Doctor of Arts in Political Science

Admission Requirements

For full admission to the Doctor of Arts program, the applicant should have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 for the last two years of undergraduate study and a 3.5 GPA in all previous graduate study. The candidate must also submit to the Department of Political Science three letters of recommendation and a statement of his/her personal goals that will be weighted equally with the applicant’s GPA.
The program also employs an admission scoring system that awards D.A. applicants points based on the evaluation and scoring of three components:

  1. Upper-division undergraduate GPA or GPA in an MA program.
  2. The quality of letters of recommendation.
  3. The quality of the applicant’s goal statement.

Applicants who are slightly under official admission requirements may be admitted if they are given an overall favorable admissions score.

General Requirements

An applicant entering with a B.A. or B.S. degree must fulfill a minimum of 79 credit hours including the teaching internship and up to a maximum of six dissertation credits. No more than 18 interdisciplinary credit hours (exclusive of interdisciplinary seminars) count toward the 79 credit hour minimum requirement. Candidates have the option of completing the M.A. or M.P.A. in political science en route to the D.A.; if they choose the non-thesis M.A. or M.P.A. program, only 30 hours of course work from the M.A. or M.P.A. will apply to the Doctor of Arts program. Candidates entering the Doctor of Arts program with M.A. degrees must complete a minimum of 49 credit hours, including two full-time consecutive semesters in residence and a maximum six hours of dissertation credit. The total length and number of credit hours of a student’s program, above the minimum, is dependent upon the student’s academic preparation and his/her committee’s recommendations.

Political Science

Doctoral students are examined in three fields of political science. For all doctoral students, the major field of American politics is required.

  1. American Politics, and
  2. Any two of the following fields:
    1. Public Law
    2. Political Theory
    3. Comparative/International Politics
    4. Public Administration

Doctor of Arts students are required to take nine hours of 6600-level seminar courses (not including POLS 6694 Seminar in College Teaching) selected from the following courses: 

POLS 6611Seminar Political Theory3
POLS 6612Seminar State and Local Politics3
POLS 6613Seminar American Politics Behavior3
POLS 6614Seminar American Politics Institutions3
POLS 6615Seminar World Politics3
POLS 6616Seminar Public Administration and Public Policy3

Students may repeat these courses, even from the same professor, as long as the subject matter is different. Each course can only be repeated once. D.A. students are required to complete POLS 5519 Political Research MethodsPOLS 5519L. Doctor of Arts students are also required to take POLS 8850 Dissertation for a minimum of 3 credits.

Doctor of Arts students write a doctoral dissertation that may deal with either substantive disciplinary issues or pedagogical innovations or techniques. The D.A. student committee will consist of two political science faculty and a Graduate Faculty Representative (GFR). The student may request a professor from his/her interdisciplinary area to serve as the G.F.R.

After the successful completion of written comprehensive examinations, the D.A. student is required to present and defend a dissertation prospectus to the doctoral committee. The D.A. student may elect to have a public presentation of the dissertation prospectus (a colloquium) separate from the prospectus defense. When the candidate’s committee determines that the dissertation is ready for a defense, there will be a public presentation by the student followed by a closed and balloted defense of the dissertation with the candidate and the committee.


Students must complete a nine-credit component of pedagogy to include POLS 6694POLS 7702, and POLS 7703.

Interdisciplinary Component

Option #1

D.A. students will take 9 credits each in TWO of the following five cooperating social science departments: Anthropology, Economics, History, Psychology, and Sociology.

Option #2

D.A. students will take 18 credits in ONE of the following five cooperating social science departments: Anthropology, Economics, History, Psychology, and Sociology.

Option #3

D.A. students will take 18 credits from at least two of the five cooperating social science departments: Anthropology, Economics, History, Psychology, and Sociology, built around an interdisciplinary theme such as methodology or theory (courses and theme must be pre-approved by the chair of the student’s D.A. committee).

Interdisciplinary Classes

D.A. students must take POLS 6620 Seminar Philosophy of Social Science, and POLS 6621 Seminar Interdisciplinary Topics in Social Science.


Comprehensive written examinations are administered at the conclusion of the program of study that test the candidate’s knowledge of three fields of political science. This occurs after all course work is completed and before the dissertation prospectus is defended.