The department offers two graduate degrees in Political Science: the Master of Arts (M.A.) and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Graduate students may major in the fields of American politics, comparative politics, and international relations; students seeking the doctorate are also required to select a minor in a different field, or minor in political methodology.
We offer a terminal master's program for students interested in careers in teaching or government. The master's (M.A.) program requires a minimum of 30 semester hours beyond the bachelor's degree. All students in the M.A. program must complete at least 24 hours of course work, with at least 12 of those hours in a designated major field.
The doctoral (Ph.D.) program is designed to prepare students for careers in university-level teaching and research, and requires a minimum of 60 semester hours beyond the bachelor's degree. Students in the Ph.D. program must take at least five courses (15 hours) in their designated major field and at least four courses (12 hours) in their designated minor field. After completing their course work, students are required to pass written comprehensive examinations in both of their fields. Finally, Ph.D. students must propose, complete, and defend a dissertation that reports original research.
The Department places a heavy emphasis on teaching students research skills and providing them with the opportunities to begin conducting their own research projects and developing their own research agendas. Master's degree students are required to take at least two "research tool" courses (at least one of which must be quantitatively-oriented), while doctoral students must take at least three research tool courses. In addition to research papers for seminar classes, faculty often encourage students to join them on collaborative research projects outside the classroom.