The Political Science department offers programs leading to the master of arts (M.A.), master of public administration (M.P.A.), and doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees. Much more detailed information relating to the degrees offered by the Department of Political Science is contained in the Graduate Handbook. Students and prospective students should consult these as well as this catalog.

Master of Arts

Admission Requirements

Applicants for admission to the M.A. program must submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination general test. Additional information is in the “Academic Policies” section of this catalog.

Degree Requirements

Plans I and II. M.A. students may follow either Plan I, requiring 30 semester hours of coursework, a written comprehensive examination, a thesis, and an oral examination in defense of the thesis; or Plan II, requiring 36 hours of coursework and a written comprehensive examination.

Course requirements. Under either plan, students must take courses in three of five fields, including a core seminar in each. The available fields are American politics, comparative politics, international relations, public policy and administration, and political theory. Plan I students take 9 hours in the major field and 6 in each of two minor fields; Plan II students take 12 hours in the major field and 6 in each of two minor fields. The core seminars are PSC 610 Core Seminar in American Politics, PSC 631 Seminar in Comparative Politics, PSC 642 Concepts and Theories of International Relations, PSC 651 Political Theory Seminar, and PSC 565 Survey of Public Administration.

All students must complete PSC 521 Research Design and PSC 522 Quantitative Methods in Political Science I (or approved substitutes).

Comprehensive examination. The written comprehensive examination will cover the student’s major field and will require integration of material across courses in the field.

Thesis. After passing the written examination, a student following Plan I should prepare a thesis prospectus, which should describe the substance and methods of the thesis research, outline the thesis itself, and provide a preliminary bibliography. Once the prospectus has been approved, the chairperson will formally appoint a committee of three faculty members to supervise the thesis. The student must submit four copies of the completed thesis and must take a final oral examination to defend it and show competence in the field in which it lies. Except in unusual circumstances, the final oral examination must be taken during the fall or spring semester and before final course examinations begin. After the examination, the student must deposit two copies of the approved thesis with the Graduate School and two copies with the department.

Master of Public Administration

Admission Requirements

The M.P.A. is a professional degree program designed primarily for those who plan a career in federal, state, or local government. Applicants for admission to the M.P.A. program must submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination general test. Scores from the Miller Analogies Test may be submitted as supplementary information, but not as a substitute for the GRE. Additional information is in the “Academic Policies” section of this catalog.

Degree Requirements

Students are required to complete 39 semester hours of coursework. The 39 hours is subdivided as follows: 18 hours of public policy and administration core courses, 3 hours of quantitative methods, 6 hours of public policy and administration electives, and 9 hours of specialization electives if a 3 hour internship is completed and 12 hours of specialization electives if an internship is not completed. An internship is required for all pre-service students. In addition to the 39 hours of coursework, students are required to complete a written comprehensive exam.

Course requirements. M.P.A. students must complete at least three of the following four courses: PSC 565 Survey of Public Administration, PSC 662 Organization Theory, PSC 667 Public Budgeting, and PSC 562 Public Personnel Administration. Including the preceding, at least 18 hours must be taken from the courses listed under “Public Policy and Administration.” Student must also complete PSC 522 Quantitative Methods in Political Science I.

Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements Admission to the Ph.D. program requires either a bachelor’s or a master’s degree. Applicants must submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination general test. All students admitted to the Ph.D. program without a master’s degree will be required to undergo an evaluation of their progress in the program by the Graduate Studies Committee after the completion of 27 hours in residence.

Degree Requirements

Major and minor fields. Ph.D. students must choose and develop competence in one major and two minor fields. The fields the department offers are American politics, comparative politics, international relations, public policy and administration, and political theory. In exceptional cases, a student may choose one minor field outside the department, with special permission from the graduate studies committee.

Course requirements. Ph.D. students must complete at least 51 hours of graduate coursework. Up to 25 hours may be transferred from other institutions, with the permission of the graduate studies committee. At least 18 hours must be taken within the student’s major field, at least 12 hours must be taken within the student’s second field, and at least 9 hours must be taken in a third field.

Students must take the core seminars in their major and minor fields. The core seminars are PSC 610 Core Seminar in American Politics, PSC 631 Seminar in Comparative Politics, PSC 642 Concepts and Theories of International Relations, PSC 651 Political Theory Seminar, and PSC 565 Survey of Public Administration.

In addition, all students must complete 9 hours of methods courses, including PSC 521 Research Design, PSC 522 Quantitative Methods in Political Science I, and either PSC 621 Quantitative Methods in Political Science II or PSC 622 Seminar in Political Science Methodology.

Students interested in pursuing a topic in greater depth than the standard course offerings allow may take up to 12 hours of PSC 595 Directed Reading and PSC 598 Individual Research, with up to 6 hours in any one field.

Language requirement. A foreign language is required of Ph.D. students if appropriate to the student’s research interests. The appropriateness of the foreign language requirement shall be determined by the relevant faculty in the student’s primary field of interest prior to the student’s completion of 18 hours in residence in the Ph.D. program. Students may, with approval of the Graduate Studies Committee, substitute foreign language for the PSC 621 requirement. 

Comprehensive examination. Before writing a dissertation, but only after completing at least two full years of graduate study and satisfying all coursework, Ph.D. students must take and pass written and oral comprehensive examinations in their major and secondary fields. These will be given during fall and spring semesters only.

Candidacy. Students who have fulfilled the course requirements and passed the comprehensive examination become Ph.D. candidates.

Dissertation. Students must complete no less than 24 hours of dissertation credit (699). As soon as possible after satisfying the requirements for candidacy, each student should submit three copies of a dissertation prospectus to the department chairperson, who will establish a dissertation committee of five faculty members, with at least three from the Department of Political Science and at least one from another department. The prospectus should contain the same information as an MA thesis prospectus (see above). 
 
The department chairperson will decide whether to approve the prospectus, on the recommendation of the dissertation committee. Once the prospectus has been approved, the student may begin work on the dissertation itself, under the supervision of his or her dissertation committee. When finished, the student must take a final oral examination to defend the dissertation and demonstrate competence in the field in which it lies. The examination, conducted by the dissertation committee, must ordinarily be held during the fall or spring semester. Following a successful defense, the student must submit the thesis electronically in accordance with procedures laid out in this Catalog.

A complete course listing can be found in the graduate catalog.