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Maxwell School
Maxwell / Department of Political Science

Graduate Study

Ph.D. Degree

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 51 hours of course work and register for an additional 21 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 24 hours from another institution. 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. 

All Ph.D. students are required to take PSC 691 (Logic of Political Inquiry); PSC 693 (Introduction to Quantitative Political Analysis); PSC 694 (Qualitative Political Analysis); PSC 792 (Research Design in Political Analysis); and at least one additional methods course approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. For most students, we recommend that the latter requirement be met by taking PSC 794 (Advanced Quantitative Political Analysis), but we regularly offer several additional courses that can fill this requirement as well: PSC 796 (Formal Theories of Choice), PSC 700 (Surveys and Experiments), and PSC 700 (Advanced Qualitative Political Analysis). With the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), this requirement can also be met by courses from other departments on campus, including ECN 621/622 (Econometrics I and II), HST 801 (Historiography), PAI 804 (Quantitative Methods II), PAI 811 (Quantitative Methods III), SOC 714 (Intermediate Social Statistics), SOC 813 (Advanced Social Statistics), SOC 812 (Advanced Seminar in Qualitative Research II), and WGS 710 (Feminist Inquiries). Beyond the required number, many students will find it valuable or even necessary to take additional methods courses. These decisions should be made based on students' individual research agendas, in consultation with their advisors and the Director of Graduate Studies.

In addition, 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. 

Admission and Financial Aid 
Prospective Applicants: Click here for an on-line application to the Ph.D. program.

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, please submit your application by January 15th. 

If you have any questions about admissions or financial aid, please contact Candy Brooks at 315.443.2238 or

The Future Professoriate Project 
This project, first developed in 1992, aims to better prepare graduate students for their roles as members of the professoriate, and in particular to provide systematic training and experience in teaching. In our department, this project has included a series of professional development seminars; a hierarchy of teaching experiences culminating in an independent teaching experience under the guidance of a faculty mentor, and the opportunity to develop a teaching portfolio. Our students enter the job market with a high level of confidence and experience in both teaching and research.

Ph.D. Placement 
Many of our Ph.D. students are interested in pursuing academic careers at U.S. research universities, and one recent study ranked our program 29th nationally on the basis of such placements. Other students are interested in pursuing academic careers at undergraduate liberal arts colleges, where our recent placements have included Bucknell University, City College of New York, Providence College, and Wesleyan University. Still others are interested in pursuing academic careers at foreign universities, where recent placements have included Carleton University (Canada), Radboud University (the Netherlands), O.P. Jindal Global University (India), and National Chung Cheng University (Taiwan). And in perhaps the most distinctive feature of our placement record, we have long been successful in placing Ph.D. graduates in outstanding government and policy-sector jobs, recently including the Congressional Research Service, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, NASA, the State Department, the Baker Institute for Public Policy, and the RAND Corporation. A full list of recent placements is available here.

Joint Degree Programs
For information on joint degree programs, click here.

Recent Political Science Dissertations

Hanneke Derksen, "Does One Size Fit All? The Relationship Between a Country’s Political Context and its Rulers."  Margaret Hermann, Advisor (2015)

Michael Beckstrand, "Recommendations, Rhetoric, and Reporting: State and NGO Behavior in the Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights." Hans Peter Schmitz, Advisor (2015)

Paloma Raggo, “Leaders’ Accounts: A Study on Transnational NGOs Leadership Views on Accountability” Margaret Hermann, Advisor (2014)

Jihoon Yu, “Enduring Territorial Dispute between the two Koreas in the West Sea of the Korean Peninsula” Stuart Thorson, Advisor (2014)

Doreen Allerkamp, “The Presidency Effect”, Margaret Hermann, Advisor (2014)

Bertha Amisi, “People are Suffering” – Noncombatant Mobilization for Peace in Africa, Gavan Duffy, Advisor (2014)

Keneshia Nicole Grant, “Realignment and Relocation: How the Great Migration Changed the Face of the Democratic Party”, Kristi Andersen, Advisor (2014)

Mark Hibben, “Drivers of Change: Explaining IMF Low Income Country Reform in the Post Washington Consensus”, Mark Rupert, Advisor (2014)

Michael Makara, “Domestic Instability and Legislative Development: Understanding the Sources of Parliamentary Weakness in Jordan”, Miriam Fendius Elman (2014)

Ioana Matesan, “The Dynamics of Violent Escalation and De-escalation: Explaining Change in Islamist Strategies in Egypt and in Indonesia”, Miriam Fendius Elman (2014)

Sibel Oktay, “Unpacking Coalitions: Explaining International Commitment in European Governments”, Margaret Hermann, Advisor (2014) 

Chan Woong Shin, “America’s New Internationalists? Evangelical Transnational Activism and U.S. Foreign Policy”, Hans Peter Schmitz, Advisor (2014)

Deepa Prakash, “Carrots, Sticks and Stones: The Politics of Naming in Counter-Terrorism”, Audie Klotz, Advisor (2013)

Ryan O Williams, “Experiencing Citizenship in a Globalizing World: The Impact of Off-Campus Programs”, Margaret Hermann, Advisor (2013)

Petra Hejnova, "Message from the State: Uncovering Effects of Public Policy on Women's Movements in Chile and the Czech Republic", Kristi Andersen, Advisor (2012)

Jooyoun Lee, "Victim, Aggressor, and Leader: Hierarchy, War Memory, and Foreign Policy of Postwar Japan", Audie Klotz, Advisor (2012)

Eric Rittinger, "The Risks of Outsourcing Security: Foreign Security Forces in United States National Security Policy", Audie Klotz, Advisor (2012) 

Richard Price, "Lawyers Need Law: A Study of Constitutional Arguments Made to State Supreme Courts", Thomas Keck, Advisor (2012) 

Azamat Sakiev, “The Effect of Presidential Leadership Styles on Development of District Degrees of Authoritarianism in Post-Soviet Central Asia”, Margaret Hermann, Advisor (2011)

Hannah L Allerdice, “The Effects of Settlement Policy on Refugee Political Activism: Sudanese Refugees in Australia and the US”, Kristi Andersen, Advisor (2011)

Matthew Paul Guardino, “Taxes, Welfare and Democratic Discourse: Mainstream Media and the Rise of the American New Right”, Danny Hayes, Advisor (2011)

Kilic Bugra Kanat, "Leadership Style And Diversionary Theory Of Foreign Policy: The Use Of Diversionary Strategies By Middle Eastern Leaders During And In The Immediate Aftermath Of The Gulf War", Margaret Hermann, Advisor (2011)

Vladislav N Kravtsov, “Russian and South African HIV/AIDS Policies in Comparative Perspective”, Audie Klotz, Advisor (2011)

Heather Anne Pincock, “Does Deliberation Make Better Citizens? Examining the Case of Community Conflict Mediation”, Keith Bybee, Advisor (2011)

George E Mitchell, “Transnational Nongovernmental Organizations: A US Perspective”, Hans Peter Schmitz, Advisor (2011)

Haley Swedlund, "From Donorship to Ownership? Evolving Donor-Government Relationships in Rwanda", Hans Peter Schmitz, Advisor (2011)

Angela Narasimhan, “A More Global Court: Judicial Transnationalism and the U.S. Supreme Court”, Keith Bybee, Advisor (2011)