Ph.D. Overview and Requirements

The Ph.D. degree is awarded to students who successfully complete the required course work, pass the qualifying examinations, and write and successfully defend a dissertation. Students must complete 42 hours of course work and register for an additional 30 hours of dissertation credit to meet the Ph.D. requirements. A 3.0 or higher average for this course work is required. Students may petition to transfer up to 21 hours from another institution. All students should fill out a Program of Study prior to taking qualifying exams. Students working toward the Ph.D. will be eligible for the award of M.A. once they have completed the requirements for the M.A.

Additional information about the requirements for the Ph.D. is available in the Syracuse University Course Catalog.

Financial Aid for Admitted Ph.D. Students

All admitted Ph.D. students are funded with fellowships, research assistantships, or teaching assistantships. These positions carry 24 hours of remitted tuition plus a stipend for the academic year. Admitted students typically receive stipends for their first couple of summers in the program as well. For full consideration and funding opportunities, your application must be submitted by the annual deadline as indicated on the Application Information page.

Students pursuing the Ph.D. must declare either a major field and a minor field or two major fields. For the first major field, the available options are American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Theory. For students pursuing a second major field, the options are American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Theory, and Public Administration & Policy. For a minor field, the available options are American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Theory, Public Policy, Security Studies, and Law & Courts. 

Additional information about the requirements for the Ph.D. is available in the Syracuse University Course Catalog.

The Future Professoriate Project

Funded by the Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) and the Pew Charitable Trusts, this project prepares graduate students for membership in the professoriate and, in particular, provides training and experience in teaching. The project is administered and supported by the Graduate School of Syracuse University, though each of the over 30 participating departments and schools have developed their own plans of action. Elements that are shared in common among all the units include the Teaching Associate appointment (an independent, mentored teaching experience), the development of a teaching portfolio, and the Certificate in University Teaching. Our department encourages all graduate students who hold teaching assistantships and are planning on a career in college or university teaching to participate. Each spring, graduate students apply for appointments as Teaching Associates. As one of their first instructional experiences, they plan the fall orientation for new incoming graduate students.

The Teaching Associates organize two to four Professional Development Seminars each year. These sessions involve presentations by faculty, graduate students and/or outside speakers, focusing on issues such as constructing a curriculum vitae, preparing a syllabus, and dealing with diversity in the classroom.