Graduate Programs

Admission Requirements

Students beginning graduate work in the department should have completed an undergraduate major in political science--approximately 24 hours--with an overall "B" average. Consideration may be given to other applicants whose academic preparation in related social sciences suggests that they are capable of successfully pursuing the Master of Arts degree in Political Science. The above requirements are considered minimal for admission to the department. Fulfillment of these requirements does not assure admission.

Requirements for the Master of Arts Degree in Political Science

For the Master of Arts degree, the Department requires a minimum of 24 graduate hours of course work and a thesis. Six additional graduate hours are given upon completion of the thesis. A final oral examination, covering the thesis and courses taken by the student, is required. The courses, Blacks and the American Political System and Scope and Methods of Political Inquiry, are required of all students pursuing the Master of Arts degree in Political Science. Students pursuing a degree in political science who accumulate more than eight graduate semester hours with a grade of a C (or lower) on their post-undergraduate transcript will not be retained in the department.

Research Tool

Candidates for the Master of Arts degree must demonstrate proficiency in the use of one research tool from among the following: foreign language, statistical analysis, or computer science. Each student in consultation with the faculty will decide which research tool will best facilitate his or her program of study.

Requirements for the Doctor of Philpsophy Degree in Political Science

The prerequisites for this degree are a master's degree in political science and an overall academic average of "B" or better for work beyond the baccalaureate degree. Consideration may be given to other applicants who have earned a master's degree in one of the related social sciences. The above requirements are minimal admission criteria and their fulfillment does not guarantee admission.

Each candidate must complete a minimum of 30 graduate semester hours beyond the master's degree. Twelve additional semester hours of credit are given upon completion of the dissertation.

Research Tool

The School of Arts and Sciences requires that candidates for the Ph.D. degree demonstrate a reading knowledge in two foreign languages. The language requirement may be satisfied by passing a University examination or a noncredit course in the language(s) chosen. Candidates may, upon the recommendation of the faculty, substitute courses in statistical analysis and/or computer science for the foreign languages.

Required Courses

Before being admitted to candidacy students must pass the following courses:

  • Scope and Method of Political Inquiry
  • Blacks and the American Political System
  • Government and Politics of Modern Africa

Preliminary Examination

This examination must be passed prior to admission to candidacy. Students must take written and oral examinations in four subfields of their choice. The political science curriculum is divided into seven sub-fields:

  • U.S. Government and Politics,
  • African Politics,
  • Urban Politics,
  • International Politics,
  • Theory and Methodology,
  • Public Administration, and
  • Comparative Politics

Students are permitted two attempts to pass their preliminary examination. Failure to pass the exam will result in dismissal from the Ph.D. Program.


This is a scholarly presentation of a research problem.

Final Examination

The final examination is an oral defense of the dissertation.