Political Science

The Department of Political Science offers a graduate program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and the 5th Year Master of Arts (M.A.). Only UConn undergraduates are eligible to enter the Master’s program. The graduate curriculum is designed to serve the individual needs of students as they prepare for the variety of opportunities that the field offers for teaching, research and administrative positions in the public and private sectors. Emphasis is placed on developing an understanding of the dynamics and institutions of political life and learning the methods necessary for empirical and qualitative research and analysis. The Ph.D. program is designed to be completed in five years, with the first four-five semesters focused on coursework, the third year devoted to preparing for and passing qualifying examinations and preparing the dissertation prospectus, and the final one-two years on research and completion of the dissertation. In addition to the Graduate School requirements, the graduate programs in Political Science have the following requirements.

5th Year Master of Arts

Up to six credits of approved graduate coursework included on the student’s undergraduate plan of study can also be used toward both the B.A. and M.A. Plans of Study.

Required Courses: All 5th year students must take the three required courses in our Ph.D. Methods Sequence: POLS 5600, 5605, and 5615. In addition, students are required to take at least two courses in one of the five POLS subfields (American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Theory, and Public Law). If a student is focusing on one of the three subfields in which a professional seminar is offered (POLS 5200, 5300, and 5100), the student is strongly recommended to take it. In addition, all students must take POLS 5010 and 5000 for three credits each. The latter need not be done with the student’s major advisor. Finally, in addition to these seven courses, students must take one other course of their choosing that is approved by their major advisor.

Research Presentation: All 5th Year Master’s students must present the research conducted in POLS 5000: Independent Study in Political Science at the 5th Year Student Spring Research Conference at the end of the student’s fifth year.

Doctor of Philosophy

All students are required to take and pass examinations in two of the five subfields (American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Theory, and Public Law). The Ph.D. in Political Science does not have a related area or foreign language requirement. The course requirements are listed below.

American Politics: POLS 5406, 5407, 5408, and 5409.

Comparative Politics: POLS 5200; and at least four additional graduate-level courses in Comparative Politics.

International Relations: POLS 5300; and four other graduate-level International Relations courses.

Political Theory: POLS 5100; and at least four graduate courses in political theory.

Public Law: POLS 5505, 5510, and 5515; and either POLS 5010 or 5010.

Additional Doctor of Philosophy Requirements. In addition, all Ph.D. students must successfully complete POLS 5600, 5605, 5615; and one advanced methods elective approved by their major advisor. Finally, all POLS Ph.D. students must enroll in GRAD 6950-003 in their first, second, third, and fourth semesters. Students must earn an average grade of “B” in their coursework.

Qualifying Examinations. Students must take and pass examinations in two subfields, one of which is also their dissertation subfield.

Dissertation Prospectus. The prospectus will be developed in conjunction with and approved by the student’s dissertation committee, which must include at least three members of the Political Science graduate faculty. Students must defend their prospectus orally to their dissertation committee. The Graduate School requires that a total of five people must approve the prospectus document, signing off on its acceptability. These five people should be a combination of committee members and/or external reviewers. Students are expected to defend the prospectus within six months of passing their Ph.D. examinations. Students who fail to do this will be notified by the Director Graduate Studies, alerting them that they are in violation of this policy while the Department Head will notify their major advisor. Reason(s) for the student’s non-adherence to the timeline will be identified for the purpose of legitimizing the delay and/or devising and implementing measures to expedite progress. Two-month extensions may be granted in the event that reasonable progress is being made towards completion of the prospectus. If a student does not complete the prospectus in a timely manner, their standing in the program will have to be considered, which may entail losing their funding in the department’s graduate program.

Dissertation. When the major advisor and student agree that the dissertation is complete, the major advisor will organize a public defense. The full dissertation committee and any external readers must be present.

The programs are offered by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.