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Concentration Requirements

Doctor of Philosophy Degree Requirements for Concentration in Political Science and Research Methods (Effective September 1, 2020)

 

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 13 graduate-level courses. Full-time students are generally expected to complete a minimum of 11 courses in the first two years of the program.

Students entering with an M.A. in political science may, with the approval of the Concentration Coordinator, transfer up to 3 courses from their M.A. program toward satisfaction of the 13 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 Concentration Coordinator, can transfer up to 3 courses toward satisfaction of the 13 course requirement.

Students must fulfill a distribution requirement of 3 courses in each of 3 selected subfields. The course distribution fields are: American Politics; Comparative Politics; Political Behavior; Research Methodology; Political Theory; International Relations; Public Policy & Institutions; Law, Politics, and Society; and Intradisciplinary and Interdisciplinary Studies.

The Concentration Coordinator may, in certain cases, require a student to take course work beyond the required minimum of 13 courses.

All Ph.D. students are required to take in their first year Research Design, a foundational course designed to introduce students to social and behavioral research and a wide range of methods used to collect and analyze empirical data. This course is designed to be appropriate for students in all fields and of all methodological orientations. Research Design will not count towards any field distribution requirements.

Within their first three years, and ideally within the first two years, all students are required to take two additional advanced Research Methodology courses. The list of pre-approved courses is subject to change in the future with approval of faculty affiliated with the Concentration. Currently available course options that are already pre-approved include:

  • PS 652 Experiments
  • PS755 Intro to Quantitative Analysis
  • PS753 Networks
  • PS 758 Text as Data
  • PS791EA Text Analysis
  • PS 797BA Bayesian Statistics
  • PS 797ML Machine Learning for Social & Behavioral Analytics
  • PS 797SR Survey Design
  • PS791PA Political Ethnography
  • PS 797L Interpretation
  • PS 797BB Qualitative Research Methods

Courses not on this list, including courses outside the department, may be used to fulfill this requirement with the approval of the Concentration Coordinator. One of the two courses used to fulfill the Advanced Research Methodology requirement also can be counted towards fulfillment of the field distribution requirement in the Research Methodology field.

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. All courses used to satisfy Ph.D. requirements must be at the 700 level, with the exception of any 500 or 600 level Research Methodology courses that already appear on the list of pre-approved advanced Research Methodology courses. Prior to taking the course, students may petition the Concentration Coordinator to count a course below the 700 level toward satisfaction of the 13 course requirement.

Students may petition the Concentration Coordinator for permission to count up to 2 graduate-level courses taken outside this department toward satisfaction of the 13 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 before the student takes the course to ensure that the course qualifies towards the department’s degree requirements. Courses taken outside the department may be used to fulfill field distribution requirements with permission from the Concentration Coordinator.

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 Concentration Coordinator, 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 Concentration faculty in each field subject to approval by the Concentration Coordinator. The comprehensive exam field subjects are: American Politics; Comparative Politics; Research Methodology; International Relations; Public Policy; Law, Politics, and Society; and Intradisciplinary and Interdisciplinary Studies.

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.

GRADUATE PROGRAM RULES (Effective September 1, 2020)

The following rules for the Graduate Program in the Department of Political Science apply to all students in the Political Science and Research Methods Concentration of the PhD or M.A. program after September 1, 2020. 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 Concentration Coordinator shall enforce rules governing the Political Science and Research Methods Concentration within 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 Concentration Coordinator for variances from or exceptions to these rules. The Concentration Coordinator’s decisions shall be final and binding in such cases.

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

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY DEGREE REQUIREMENTS (Effective September 1, 2019)

SATISFACTORY PROGRESS

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

After your first academic year, completion of at least five graduate-level courses with grades of "B" or better.

After your second academic year, completion of at least eleven graduate-level courses with grades of "B" or better.

After your third academic year, completion of at least thirteen graduate-level courses, including all three required Research Methodology courses, and passage of two comprehensive field examinations.

After your fourth academic year, 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 Concentration Coordinator on an individual basis.

No student should have more than 2 incompletes on their record at the end of any single academic year. Students with 2 or more incompletes at the end of a single academic year will automatically be in unsatisfactory progress.

SATISFACTORY PROGRESS REVIEWS

The Concentration Coordinator shall initiate a standard satisfactory progress review for all Ph.D. students enrolled in the concentration on the basis of the following schedule:

In mid-to-late May each year, the Divisions with students enrolled in the Political Science and Research Methods Concentration will convene a meeting of all affiliated faculty 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 individual 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 return to satisfactory progress (e.g. resolve incompletes; take a comprehensive exam; complete and defend the prospectus). If there are extenuating circumstances which preclude a student from achieving satisfactory progress, it is the responsibility of the student to inform the Graduate Program Director, the Concentration Coordinator, and their faculty advisor of the nature of these circumstances and, when appropriate, provide documentation. In the absence of extenuating circumstances inhibiting a student’s ability to return to satisfactory progress, students who fail to return to satisfactory progress by the end of the subsequent academic year will automatically be dismissed from the program.

A satisfactory progress review for an individual student will also be initiated by the Concentration Coordinator 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) expiration of a student's statute of limitations.

In performing a satisfactory progress review occasioned by failure of a comprehensive examination, the Concentration Coordinator may:

  1. 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 in that field will result in automatic dismissal from the program;
  2. permit the student to take an examination in another field with the understanding that a failure in that examination in another field will result in automatic dismissal from the program;
  3. deny a student who has already used either option A or B following a previous failure of an examination any further opportunities to exercise option A or B and automatically dismiss the student from the program.