Degree Requirements

M.A. / Ph.D. Requirements

The Doctor of Philosophy

The Ph.D. degree is intended to prepare students for careers as college and university faculty members.  The path to the Ph.D. begins with a good deal of structure in the first year.  Over time, however, students’ programs of study become more individualized as they assume greater responsibility for their own education.  Successful completion of the Ph.D. reflects the ability to develop and undertake significant research projects independently, as well as to design and teach college level courses.

Ph.D. Requirements in Brief:

  • Complete all requirements for M.A. degree, plus  30 additional credit hours, including:
    • Fifth course in a major subfield
    • Third course in a minor subfield
    • Three courses in a second minor subfield(maybe outside political science and/or developed and defined by the student)
  • Written qualifying examinations
  • Oral comprehensive examination
  • Doctoral dissertation

The Master of Arts

For most students, the M.A. is the first step toward the Ph.D.  Course work leads to an intermediate level of research expertise that is reflected in the M.A. essay, a brief but high-quality contribution to scholarly debates in political science.

We view the M.A. essay as a student’s first piece of original, professional-quality research.  In many cases, the findings of the M.A. essay are reported to political scientists at national and regional conferences.  We also encourage students to publish their M.A. essays as journal articles.

M.A. Requirements in Brief:

  • 30 credit hours (most seminars are 3 credits), including:Three core methodology classes, political analysis, introductory statistics, and multivariate statistics
  • Four courses in a major subfield
  • Two courses in a minor subfield
  • M.A. Essay

Summary of Degree Requirements

RequirementMaster of ArtsDoctor of Philosophy**
Total Credits 30 60
-- In Major Field 12 15
-- In First Minor 6 9
-- In Second Minor 0 9
Minimum at 500 Level 21 51
Maximum Independent Study 6 12
Maximum Transfer Credits 10 30
Required Proseminars (PLSC 540, 550, 560, 580) Major and Minor Field Major Field and First and Second Minor Fields
Required Methods Courses PLSC 501, 502, & 503 PLSC 501, 502, & 503
Qualifying Exam
Assessment to admit into the PhD program
(Fall of 2nd year)
Written Qualifying Examination (January or May of 3rd Year)
Major Field and First Minor Field
Research Prospectus 1-2 Page MA Essay Outline
Approved by Advisor
(November of Second Year)
5-10 Page Dissertation Prospectus
(same semester as written qualifying/comprehensive exam)
Oral Comprehensive Exam Defense of MA Essay
(April of Second year)
Defense of Written Qualifying Exam
3rd Field Portfolio and Prospectus
Research MA Essay Dissertation Proposal and
Doctoral Dissertation