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Political Science & Research Methods Concentration

The graduate concentration in Political Science & Research Methods (PSRM) provides students with the option of emphasizing their methodological development within the Political Science Ph.D. program. The concentration is designed to provide a flexible  curriculum that introduces students to both basic and advanced methods for their political science research. 

Course Requirements

PSRM students travel a distinct pathway through their graduate studies, taking a three course sequence in research methods. All PSRM students take an initial core seminar, Research Design, that introduces students to the fundamentals of behavioral research design and provides students with hands-on exposure to a wide range of methods for collecting and analyzing social science data, both qualitative and quantitative.

PSRM students then build their methodological skills by choosing two advanced methods courses that fit their substantive research interests. These advanced methods courses cover a diverse array of subjects and approaches, including Survey Design and Analysis, Experiments, Network Analysis, Introduction to Quantitative Analysis, Text-as-Data, Machine Learning, Bayesian Statistics, Interpretation, Ethnography, and a host of other courses offered by UMass’ outstanding faculty in Political Science and other departments. The most recent list of advanced method courses regularly being offered can be found here

Comprehensive Exam Requirements

Students enrolled in the PSRM concentration have the option of taking comprehensive exams in the field of Research Methodology, in addition to taking Comprehensive Exams in the subfields of American Politics; Comparative Politics; International Relations; Law, Politics, & Society; Public Policy; and Intradisciplinary & Interdisciplinary Studies. Students interested in taking comprehensive exams in Research Methodology are required to take at least two additional methods classes beyond the three required courses under the PSRM concentration.    

Resources

The full requirements for the Ph.D. Concentration in Political Science and Research Methods can be found here. Students interested in a comparison between PSRM requirements and those of the base Ph.D. in Political Science can reference this comparison document.

To learn more about the concentration or to discuss your interest, please email the Concentration Coordinator, Douglas Rice, at drrice@umass.edu.