Requirements for the M.A. Degree

In addition to the minimum requiremetns of the Graduate School, the Department requires all candidates to complete 30 credits of approved graduate coursework in which a grade of B or higher has been received.

Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree in Political Science

Candidates must meet the general requirements for the Ph.D. degree set by the Graduate School. Departmental requirements are as follows:

A. Core Courses
Students take four core courses:

1. POL 600 Research Project

2. POL 601 Public Policy and Political Economy

3. POL 605 American Government

4. POL 608 Political Psychology

B. Methods
Students are expected to master the methods necessary to engage in scholarly work:

1. All students take a three-course sequence in mathematics, statistics, and research methods (POL 602, POL 603, POL 604).

2. All students are required to take at least one advanced methods course either in this department or in a cognate field (e.g., economics). The student’s choice of advanced elective(s) is decided in conjunction with the student’s advisor.

3. In addition to requirements 1 and 2 above, political psychology students take POL 610, a graduate-level course in experimental design. Political economy and American Politics students must take POL 613, Game Theory.

4. Students who have attended the ICPSR Summer Program in Quantitative Methods at the University of Michigan can have the advanced elective requirement waived.

C. Electives
Students take a minimum of four advanced seminars in their area of specialization and three in their minor area. The seminars are typically at the 600 level and can be within the department or can be in cognate fields such as psychology, economics, or applied math. The course of study is selected by the student in consultation with his or her advisor and must be approved by the graduate program director.

D. Teaching and Research Apprenticeship
To ensure that all students become proficient in teaching and research, students work with the faculty on an individual basis. Funded students participate in faculty research projects and assist in teaching courses. Advanced students then prepare and teach their own undergraduate classes.

E. Evaluation
Graduate students in the Ph.D. program are formally evaluated at the end of each semester, based on grades received in the program and on evaluations by faculty familiar with the student’s work.

The evaluation committee’s charge is to make one of the following three possible determinations with regard to the student’s progress: (1) recommend continuation of graduate study toward the Ph.D., (2) recommend that the student be allowed to continue toward a terminal M.A. but not to continue in the Ph.D. program, or (3) recommend that the student not be permitted to enroll in additional graduate courses in the department.

The evaluation also serves as the basis for the decision as to whether the student is to receive financial support during subsequent semesters of graduate work.

F. Qualifying Examinations
1. Timing of Examinations: Students making normal progress toward the Ph.D. should anticipate taking qualifying examinations following the second year of coursework. Examinations in three fields compose the doctoral qualifying examinations.

2. Examination Fields: The department’s policy is to allow students to take exams only in those areas in which its faculty strengths allow in-depth training, including:

            a. Methods

            b. American Politics

            c. Political Economy and Public Policy

            d. Political Psychology/Behavior

All students are required to take the methods exam. Students then prepare two of the three other substantive areas for written examination.

3. Preparation and Evaluation of Examinations: The graduate program director appoints a committee (with a designated committee chairperson) responsible for each examination field. The committee prepares the written examination, providing sufficient options for questions on which students may write. The committee members read the student’s examination and prepare an evaluation of that performance, which is reviewed by the Ph.D. committee.

G. Dissertation
Following successful completion of the qualifying examinations, the student begins the process of preparing his or her dissertation.

The third year includes developing a directed reading course under the supervision of a dissertation director. Through the readings the student will explore specialized research literature in the area of a proposed dissertation, develop an initial bibliography, and formulate a specific question for research. The second half of the year includes working with the dissertation director and selecting a dissertation committee consisting of four faculty members—three from the Department of Political Science and one with whom the student has worked outside of the department. The third year culminates with a presentation of the dissertation proposal by the student and its acceptance by the dissertation committee.

Should the dissertation committee reject the proposal, a candidate is allowed to revise the proposal for a subsequent defense. If this second defense also results in failure, the student’s program is terminated.

Upon successful conclusion of research, the student defends the completed dissertation to the committee and the University community at large.


Ph.D. Program
The required courses for first-year students are given every year; electives are generally offered every other year. Courses are open to qualified students from other programs with permission of the graduate program director.

Required Courses
Electives: Methodology

Electives: American Politics

Electives: Public Policy

Electives: Political Psychology

Electives: General