Mar 30, 2023
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Return to: 3470 Department of Political Science
The doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) prepares students for careers in research and teaching. Students enhance their skills by furthering their knowledge of the literature of the discipline, increasing their methodological ability, and writing a publishable dissertation. The Ph.D. program produces scholars who are experts in their substantive field of study and who are able to combine theoretical sophistication with methodological rigor.
Applicants may obtain additional information about the Department of Political Science by contacting the Director of Graduate Studies at the addresses above.
Additional Admission Requirements
In addition to the general requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Political Science has the following requirements for the Ph.D. program:
- Submit acceptable scores on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical sections of the GRE.
- Have an acceptable cumulative master’s grade-point average and substantial prior coursework in political science or a related field, preferably with a thesis.
- Submit three letters of recommendation from individuals who can evaluate the applicant’s potential to do graduate work in political science.
- Submit official transcripts from all colleges and/or universities attended.
- Submit a statement of research interests and goals for political science degree.
- Submit a writing sample demonstrating graduate level research capabilities
- Applicants who intend to pursue comparative politics as their major field should have at least one year of college level training in a world language.
No grade below a C may be used towards the Ph.D. degree. In addition, because the field of political science changes so quickly, the department will not normally support the use of coursework and other qualifications older than ten years towards the Ph.D.
Methods Courses Alternative
Students intending to write their dissertations in Political Theory may make a request to the departmental Director of Graduate Studies that up to two of the four courses in the required methods sequence be waived. After consulting with the Director of Graduate Studies, students may also replace either POLS 8830 or 8840 with a doctoral-level political theory course.
An additional twenty-four hours of coursework beyond the M.A. (excluding the required methods sequence). For students without an M.A. in hand, thirty-six hours of coursework must be completed (excluding the required methods sequence). Only 8000-level coursework in political science will be counted towards this requirement, unless other courses are specifically allowed by the Director of Graduate Studies.
To ensure a broad knowledge of the discipline of Political Science, all students must take at least one course in a field that will not serve as a qualifying exam field. For the purposes of this requirement, the fields are: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Politics, Political Theory, and Public Law. Students who wish to have their distribution requirement waived may appeal to the Director of Graduate Studies if they can show that an extra major field, minor field, or methods course is critical to their professional development. Students should choose their remaining courses in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies in accordance with the student’s planned qualifying exam fields (POLS 8100 to POLS 8980 ).
Students without MA
Students admitted to the program without a previously earned MA will earn an ‘MA in passing’ consisting of a rigorous research paper. Students completing this requirement will receive three (3) hours of degree credit under POLS 8996 Research Internship. This requirement must be met by the completion of 33 hours of coursework.
- All doctoral students must pass a written examination in one major and one minor field.For the purposes of this requirement, the fields are: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Politics, Political Theory, Public Law, and Research Methods. All students are expected to take their qualifying exams after completing no more than 42 credit hours of coursework in political science at Georgia State beyond the M.A. In order to take these exams, a student must have a 3.4 grade-point average in political science courses taken in the Ph.D. program at Georgia State University. Students who do not have the required 3.4 GPA for graduate Political Science courses taken at Georgia State after 36 hours will be issued a scholastic warning. Students who have failed to achieve the required 3.4 GPA to take the qualifying exams after 42 hours will be subject to scholastic termination. Direct-admit doctoral students must have taken at least four (4) courses in their major field and at least three (3) courses in their minor field.Post-MA doctoral students must have taken at least three (3) courses in their major field and at least two (2) course in their minor field.(Students taking Qualifying Exams in Research Methods may not count POLS 8800, 8805, or 8810 towards the three-course requirement). Students must register for three (3) hours of POLS 8900 Comprehensive Readings during the semester of the exams, and these hours will count towards their degree. Students may take the exams twice if necessary.
Professionalization/Research Presentation Requirement
All doctoral students will be required by the time they have completed 36 hours of coursework to present a major research paper at the annual GSA Graduate Student Conference or another conference approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. Doctoral students will also be expected to attend Departmental colloquia, workshops, and other events and presentations on a regular basis as part of their ongoing professionalization activities.
Research Course Requirement
Students must defend their dissertation proposal no later than 90 days after having completed the qualifying exams.
Dissertation written and approved by a three-member faculty committee. The chair and at least one member of this committee must come from the department’s graduate faculty, but the third member may come from the graduate faculty of another department at Georgia State University. Subject to the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, additional members beyond the required three may also come from outside the university, normally among members of the political science graduate faculty at a Ph.D. granting institution.
Mentoring and Evaluation
- First Year Review: Based on each first year doctoral student’s research interests, he or she will be assigned a faculty mentor in that area. All doctoral students will be evaluated at the end of their first year by the Department’s graduate faculty as to their performance in the program to date. An unsatisfactory review may result in dismissal from the program.
- Second Year Review: All doctoral students will again be evaluated at the end of their second year by the Department’s graduate faculty as to their performance in the program to date. An unsatisfactory review may result in dismissal from the program.
Online Coursework Approval
Ph.D. students must have approval from the Director of Graduate Studies to count online courses towards their degree.
Graduate assistants are required to enroll for a minimum of 12 credit hours each for the fall/spring semesters and 9 credit hours for the summer semester. These credit hours will consist of courses required for the prescribed program of study, as well as additional hours of POLS 8996 , POLS 8997 , POLS 8998 , and POLS 8999 .
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