Graduate Courses

The department’s graduate courses are intended to provide students with a thorough exposure to important theoretical perspectives and research in each area of specialization. They generally require extensive reading and active seminar participation. The expectation of the department is that completion of the course requirements in an area, plus attention to additional material recommended by faculty in a field, should provide adequate preparation for the qualifying examinations. Learning to pursue material independently is an important part of graduate training.

The department’s regularly offered graduate seminars are listed on the pages describing each of our fields of study: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Theory, Public Policy, Security Studies, and Law & Courts. Listed courses are offered on a regular – but not necessarily annual – basis; this is not a comprehensive list and course offerings depend on faculty and student interest and availability. Some courses are taught each year, some are taught only every 3 years. Typically, the Chair makes available a tentative two-year schedule each spring to help with course planning.

Note that some courses are listed in more than one subfield, and each student can choose which subfield a course counts but can count a course towards only one subfield. Courses in other departments, or through transfer credits, may also count toward the subfield requirement, subject to approval by the Graduate Affairs Committee. Independent studies are also available, subject to faculty and DGS approval. 

Mandatory Methods Sequence

In addition to subfield-specific courses, to understand the work of other scholars and to prepare for dissertation research, PhD students must complete the methodology sequence, which consists of at least 5 total courses.

There are 2 required core courses in political inquiry:

  • PSC 691: Logic of Political Inquiry – students take this in the fall of their first year
  • PSC 792: Research Design in Political Analysis – students take this in the fall of their 3rd year

Students must also take 2 of the following 3 courses:

  • PSC 693: Introduction to Quantitative Political Analysis
  • PSC 694: Qualitative Political Analysis
  • PSC 796: Formal Theories of Choice

In addition, students must take at least one advanced methods course from the following courses:

  • PSC 700: Surveys & Experiments
  • PSC 794: Advanced Quantitative Political Analysis
  • PSC 804: Advanced Topics in Qualitative Methods

Courses in other departments, or through transfer credits, may also count toward the methods requirement, subject to approval by the Graduate Affairs Committee. To supplement our in-house methodological training, we fund several students each summer to attend the Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research, hosted by the Consortium on Qualitative Research Methods here at Syracuse, and the ICPSR Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research, hosted by the University of Michigan.