Jul 14, 2024  
Graduate Catalog 2016-2017 
Graduate Catalog 2016-2017 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science

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Director of Graduate Studies:
Jim Butterfield,
Room 3352, Friedmann Hall

The Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science is designed to prepare students for careers in teaching and both academic and applied research. The Ph.D. program provides basic training in American politics, comparative politics, political theory and philosophy, and research methods. Students may enter with either a B.A. degree or an M.A. degree.

Admission Requirements

Students must satisfy the general admission requirements of the Graduate College. Students applying to the program with a bachelor’s degree must have completed at least 24 hours of work in the social sciences or other relevant fields and have achieved a 3.25 grade point average in their last two years of course work. Students applying with a master’s degree must have achieved a grade point average of at least 3.25 in their graduate work. Graduate Record Exam scores for the quantitative, verbal and analytical parts are required for all students. Each applicant should arrange to have three recommendations sent (using WMU Graduate Reference Forms) and submit a curriculum vitae, a brief essay concerning their academic and professional objectives, and two writing samples that indicate their ability in professional writing. All application materials for admission should be submitted by the following dates: July 1 for Fall Semester, November 1 for Spring Semester, March 1 for Summer I Session, and May 1 for Summer II Session.

Program Requirements

Students should meet with the Director of Graduate Studies before registering for classes their first semester.

The doctorate requires a minimum of 90 credit hours of work beyond the baccalaureate. After successfully completing 30 hours in the program and passing the M.A. Field Exam or the Ph.D. Comprehensive Exams, students will be eligible for a Master of Arts degree. Up to 30 credit hours may be applicable from a master’s degree.

The basic requirements for the doctorate are as follows:

1. Prerequisites (non credit).

Students must have completed the following course or its equivalent with a grade of “B” or better:

  • PSCI 3950 - Quantitative Methods for Political Scientists

2. Required core courses.

Each student is required to take the following core courses (27 hours) or their equivalent:

3. Minimum Field Course Requirements.

Students must take three courses in their exam fields and two in their non-exam field, as follow:

Exam Fields:

American Politics: PSCI 6101 and two American electives.
Comparative Politics: PSCI 6410 and two Comparative electives.
Political theory: Three of the following: PSCI 6620, PSCI 6630, PSCI 6650, or any Theory elective.

Non-Exam Fields:

American Politics: PSCI 6010 and one American elective.
Comparative Politics: PSCI 6410 and one Comparative elective.
Political Theory: Two of the following: PSCI 6620, PSCI 6630 or PSCI 6650.


Students must further take enough courses to prepare them for their doctoral research and attain required hours in anticipation of dissertation credit. The precise number of elective courses should be worked out with the Graduate Director. In addition to elective courses in Political Science, students may include courses from cognate fields (with approval of the Graduate Director) and independent study.

4. Annual Reviews.

In order to continue in the program, students must receive a positive annual review.

5. Research tools/methods.

All Ph.D. students must demonstrate proficiency in at least two research skills and/or methodology appropriate to their field of specialization, as determined in consultation with their advisor, field faculty, and the Graduate Director. As such, all students must successfully complete PSCI 6640, 6910, and 6920 or their equivalents, and are urged to do so as early in their careers as possible. In addition, all students must attain competence in a second elective research skill/methodological tool sufficient to meaningfully assist their research activities. Elective research tools may include advanced statistical methodology, foreign language skills (other than English), survey research, econometrics, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), or other alternative skills as approved by the Graduate Director and/or Graduate Committee. Students should check the specific research tools/methodology policy with the Graduate Director.

6. Comprehensive examination.

In order to continue in the program after the completion of their required core course work, students must take and pass written and oral examinations covering two of the following three fields: American Politics, Comparative Politics, and Political Theory.

7. Dissertation.

As the capstone to the Ph.D. degree program, the dissertation is awarded 15-21 credit hours. The dissertation is an original and substantive research requirement and will be developed and completed under the supervision of a dissertation advisor.

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