Graduate Department of
College of Social Sciences and Public Policy
Chair: Brad Gomez; LeRoy Collins Eminent Scholar: L. Atkeson; LeRoy Collins Professor: Barrilleaux; Syde P. Deeb Eminent Scholar & Marian D. Irish Professor: W. Berry; Professors: Coleman, Jackson, Reenock, Souva; Associate Professors: Beazer, Driscoll, Ehrlich, Grosser, Hassell, Kern, Pietryka, Rainey; Assistant Professors: Davis, Gasparyan, Haim, Matush, Ou, Whyman; Teaching Faculty: Cyphers, Kile, Nagar; Affiliated Faculty: F. Berry, Cockerham, Landau, Metcalf; Professors Emeriti: Atkins, Crew, Dye, Flanagan, Glick, Kim, Scholz, C. Weissert, W. Weissert
The Department of Political Science offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Science (MS) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees. Instruction is offered in the following fields: American politics, comparative politics, international relations, public policy, methods of political analysis, and formal theory.
Students pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Master of Science (MS) in political science are admitted to the graduate program to begin study in the Fall semester only. Decisions about admission are usually based on the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores and undergraduate and graduate work already completed, as well as letters of recommendation and the applicant's own statement of interests and goals. The department seeks a target score of 155 or higher on the Quantitative section, 160 or higher on the Verbal section, and 4.0 or higher on the Analytical Writing section of the GRE. Applicants scoring below 146 on the Quantitative section, 156 on the Verbal section, and a 3.5 on the Analytical Writing sections of the GRE will generally not be considered by the Departmental Admissions Committee, except under exceptional circumstances. The program requires that international students complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 600 (250 computer-based, 100 Internet-based).
Admission to this major requires a grade point average (GPA) of better than "B" (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) on the second half of undergraduate coursework and a 3.5 on graduate level work already completed. Three letters of recommendation and the applicant's personal statement are required. Occasional deviations from these standards are allowed for applicants who possess exceptional qualities that are not reflected in these criteria. Because admission is competitive, no particular GRE and GPA guarantees acceptance. All materials must reach the department by January 15th to guarantee consideration for departmental assistantship awards. All admissions application materials should be submitted to the department electronically via the University Admissions application system.
Master's students pursuing the Applied American Politics and Policy major are admitted in the Fall and Spring term. Admission to this major requires a 3.0 GPA on the second half of undergraduate work. Applicants must also take the GRE and have official scores submitted prior to being accepted into the program. Target scores for the GRE are a 149 on both the Verbal and Quantitative sections. LSAT scores of 151 or above may be accepted in lieu of GRE scores with permission of the department.
The applicant's statement of goals and interests (approximately 500 words) and resume are also required. No letters of recommendation are required for application to the applied master's degree program. In circumstances where more applications are received than there are available positions in the major program, the department may make its final admissions decisions based on standards above the minimum admissions requirements. All admissions application materials should be submitted to the department electronically via the University Admissions application system.
Most students in the doctoral program expect to pursue a career as part of a university faculty. The department provides placement services to assist students in obtaining such positions or other employment the student may desire.
With alumni in professional positions on university faculty and in various government and research agencies in over twenty states and several foreign countries, the department is well-represented in the discipline.
Departmental funding is awarded competitively, not only to provide financial assistance but also to afford outstanding students a structured experience in teaching and research. Such awards are generally granted only to those students who plan to complete their PhD in the department. The strongest applicants may be nominated for college or University funding and will be considered for departmental fellowships. Students can expect departmental funding to continue for up to five years (although it is awarded on a year-by-year basis) given timely progression and success in the academic program and satisfactory performance of assistantship duties. Graduate assistants receive a salary and a tuition waiver for Fall and Spring semesters with Summer stipends awarded separately. Fellowships are usually awarded for the full academic year.
Students are eligible for either the MS or the MA degree. The requirements for these are governed by University standards and are listed in the "Graduate Degree Requirements" chapter of this Graduate Bulletin.
Major in Political Science
The master's program is a general one, intended to develop a broad familiarity with the concepts, methods, and findings of political science. When students do not expect to go on for a PhD, they are encouraged to distribute their coursework over the various fields while focusing their major effort on those areas that fit their career plans. Hours taken outside the department should be used to develop specific professional skills. While the PhD program is considered preparation for a particular profession, the master's program is not so explicitly aimed. It is important that individual students define for themselves what knowledge and skills they expect to develop during their master's work.
A non-thesis master's program includes thirty-three semester hours of coursework, with at least twenty-seven of them on a letter-grade basis. A thesis program comprises thirty semester hours, twenty-four hours of coursework and six thesis hours, with twenty-four total hours on a letter-grade basis. Master's candidates may take up to nine hours outside the department. Up to six semester hours may be transferred from another accredited institution, in accordance with all Graduate School regulations regarding transfer of academic credit.
Students must take one core seminar in two of the department's major fields: American politics, public policy, comparative politics, and international relations. All master's candidates must take six semester hours of methodology. The department's POS 5736 and 5737 are required for those continuing on to a PhD. Those in a terminal master's program may substitute PAD 5700 and 5701 offered in the School of Public Administration and Policy, with permission from the Graduate Director.
Major in Applied American Politics and Policy
Students can also fulfill requirements for a master's degree by undertaking the applied American politics and policy curriculum, designed for students interested in training for careers in political and governmental organizations that relate to public policy and active politics. This is a thirty-six-semester hour non-thesis program, including twenty-four semester hours of coursework and a twelve semester-hour internship or practicum. Twelve of the twenty-four semester hours are in required courses; the remaining twelve semester hours are chosen from a list of approved electives. There is an option of traditional face-to-face or online modes of instruction available.
Additional details on these policies are provided in the Political Science Applied Master's Program Handbook.
The doctoral program in the Department of Political Science is a five-year program designed to provide the highest quality of professional training in the discipline of political science and a mastery of the methods of research. With the advice of the graduate director, students design their own programs of study by selecting two major fields. Up to six semester hours may be transferred from another accredited institution, in accordance with all Graduate School regulations regarding transfer of academic credit.
Coursework requirements typically add up to fifty-seven semester hours: twenty-four total semester hours in two major fields, eighteen semester hours in required methods and research courses, three hours for the research practicum, and twelve semester hours of electives, although waivers of some requirements are possible for students with equivalent prior coursework.
Once students have completed all their coursework requirements (typically in the Spring of their third year), they are eligible to take the doctoral preliminary examinations.
Students are expected to defend their dissertation prospectus in the Fall semester of their fourth year, and to make substantial progress on their dissertations during their fourth and fifth years in the program. Twenty-four semester hours of dissertation work are required. Once the dissertation is completed and accepted by the major professor, it must be defended, in person or with approval via Internet conferencing software, in an oral examination conducted by the dissertation committee. The major professor, University representative, and all committee members must be present (in person, by telephone, or via Internet conferencing software) to constitute a valid defense. The dissertation must be a significant contribution to knowledge on a topic connected with the student's major field of study. It should reveal the student's capabilities in carrying out original research and should represent a substantial scholarly effort on the part of the student that is of sufficient quality to merit publication by a recognized professional journal or press.
Additional details on these policies are provided in the Political Science Doctoral Program Handbook.
Definition of Prefixes
CPO 5091. Core Seminar in Comparative Government and Politics (3). This core seminar offers a broad survey of the comparative field to familiarize the student with the scope and variety of approaches, theories, methods, and findings associated with comparative politics, including both the classics in the field and the most recent new research directions.
CPO 5127. Seminar in Comparative Government and Politics: Great Britain (3). An investigation and analysis of the major institutions and processes of British government and politics. Comparison and contrast with the political and governmental system of the United States is emphasized.
CPO 5407. Seminar in Comparative Government and Politics: The Middle East (3). Covers the political systems of the Middle East and their social, economic, and cultural foundations.
CPO 5740. Comparative Political Economy (3). This course deals with the interaction between politics and economics (or politicians and economists) in the formulation and implementation of national economic policies. The course is theoretical and empirical in orientation.
CPO 5934r. Selected Topics (3). Varies with instructor and semester. May be repeated to a maximum of nine semester hours.
INR 5007. Seminar in International Relations: International Politics (3). A comprehensive survey of hypotheses, models, and theories relating to the analysis of international politics.
INR 5036. International Political Economy (3). Analyzes the basic issues surrounding the interaction of politics and economics in international relations, including arguments that economics determines political outcomes and vice versa, theories regarding the interaction of political policies, and economic policies.
INR 5088. International Conflict (3). Undertakes a comprehensive review of the theory and research on international conflict. A wide range of traditional theories on the causes of war are examined as are a number of topics such as deterrence theory, theories of coercive diplomacy, and the question of the utility of force in the nuclear age.
INR 5507. International Organizations (3). This course examines the formal ways in which countries and other entities attempt to cooperate in the international system. The course includes a theoretical overview of why and how countries cooperate, what organizations and institutions are, and how international law operates. Particular thematic forms of cooperation/organization are also covered, such as international trade and security organizations.
INR 5934r. Selected Topics (3). Varies with instructor and semester. May be repeated to a maximum of nine semester hours.
POS 5036r. Seminar in American Government and Public Policy: Selected Topics (3). Varies with instructor and semester. May be repeated to a maximum of nine semester hours.
POS 5045. Seminar in American Government and Public Policy: National Government (3). An introduction to the major national, governmental institutions of the United States. Focuses specifically on the presidency, the Congress, the Supreme Court, and the federal bureaucracy by approaching each major institution of national government by looking at the way in which its occupants are selected, at the way in which the institution operates internally, and at its relation with the other major institutions of national government. Serves as the basic introduction to American government for graduate students.
POS 5127. State Government and Politics (3). A comparative analysis of the organization and behavior of major political actors, institutions, and policies in the 50 states. Topics include state constitutions, federalism, political participation, political parties, interest groups, legislatures, courts, governors and administration, and analysis of various policies such as education, welfare, transportation, environmental protection, and civil rights.
POS 5208r. Selected Topics in Political Behavior (3). Varies with instructor and semester. May be repeated to a maximum of nine semester hours.
POS 5227. The Executive (3). This course examines the political powers and exercise of power by chief executives in American government, with particular attention paid to the President and his relations with other branches of government, and state executives.
POS 5237. Seminar in American Government and Public Policy: Public Opinion (3). An introduction to public opinion theory and methodology, with special attention paid to public opinion on policy issues and the role of public opinion in the policy-making process. Practical experience in survey research is provided through the design and execution of a class opinion survey on some policy issue.
POS 5277. Electoral Politics (3). A survey of the research literature on political participation, voting behavior, and the impact of elections on government and policy. Primary emphasis is on recent American politics, but comparative and historical dimensions of electoral politics are explored as well.
POS 5427. Legislative Politics (3). The behavior of legislators and the influences that shape that behavior in the legislative process.
POS 5698r. Selected Topics (3). Varies with instructor and semester. May be repeated to a maximum of nine semester hours.
Methods of Political Analysis
POS 5723r. Game Theory (3). The purpose of this seminar is to survey game theory with a specific emphasis on utilizing those mathematical models to understand political phenomena. Thus, there will be a dual focus on tools and exemplary applications. May be repeated to a maximum of six semester hours.
POS 5727r. Advanced Game Theory (3). Prerequisite: POS 5723 or instructor permission. This course addresses various models of games, including incomplete information, signaling games, bargaining models, repeated games, cheap talk models, evolutionary game theory, and behavioral/experimental game theory. This course assumes some knowledge of calculus and probability and distribution theories. May be repeated to a maximum of six semester hours.
POS 5736r. Research Design (3). Acquaints students with the basic processes involved in the conduct of research. Students are expected to apply these processes in the examination of a research problem of their own design. May be repeated to a maximum of six semester hours.
POS 5737r. Political Science Data Analysis (3). Prerequisite: POS 5736 or instructor permission. Introduction to quantitative data analysis in political science research. Topics include measurement (reliability and validity), univariate and bivariate descriptive statistics, principles of statistical inference, and computing skills. May be repeated to a maximum of six semester hours.
POS 5744. Fundamentals of Political Research (3). This course introduces and/or reviews the mathematical tools underlying most work in quantitative political science, including both statistical and formal modeling techniques. Topics include calculus, probability, linear algebra, and optimization theory.
POS 5746r. Quantitative Analysis in Political Science (3). Prerequisite: POS 5737 or instructor permission. This course introduces students to the theory and practice of likelihood inference for statistical models, as applied to social science data. Models covered in this course include those designed for binary, nominal, ordinal, count and continuous outcome variables. Topics of discussion include likelihood theory, computational issues, estimation and statistical inference, model diagnostics and robustness check, and the interpretation and effective presentation of results. May be repeated to a maximum of six semester hours.
POS 5747r. Advanced Quantitative Analysis in Political Science (3). Prerequisite: POS 5746 or instructor permission. This course introduces PhD students to the theory and practice of likelihood inference for statistical models, as applied to social science data. Models covered in this course include those designed for binary, nominal, ordinal, count, and continuous outcome variables. Topics include likelihood theory, computational issues, estimation and statistical inference, model diagnostics and robustness checks, and the interpretation and effective presentation of results, as well as bootstrapping and multiple imputation.
PUP 5005. Public Policy: Institutions and Processes (3). Survey of theoretical and empirical literature on institutional processes of policy making, from agenda-setting through implementation.
PUP 5006. Policy Implementation and Evaluation (3). Prerequisite: PUP 5005. Discusses the place of implementation in the policy process, the tools and methods available and the difficulties in terms of measuring the effectiveness of public policies and their effect on the political system and the distribution of power in society.
PUP 5007. Models of Public Policy-making (3). An introduction to research on the process of policy-making with an emphasis on the various models used to study public policy.
PUP 5015. Comparative Public Policy (3). This course provides an understanding of the political, economic, and social contexts of policy-making across nations. The course considers relevant theoretical and methodological approaches to cross-national policy research.
PUP 5045. Applied Policy Analysis (3). This course introduces public policy analysis to master's students. Students who successfully complete the course demonstrate that they understand the nature of different policy problems, the tools available to address public policy problems, how to read and produce policy analysis memos, the strength of different types of scientific evidence from which policy decisions are based. The overarching goal is to think about and discuss public policy objectively and analytically, focusing on evaluating the quality of information and assessing our beliefs about the state of reality in light of the quality of evidence available.
PUP 5605. Health Services Organization and Policy (3). This course examines the development of health policy and its practice in American health organizations. Topics include costs, prices, and expenditures, insurance, programs (Medicare, SCHIP, and long-term care), and reforms in the American system.
PUP 5607. Politics of Health Policy (3). Prerequisite: PUP 5605 with a grade of B or higher. This course examines the processes and institutions that make health policy in the United States. Policy analysis is emphasized, with a focus on the current health policy agenda, solution options, and their politics and prospects.
PUP 5932r. Selected Topics (3). Topics vary. May be repeated to a maximum of nine semester hours.
POS 5909r. Directed Individual Study (1–3). May be repeated to a maximum of nine semester hours.
POS 5915. Political Science Research Practicum (3). Prerequisite: POS 5746 or instructor permission. This course gives students experience in conducting political science research. Students will individually design and implement a research project under the supervision of a faculty advisor.
POS 5946r. Teaching Political Science at the College Level (3). Prerequisite: Departmental funding or instructor permission. Provides instruction in teaching responsibilities and techniques, and the special problems and challenges in teaching mainly undergraduate political science courses. Required of all funded graduate assistants and open to other interested graduate students. May be repeated to a maximum of six semester hours.
POS 5971r. Thesis (1–6). (S/U grade only). A minimum of six semester hours of credit is required.
POS 6930r. Profession of Political Science (0–6). (S/U grade only). Students participate in research colloquia and roundtable discussions about the profession of political science presented by faculty, doctoral students, and visiting scholars. May be repeated without limitations.
POS 6960r. Preliminary Examination Preparation (1–12). (S/U grade only). All graduate course requirements must be satisfied before enrolling. May be repeated to a maximum of twelve semester hours.
POS 6980r. Dissertation (1–12). (S/U grade only).
POS 8964r. Preliminary Doctoral Examination (0). (P/F grade only.)
POS 8976r. Master's Thesis Defense (0). (P/F grade only.)
POS 8985r. Dissertation Defense (0). (P/F grade only.)
Applied American Politics and Policy
POS 5096. Political Fund-raising (3). This course examines financial rules and laws, organization of fund-raising, event planning, direct marketing, and other topics. The purpose is to provide students with knowledge and skills that will enable them to successfully direct fund-raising efforts.
POS 5203. Fundamentals of Political Management (3). This course is designed to provide basic knowledge about and a common framework for understanding contemporary American politics. Topics include the political system, political industries and underlying political beliefs.
POS 5274. The Campaign Process (3). A theoretical and practical approach to campaign planning and administration for persons seeking relevant active political careers or academic specializations.
POS 5276. Political Communication and Message Development (3). This course introduces students to the specialized forms of communication used by political professionals. Students learn how to produce strategically sound and rhetorically powerful messages for electoral campaigns, policy campaigns, and crisis situations, as well as how to evaluate the message of others.
POS 5335. Political Research (3). This course is designed to prepare students to use research techniques and strategies. Students learn how to understand political situations and how to exploit these situations to the client's advantage. Topics include data resources and collection, statistical analysis and utilization, opposition research, and campaign strategy.
POS 5465. Lobbying (3). This course concentrates on the fundamentals of lobbying, including strategy and tactics. Students learn how to lobby the executive branch and the legislature, state and local governments and foreign governments. The course concentrates on lobbying the budget process, lobbying strategies, and the management of government affairs in corporations and trade associations.
POS 5945r. Professional Practicum/Internship (3–12). This course is designed to provide a structured opportunity for students to gain practical experience in the field of political management. Students spend 300 hours in an activity appropriate for the profession of political management and produce a descriptive and analytical product paper. May be repeated to a maximum of twelve semester hours; majors are required to complete successfully the maximum.