At UT, graduate students quickly become an integral part of a vibrant intellectual community. The Department is home to an eclectic and excellent faculty, with interests and methodological approaches spanning the breadth of political science. In this rich and diverse environment, new graduate students soon find a congenial group of professors and fellow students, and a wide range of resources to ease their entry into academic life.
The diverse interests of faculty and students structure the intellectual life of the department. Incoming students may find a cluster of colleagues and faculty who are interested in how institutions support both democratic and undemocratic regimes, or in the politics of Latin America, or in constitutions and courts from around the world. They may join a very strong group of students and faculty who meet regularly to discuss classic works of political theory. Others may find common ground with those who study public policy or political behavior in the US and abroad; still others will fit into our close-knit group of students of international relations. These interlocking, informal working groups hold regular meetings and workshops where students, faculty, and visiting scholars present and discuss research in progress. These interactions contribute to an environment in which both students and faculty regularly publish, often as co-authors, in the profession’s leading presses and journals.
Visiting speaker Noam Lupu speaks with faculty and students after a talk
Graduate students play a central role in our academic life. Our Public Law graduate students organized a nationwide conference that brought dozens of students from the most prestigious universities in North America; Public Policy students actively collaborate in the Policy Agendas Project; Latin Americanists present and critique each other’s research in a Faculty/Student work in progress series; our international relations students are folded into large-scale faculty research projects; and the Comparative Politics colloquium engages faculty, students and visiting scholars in close examinations of work in progress.
The intellectual pursuits of our graduate students are both stimulated and supported by a diverse array of graduate seminars, a robust schedule of guest lectures, and a vast network of supportive institutions across campus. Our relationship with the Law School is excellent and longstanding, with several overlapping faculty. Our University area studies centers cover most of the globe, from Latin America to the Middle East, from Europe to South Asia, and are at the very top of the national rankings in their respective areas. In addition, centers like the Women and Gender Studies Center or the Rapoport Center for Human Rights support research in particular subject areas. These centers not only ensure funding for graduate student research, but also a deep pool of faculty covering the entire globe and nearly any imaginable substantive interest, allowing for interdisciplinary collaboration.
In addition to these campus resources, our graduate students benefit from the faculty’s success in securing grants from top funding agencies, such as the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Google Inc. and the Department of Defense. The grants provide students opportunities not only to pursue their own research, but to be deeply involved in faculty research projects, collaborate extensively with their colleagues, help guide undergraduate research projects, and participate in the administrative and managerial aspects of executing large and long-term research agendas. Building on this experience, students regularly secure their own grants from the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, Fulbright, the Boren Foundation, the Foreign Language and Area Studies program and many other sources.
Like any academic discipline, Political Science is essentially a global, ongoing conversation about many of the key issues of our time. Over the course of their stay in our department, our students become increasingly valued and substantive participants in this intellectual conversation, ready to take their place among the ranks of faculty at the most prestigious institutions in the world.