Doctorate Requirements

Please examine the graduate handbook or contact the Graduate Program Director for more details on the structure of the PhD program. The basic requirements are:

1.   Credits - minimum of 90 total semester credits if entering with a BA; minimum of 60 semester credits if entering with a Master's degree from another institution.

2.   Curriculum requirements

Requirements of all PhD students: 16 credits

  • Graduate Colloquium, POL 7005 [4 credits]
  • Research Methods & Design, POL 7050; OR Policy Research & Evaluation Methods, POL 7001 [4 credits]
  • Statistics 1, POL 7051 [4 credits]
  • Statistics 2, POL 7052; OR Public Policy Studio; OR Pro-seminar in Survey Research, POL 7054). [4 credits]

Course work in 2 Major Areas of Study: 40 credits

  • Students take a total of 10 courses (40 credits) across two Major Areas of Study (selecting from American politics, comparative politics, international relations, research methodology).
  • In each of the two chosen Major Areas of Study, the student must take at least 4 courses (16 credits).

Distribution Requirement: 12 credits

  • Students take at least three elective courses. These may come from any of the Major Areas of Study, but cannot include individual work courses. With permission of the Graduate Program Director, students may take courses outside the department that are relevant to their research preparation (e.g., foreign language courses). 
  • Total of above course work: 68 credits
  • Electives, research: 22 credits
  • Total: 90 credits

3.   Satisfactory Progress - The Graduate Committee annually will review performance of PhD students. The review will determine if the student will be permitted to continue work toward the doctorate. A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 is required by the Graduate School to obtain a graduate degree.

4.   Comprehensive Examinations - Typically during their third year of full-time study students take comprehensive written and oral exams in two areas of political science.  The major areas of study are American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and research methodology.

5.   Dissertation Proposal and Admission to Candidacy - When the student has passed the comprehensive examinations, prepared an acceptable dissertation proposal, and presented the proposal in a colloquium, the Political Science Department will recommend to the Graduate School that the student be admitted into candidacy for the PhD.

6.   Dissertation Defense - The University requires the PhD to be completed within nine years of admission to the program. The dissertation must be defended to a committee of at least three UC faculty members. The dissertation committee may also include outside scholars.