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Maxwell School
Maxwell / Social Science PhD Program


Program Requirements

The Ph.D. in Social Science requires completion of 72 credit hours. At the discretion of the Chair, up to 30 credit hours may be transferred from the student's masters program, leaving 42 to be completed in residence, which may include up to 12 hours of dissertation research credits. Credits may be earned through seminars, independent study, and dissertation research, all of which may be chosen from the various Academic Departments at the Maxwell School, and in some cases within other colleges at the University as needed in support of the student's program of study. Coursework includes three components: seminars in social science theory, seminars in social research methodology, and specialized seminars in the student's particular areas of research interest.

A minimum of 12 credits is taken in social theory. These should include courses from disciplines that are most relevant to the student's research interests and that provide an introduction to the major dilemmas, controversies, and intellectual traditions in social science.  A minimum of 12 credits is taken in research methodology. These should include at least one seminar each in quantitative and qualitative methodology respectively. Taken together, these seminars provide the theoretical and methodological background necessary for intelligent reading of scholarly social science literature and help lay the groundwork for students' own contributions to it.

Social Science 12

During their first and second years, students select an Advisory Committee of at least three faculty members from appropriate Maxwell departments. This committee guides the student in their studies, and sets their dissertation proposal defense and qualifying examinations. Once a student enters candidacy (having defended their dissertation proposal and passed their qualifying examinations) two additional faculty readers are added to the Advisory Committee which thereby becomes the Dissertation Committee which then guides the dissertation project and conducts its defense.