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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Doctoral Degree Program

Basic Requirements

A doctoral degree candidate must fulfill the following general requirements: (1) complete two foundation courses in political science and more specialized coursework in two fields of study; (2) demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language or competence in research methods; (3) pass written preliminary examinations in two separate examination fields; (4) complete a total 16 organized courses before advancing to candidacy (beginning with students who entered in Fall 2011); (5) prepare and orally defend a dissertation proposal; and (6) write an original dissertation and successfully defend it in oral examination.

Fields and Coursework

The Department seeks to train political scientists with a broad competence in the discipline as well as expertise in particular fields. All students are required to complete basic literacy courses in political theory and statistics. Specifically, students are required to take for a grade: Studies in Political Theory and Philosophy (GOV 382K) or Introduction to Formal Political Analysis (GOV 385N) AND Statistical Analysis in Political Science I (GOV 391J). These courses are offered annually (or every third semester) and students should complete them by the end of their second year in the program.

The Department offers specialized instruction in eight fields: American Political Institutions and Processes, Comparative Politics, Formal Theory, International Relations, Methodology, Political Theory, Public Law, and Public Policy. In designing a "Program of Work", students are required to designate two of these fields as preliminary examination fields. Students may choose either Formal Theory or Methodology as one of their exam fields, but they may not choose both. Students are further required to take and pass at least four courses, including the core course, in each of their two exam fields. In general, a course may not be double-counted as fulfilling a requirement in both fields. Exceptions must be approved by the Graduate Adviser in consultation with the relevant field chairs. Students are strongly encouraged to complete all required coursework in their two fields prior to taking their preliminary examinations. Beyond that, specific course requirements vary by field. Students should consult Field Descriptions for a discussion of specific course requirements by field.

Certification in the two exam fields is achieved through coursework and written examinations (one in each field), followed by an oral examination of the dissertation proposal. Students must maintain at least a B average in both fields.

Conference courses are available for students to study individually with a specific faculty member. Courses are offered for either three (GOV 397K) or six (GOV 697K) credits. A program of study and the means of evaluation and grading need to be agreed upon by the student and faculty member. Small groups of students (from two to four) may also initiate a conference course with one of the Department's faculty members. First-year students are not allowed to register for conference courses.

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