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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.
The program's job placement record is good, notwithstanding the prevailing difficult academic jobs environment. Initial academic placements tend to be in liberal arts schools and colleges and midlevel state universities such as Colgate, Cazenovia College, Saint Lawrence University, the University of Rochester, Florida State University, and the University of Washington, and some have gone on to distinguished senior careers at elite schools such as Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, NYU and Penn. While preserving its core commitment to rigorously training students for careers in the professoriate, the program mission also includes training students who have professional interests in research and institutional leadership outside of the professoriate. Requirements are the same regardless of career interests.
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