Political Science PhD

The doctoral program emphasizes theoretical, analytic, and substantive approaches to public policy analysis and administration. Students are provided an opportunity to link core skills in policy analysis and political science with substantive emphasis in specific policy areas. The program is designed to prepare pre-career and mid-career students for advanced positions in policy research and administration, as well as for academic research and teaching.

Admission Requirements

Admission and financial aid decisions are made on the basis of past academic record, intellectual ability, and career commitment and performance. Applications are accepted from students who have either baccalaureate or master’s degrees. Past graduate work will be credited toward degree requirements as appropriate. Applicants must submit:

  1. complete academic transcripts,
  2. three letters of recommendation,
  3. aptitude tests of the GRE and
  4. a statement of objectives for the course of study.

Application materials may be obtained from and should be returned to the office of the director of admissions. Applications for fall semester should be submitted by February 15 and for winter semester by October 15.

Graduate Assistantships Stipends for teaching and research assistantships (nine month/20 hours per week) are awarded on a competitive basis. Out-of-state educational fees are waived for graduate assistants.

Degree Requirements

The department requires 60 credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree for completion of the Ph.D. To ensure sufficient background for doctoral-level policy courses, students must demonstrate appropriate competence in computing and data analysis during their course of study. Course requirements are as follows:

Core courses

(18 credit hours)

  • 18 credit hours will be required in the areas of research methods, and policy process and institutions. Contact the department for specific courses.
  • Additional Requirements (12 credit hours)
  • In addition, students will select a minimum of 12 credit hours in public policy, theory, or process as they apply to major subfields in political science.

Policy Concentration

(24 credit hours)

Students, in consultation with the program director, will develop expertise in a substantive policy area. Policy concentrations (many interdisciplinary) include but are not limited to:

  • American National Policy
  • Urban Politics and Planning
  • Comparative/International Policy
  • Policy Analysis and Research Social Welfare


(6 credit hours) optional

The Ph.D. intern program offers an opportunity to gain first-hand experience in select research and administrative positions.

General Examination and Dissertation

Upon completion of course work, students are advanced to candidacy by successfully completing three general examinations,

  1. public policy institutions, processes, and analysis,
  2. methodology, and
  3. the student's chosen subfield and area of policy concentration.

The degree is awarded upon completion and defense of the Ph.D. dissertation.