SOCIAL SCIENCE PhD PROGRAM
The Maxwell School's Social Science Program was established in 1946 as the nation's first interdisciplinary doctoral program in the social sciences. It continues to be a leading center for creative scholarship for students whose intellectual interests do not easily fit within the confines of a single discipline. With guidance from their faculty advisers, Social Science doctoral students develop their own programs of interdisciplinary study. Recent graduates and current students have chosen areas of study such as leadership in transnational NGOs, urban planning and development, international relations, national security studies, conflict resolution, economic and social development, civil society, media and culture, social network theory, democratization, immigration and refugees, labor relations, gerontology, women's studies, social and health services and policy, citizenship, environmental and energy policy, social movements, Native American studies, peace studies and globalization, among others.
The Social Science Program was founded in the conviction that a broad interdisciplinary education would often better prepare higher education faculty in the social and policy sciences than would narrower, more specialized training in one of the traditional disciplines. The founders of the program believed that answers to many questions about the nature of society and its discontents do not rest in just one discipline, but rather require the integrated contributions of them all, including political science, geography, sociology, anthropology, history, international relations, economics, and public administration. This conviction is today being even further reinforced by the growing complexity and interdependence both within and among societies in the modern world.
Institutionally, the Program serves to create a supportive and stimulating academic environment for scholarly work within which doctoral students can more readily pursue important questions across the boundaries of the traditional disciplines. In addition to conventional financial support and the considerable resources of the Maxwell School generally, students have individual work areas in well equipped bays that include a full complement of modern office equipment and furniture, a dedicated computer area with up to date equipment and extensive software support for both quantitative and qualitative research, travel support for conference presentations and so on. We are a full-time residential program; we do not offer part-time or online options. We do require the GRE or its equivalent without exception.
While preserving its core commitment to rigorously training students for careers in the professoriate, the program mission also includes educating a small number of students who have professional interests in research and institutional leadership outside of the academy. Requirements are the same regardless of career interests. Over the years, with each new phase of Maxwell School leadership, the Social Science Program taken on new dimensions, and has played a key role in developing entire new areas of inquiry and instruction within the School. In the late 1950s, Dean Harlan Cleveland used the Social Science Program to support and expand International Relations. Later, under Dean Scotty Campbell, Social Science was a vehicle to strengthen Metropolitan Studies. More recently, Social Science has worked closely with the Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration, the Center for Policy Research and the Aging Studies Institute.