thesis & M.A. Examination

M.A. students pursuing Option #1 are required to write a thesis under the supervision of a thesis advisor from the Graduate faculty in political science and a second reader who may be chosen from a department other than political science. The thesis committee and thesis outline must be established and reported to the Graduate School at least four months prior to the thesis defense.

Upon completion of the thesis, an oral examination will be administered by a committee consisting of the thesis advisor and the second reader from the graduate faculty in political science. This M.A. examination will seek to relate the thesis to the student's degree program.

M.A. Degree for Ph.D. Students

Students in the Ph.D. program who have completed course, proficiency, and residency requirements, and passed one comprehensive field examination may, with the approval of the Graduate Studies Committee, be awarded the M.A. degree. Courses used toward a Masters degree awarded by another institution may not be used to satisfy any part of the requirements for an M.A. from this institution.

The Graduate School Master’s Degree Requirements must also be adhered to.