Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What research funding opportunities are available?  When will they be available?

Summer research grants – The department offers small research grants (typically $1,500-$2,000) to cover summer expenses.  Application information will be e-mailed to all PhD students in March, with applications due in early April.  Applications are competitive.  We do not guarantee funding for all applicants. c

Fourth Year Research Funding – The department offers one competitive fellowship for fourth year studies without a GA commitment.  Application information will be e-mailed to all PhD students in March, with applications due in early April.

In addition to these internal options, students have often been funded on research grants, both during the academic year and the summer.  You should check with your advisor(s) to see if any opportunities are available.  Finally, in recent years, some students have successfully obtained external fellowships.   

Q. What teaching opportunities are available? 

Summer TAs – Teaching Assistants are needed annually for PAI 753 Executive Leadership (offered in June), PAI 734 Public Budgeting (offered in July), and PAI 755 Public Administration and Democracy (offered in August). Application information will be e-mailed to all PhD students in February.  

Maxwell Course TA information – P.A. students are also invited to apply for teaching assistantships for MAX undergraduate courses.  Application information will be e-mailed to you as it is made available to the department.  

Q.  When are comprehensive examinations held?  

First year comprehensive exams – While the exact dates vary each year, first year comprehensive exams are scheduled during the end of May and early June.  First year students should plan to be available during this time for the exams.  While exam rules are at the discretion of the faculty members giving the exam, each exam (Org Theory, PA History, and Research Methods) is usually a 24-hour take-home exam.  An information session for first-year students is held each April.  

Field comprehensive exams – Field comprehensive exams are given in early September of the third year of the program.  A tentative schedule will be sent to all second year students in May.

For both comprehensive exams, please remember that all required coursework must be complete before you take the exam.   This means that all incompletes must be finished prior to the exam date. 

Q.  What is the Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research?

 Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research Each summer, the Maxwell School co-hosts the Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research (IQMR) with the Consortium on Qualitative Research Methods (CQRM).  While participation in the institute costs money, the department is able to fund some students to attend each summer.  Application information will be e-mailed to students in November. Because participants work on their own research designs during the institute, these openings are only available to students in their second year or later.

Q. When do I enroll in the PhD seminar? 

Students formally enroll in the seminar once during their second year.  They can choose either the Fall or Spring semester, depending on what other courses they want to take.  Typically, we do not submit a grade for students who enroll in the Fall, as they need to present and complete a paper for the seminar.

Q. What is the Degree in Progress (GRD 998)? 

Once you complete coursework, students must register for this each year they are here to keep their current student status active.  It has 0 credit hours, and there is no cost.  Students will also need to certify full-time status (see below).

Q. What is the Certification of Full Time Status?

This is very important.  Students must register for full time status in any semester (except summer) in which they have less than nine credit hours.  This is important for both international students and for any U.S. students who have loans being deferred because of their student status.  

Q. When do I register for dissertation credits?

Students need nine dissertation credit hours.  While there are no requirements for when these must be taken, enrolling for these credit hours during the first and second summer ensures that these credits are completed while covered by a fellowship.  

Q. Is there anything I should do if I want to take courses in economics?

For advanced economics courses, such as econometrics, it is a good idea to first take the econ department’s math boot camp that they offer during the summer.  

Q. What courses have been used to satisfy the research methods elective requirement?

Below is a list of courses that recent students have used to fulfill the research methods elective requirement:

SOC 614: Qualitative Methods
PSC 694: Qualitative Political Analysis
SOC 800: Mixed Methods
PAI 811: Quantitative Methods III
SOC 813: Advanced Social Statistics

Other important links:

Office of Career and Alumni Services

Academic Calendar