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Robert Vega, Director FAC 18 / 2304 Whitis Ave. Stop G6200 78712-1508 • 512-471-7900

Faculty Profiles - Germanic Studies

Dr. Daron Shaw - Political Campaigns


Academic Background: Ph.D.& B.A., University of California, Los Angeles

Area of Specialization: Political Campaigns

What made you decide to go to graduate school?
The thought of learning all I could about the things that really fascinate me, and then teaching in a university setting, made getting the degree extremely attractive to me.

What makes a good grad student?
Intelligence matters, but is over-rated (sorry!). It’s a long slog, and dedication and diligence are perhaps more important than native intellect.

What are your top three tips for students interested in applying to your program?

  1. Do your homework. Make sure the program has faculty in your area who are willing and available to work with you.
  2. Come out and see us. Visit the department to get a feel for the faculty and the grad students.
  3. Work on that application! GRE scores do matter, but the entire portfolio gets a thorough vetting. You never know what might attract our (favorable) attention.

Did you participate in a research project as an undergraduate? If so, what was it? Would you recommend undergrads to participate in research?
Yes, I analyzed survey data during my undergraduate days. I would highly recommend this to undergrads (although only those who are truly interested in politics).

What is your current research focus?
My focus is on campaigns and campaign effects. I also do a lot of work on swing voters, issue voting, racial and ethnic voting, and electoral strategy.

What is the latest national or international research project/topic in your area which you are currently following?
Field experiments conducted within the setting of major statewide campaigns.

What are the top five government graduate programs in the US?
Off the top of my head, Stanford, Michigan, Princeton, Harvard, UC-Berkeley (in no particular order).

Could you please provide a snapshot description of the UT government graduate program?
The program is designed to train and develop scholars in the study of politics and governance. Students specialize in one of a number of fields—American politics, Comparative politics, International Relations, Public Law, Political Theory, or Formal Theory/Methodology—taking courses and learning how to identify interesting questions and how to design and execute appropriate analyses. Our ultimate goal is to produce students who can advance the discipline’s understanding of politics and who can compete for tenure-track positions at tier-one research universities.

What is one thing this department does particularly well that makes it better than other similar programs?
We have a core of young, active, newly-minted Ph.D.s. They bring vitality and energy to the department and to graduate education. Having several people working in your area who are at the cutting edge—writing papers, getting grants, developing innovative approaches to studying politics—is a major asset (and a real kick!).

What careers do alumni generally pursue after graduation from the program?
Tenure-track jobs at research universities.

Download Dr. Shaw's Profile

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