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Graduate Program

PhD Timeline of Milestones

Coursework

Must complete in first three years; typically in years one and two.

Successfully complete 14 graded graduate-level courses, including four required courses, all with a grade of B- or better.

Fields of Concentration

Must complete by end of fall semester of year three.

Students must pass two fields of concentration by the end of the Fall semester of their third year. One of these two fields must be Formal Political Theory or Political Methodology, and one must be a substantive field. At least one field must be a major field, which is completed by taking four courses in the field with a GPA of at least 3.5. The other field may be a minor field, which is completed by passing three courses in the field with a grade of B- or better.

Second-Year Paper

Write in the summer immediately following year two.

Each student must complete and submit a second-year paper. The second-year paper should demonstrate the capacity for conducting research.

Associated deadlines:

  • By March 15 in the student’s second year: select two advisors
  • May 15 in the student’s second year: submit paper proposal to both advisors and Di- rector of Graduate Studies
  • August 1 prior to the student’s third year: submit rough draft to paper supervisors First day of classes in a student’s third year: final paper due to advisors and Director of Graduate Studies

Comprehensive Literature Survey

Due at end of fall semester of year three.

Each student must complete and submit a comprehensive literature survey. This is a survey of a research area including existing research and open questions.

Associated deadlines:

  • By June 1 prior to a student’s third year: select two advisors and submit a one-page topic description to advisors and director of graduate studies
  • September 15: submit final reading list to advisors
  • Last day of classes in the fall semester of a student’s third year: literature survey due to advisors and director of graduate studies

Third-Year Paper and Prospectus Defense

Each student must complete and submit a third-year paper. This paper is presented to the faculty and forms the basis of the dissertation prospectus. The third-year paper presentation is followed by a closed defense of the prospectus.

Associated deadlines:

  • No later than October 1 of student’s third-year: select three third-year paper advisors, including designating one main advisor, who will be expected to form the student’s dissertation committee
  • By the end of January, students submit a one-page plan for the dissertation prospectus to their advisors and to the director of graduate studies
  • April 1 of student’s third year: submit third-year paper to committee and the director of graduate studies
  • April of student’s third year: DGS schedules department presentations of third-year paper
  • Within two weeks of dept. presentations: meet with dissertation committee for feed- back
  • July 1: dissertation prospectus completed and submitted to advisors and the director of graduate studies
  • July 31: the dissertation prospectus must be defended orally before the dissertation committee no later than this date

Teaching Requirement

Typically fulfill in years three and four.

Students are required to serve as teaching assistants for four semesters, typically in the third and fourth years.

Dissertation

Our program is designed for successful defense of the dissertation by the end of a student’s fifth year.

Please consult our curriculum page for a complete list of requirements for the political science PhD program.