Programs by Campus


Political Science

College of Arts and Sciences

Departmental E-mail: iupolsci [at] indiana [dot] edu

Departmental URL:

(Please note that when conferring University Graduate School degrees, minors, certificates, and sub-plans, The University Graduate School’s staff use those requirements contained only in The University Graduate School Bulletin.)



Degrees Offered

Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy

Special Departmental Requirements

(See also general University Graduate School requirements.)

Admission Requirements

Satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examination (verbal and quantitative sections); satisfactory previous academic record; three letters of recommendation; writing sample, and statement of purpose. Inter­national students must complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a satisfactory score. Applicants holding no academic degree higher than the bachelor’s degree may be admitted as Ph.D. students.

Master of Arts Degree

Students enrolled in our Ph.D. program may, if they choose, apply for an M.A. degree before they complete the Ph.D. This M.A. may serve either as a terminal degree or as a stepping-stone towards later completion of a Ph.D. Courses taken to satisfy requirements for the M.A. could also count towards completion of requirements for the Ph.D. program, provided that program is completed under existing time limits and the student meets the following requirements.

M.A. Advisory Committee

Students must form a committee of three or more faculty members who will be responsible for approving a master’s paper.  One of these faculty members must be designated as the M.A. advisor.

Course Requirements

A total of 30 credit hours, including Y570. At least 15 of the 30 credit hours must be graduate courses (500 level or higher). In order to qualify for the M.A. degree, each graduate student must complete five graduate seminars in political science, averaging at least a grade of B (3.0) in all seminars. For students entering with previous graduate work, the Director of Graduate Studies, in consultation with the student’s M.A. advisory committee, may allow transfer up to 8 hours graduate credit from other institutions.

Master’s Paper

This written requirement can be based on a research paper prepared in a departmental seminar.  If a new paper is written to satisfy this requirement, it may receive no more than 4 hours of credit.  The master’s paper must be approved by all members of the M.A. Advisory Committee.

Foreign Language/Research-Skill Requirement

The student must demonstrate reading proficiency in one language or proficiency in an approved research skill. 

Master of Arts for Teachers Degree

Information regarding this degree program may be obtained from the School of Education.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree

Course Requirements

A total of 90 credit hours, including dissertation. Y570 Introduction to the Study of Politics is to be taken in the first year of residence. Students should complete Approaches and Issues (A & I) seminars for two subfields during the first two years of residence. Each graduate student must complete 10 graduate seminars numbered 500 and above in political science (excluding directed reading and directed research courses), averaging at least a B+ (3.3) in all seminars, prior to nomination to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.

Students entering with previous graduate work can submit a petition to transfer credits. In accordance with university requirements, the Director of Graduate Studies and a designated departmental committee (typically the advisory committee) will evaluate supporting documentation such as syllabi to assess the substance and level of prior graduate training. If approved, transfer requests can reduce the number of required seminars.

Students are required to successfully complete a second-year research project to demonstrate and start building professional competence by producing high-quality scholarship. The second-year project should reflect the student’s main field, but students have discretion in the choice of their topics. Papers written while in other graduate programs or undergraduate theses will not satisfy the requirement.

Students should consult with advisory committee members no later than the end of their third semester to identify a piece of work that will be submitted for subsequent evaluation by the student’s progress review committee. Second-year papers will be evaluated by advisory committees in accordance with established departmental guidelines. If revisions are needed, students will have a 90-day waiting period to revise and resubmit their work for final approval. Failure to secure approval before the start of the fifth semester will result in dismissal from the PhD program.

Fields of Study

Students admitted into the Ph.D. program must identify one primary and one secondary subfield from the following list: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Methodology (available as secondary subfield only), and Political Philosophy. A primary subfield requires one A & I seminar, 4-5 substantive seminars to be approved by an advisory committee, and one qualifying examination. A secondary subfield requires one A & I seminar and three substantive seminars.


The outside minor requirement is typically satisfied by completing four courses in one or more related departments or in an interdepartmental program, embracing either substantive material or methodology. Some departments or other programs have specific requirements for a Ph.D. minor; students should check with the relevant unit for details. Students selecting an individualized minor must have the proposed set of courses approved by the advisory committee, the Director of Graduate Studies, and the graduate school.

Advisory Committee

Each student will be assigned an advisory committee, which will include two faculty members from each of the student’s primary and secondary subfields in political science and a representative of the outside minor. (Students choosing an individualized minor need not have a representative of that minor.) The chairperson of the committee serves as the student’s principal advisor.

The committee will supervise the student’s course of study during pre-candidacy. Advisory committees must approve a topic and type of work to be submitted for second-year research projects by the end of a student’s third semester.

A formal review of progress toward the degree will take place towards the end of a student’s fourth semester. Along with academic advice for coursework that prepares students for their primary subfield examination and eventual dissertation research, progress advisory committees will be required to submit a recommendation to the Political Science Graduate Office regarding a student’s ability to continue in the graduate program. This recommendation will depend upon the committee’s final evaluation of the second-year research project.

Foreign Language/Research-Skill Requirement

The student must demonstrate proficiency in any two of the following subjects: a foreign language, mathematics, logic, statistics, or computer science. With the approval of the advisory committee, the student may qualify in a single language or research skill at an advanced level, rather than in two. To qualify in a language at the advanced level, the student must satisfy the in-depth proficiency requirement. For rules regarding qualification in a research skill at the advanced level, consult the Director of Graduate Studies. The student is expected to make satisfactory progress in meeting the requirements for the degree. In particular, students must satisfy the first language or research-skill requirement during the first year of study, and the second requirement no later than the second year.

Qualifying Examination

Students must take one qualifying examination in a primary subfield after completing its required coursework. This qualifying examination is intended to evaluate the student’s substantive knowledge and analytical ability in the student’s main field of study. The written qualifying examination is administered two times a year: in the fall and spring. Students can retake the examination a second time if their first attempt is unsuccessful. Failure to get a passing grade after a second attempt will result in dismissal from the PhD program.

Research Committee

Upon completion of the qualifying examination and presentation of a satisfactory dissertation proposal, the student will be nominated to candidacy for the Ph.D. The University Graduate School, on the recommendation of the department, will appoint a research committee to supervise the dissertation.

Final Examination

Covers the field of study related to the dissertation and defense of the dissertation.

Ph.D. Minor in Political Science

Students from other departments or schools who wish to minor in Political Science should consult with the Director of Graduate Studies, who will ordinarily serve as the minor advisor. Students will be required to complete 12 credit hours of course work; these courses must be completed with a grade point average of at least 3.3. All courses must be approved for graduate credit and no more than one course should be taken below the 500 level. These requirements may be modified in particular cases by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Academic Bulletins

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