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    Jun 24, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Political Science, PhD

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To be admitted to the PhD program, the following are required:

  1. a bachelor’s degree awarded by an accredited college or university;
  2. a minimum of 24 hours of undergraduate or graduate credit in political science. With the advance approval of the admissions subcommittee of the department’s graduate studies committee, one of the following may be substituted for the 24 hours in political science:
    1. 30 combined hours of credit in political science or other disciplines relevant to the proposed course of graduate study; or
    2. a combination of credit in disciplines relevant to the proposed course of graduate study and substantial work experience in a position or occupation relevant to the proposed course of graduate study;
  3. an acceptable grade point average on the last 60 hours and acceptable GRE scores; for standardized admission test requirements, contact the department or the Toulouse Graduate School;
  4. three letters of recommendation, preferably from professors;
  5. a 500-word statement of purpose; and
  6. an academic writing sample.

Degree requirements

The doctoral degree requires a minimum of 72 semester hours beyond the bachelor’s degree if the student does not choose to earn a master’s degree.

If the student already holds a master’s degree in political science, a minimum of 60 hours beyond the master’s degree is required. With the consent of the Advisory Committee and Graduate Advisor, the required hours beyond the master’s degree may be reduced to as little as 42 hours.

The following are required for all doctoral students:

Additional requirements

A student must elect three areas of study for the Doctor of Philosophy degree, at least two of which must be in political science. Additional course work will be taken in other areas of political science or a related field. The student must pass qualifying examinations in two political science areas.

The student plans a program with an advisory committee that consists of a major professor, one professor from each of the student’s two other areas, and one departmental representative. The departmental representative is appointed by the political science graduate advisor. This committee advises the student on the program, arranges for all departmental examinations, approves the dissertation topic and judges the completed dissertation as a work of original research and writing justifying the awarding of the degree.

If a student elects a minor outside political science, it must be supportive of the study within the discipline. The outside minor cannot replace either of the political science areas for the qualifying exams. The areas available within political science are:

  • political theory
  • American government and public law
  • comparative government and politics
  • international relations

Political methodology may only be taken as an untested third field.

Additional program information is contained under the link “Degree Program Requirements” posted on the department’s graduate program web site ( The student is responsible for knowing the program requirements.

Research practicum

The student must complete a 6-hour research practicum by the time the qualifying examinations are completed. The research practicum is an exercise in original research carried out under a faculty member’s guidance.

Qualifying examinations

The qualifying examinations will be taken when all course work requirements have been satisfied. These examinations consist of both oral and written examinations covering the major and one other area in the student’s degree plan. Successful completion of these examinations is a prerequisite to admission to candidacy for the degree.

Admission to candidacy is granted by the dean of the Graduate School upon recommendation of the advisory committee and the department chair; admission is based upon the academic record of the student, approval of a dissertation topic and completion of language or research tool requirements and qualifying examinations.

Research and dissertation

The doctoral candidate must submit a dissertation demonstrating original and meaningful research that is a significant contribution to the major field. The major professor and other members of the advisory committee must approve the dissertation prior to the final oral examination, which will be primarily a defense of the dissertation.

In the event that all requirements for the degree are not completed within eight years after admission to the program, the advisory committee may require the student to take additional course work. The student also must observe the 8-year time limit for completion of all work toward the doctorate, set forth in the Doctoral Degree Requirements section of this catalog.

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