political-science

The Department of Political Science offers graduate study leading to the doctor of philosophy in political science. The department admits students only for the Ph.D. program, but a master's degree may be obtained en route to the Ph.D.

The Ph.D. is earned through a combination of coursework and dissertation. The program is designed to provide students with both a general training in political science and the opportunity to specialize in their areas of interest.

The subfields of political science found in the department are American politics, comparative politics, political theory and philosophy, international relations, and political methodology. The department has a national and international reputation for the high quality of its faculty and the diversity of their approaches and interests.  It has long been recognized for an acceptance of varied approaches to the study of politics and for its collegiality. Political science shares faculty with the Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs, the Law School, and the Department of Gender and Women's Studies. The presence of programs and centers such as the African Studies Program, the Center for European Studies, the Center for Jewish Studies, the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia (CREECA), Integrated Liberal Studies, the International Studies major (B.A. and B.S.), Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies, and others is also beneficial to graduate students, providing opportunities for the advancement of interdisciplinary approaches in student research.

Applicants to the Political Science Ph.D. program must apply online by December 15 for admission the following fall. The online application requires you to complete the Graduate School application, Political Science supplemental application, and provide the names and email addresses of three references who can attest to your success as a graduate student.  In addition, you must also upload a statement of reasons for graduate study that is two pages in length, a resume or C.V.,  scanned official transcripts, and one research paper with an abstract.

GRE scores are required. Applicants from outside the United States may also need to submit TOEFL scores. International applicants whose first language is not English will be admitted only if they have Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) of 100 or more (Internet-based).

It is the candidate's responsibility to ensure that all materials are delivered on time.

Graduate School Admissions

Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic degree programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet requirements of both the program(s) and the Graduate School. Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.  

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and processes related to funding.

Program Resources

The department guarantees funding for all Ph.D. students making satisfactory progress for at least their first five years. Support may be in the form of fellowships, teaching assistantships, or as an assistant for a faculty research project.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements

MODE OF INSTRUCTION

Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions

CURRICULAR REQUIREMENTS

Minimum Credit Requirement 51 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 51 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework (26 credits out of 51 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (http://my.wisc.edu/CourseGuideRedirect/BrowseByTitle).
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements No other grade requirements.
Assessments and Examinations Doctoral students must complete written exams in two subfields before the end of the sixth semester. A dissertation proposal must be defended prior to the start of the seventh semester in the program.
Language Requirements No language requirements.
Doctoral Minor/Breadth Requirements All doctoral students are required to complete a minor.

Students are expected to consult with their advisors concerning minor/breadth requirements. At the time the student requests the preliminary exam warrant, a summary should be prepared of the effort in interdisciplinary coursework and training.

All Option B minors require the approval of the student’s advisor and the associate chair.

With program approval, students may be allowed to count 9 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions toward fulfillment of the minor requirement.

Required COURSES

General Structure of the Program
POLI SCI 800 Political Science as a Discipline and Profession (Must be done in the first semester)1
POLI SCI 817 Empirical Methods of Political Inquiry3
Statistical Methodology Coursework-Graduate Level3
Meet with your advisor to discuss the faculty’s First Year Assessment of your progress in the program by the start of your third semester.
Take and pass two general prelims from the specified list (International Relations, American Politics, Comparative Politics, Political Theory, Political Methodology) in June following your fourth semester.
Present one or more possible dissertation ideas to a committee with a minimum of two faculty members no later than September 15th of the 5th semester.
POLI SCI 801 Research and Writing Seminar3
Submit a conference level research paper for review by January 15 before start of 6th semester.
Complete the minor requirement.9
Meet the minimum graduate credit requirement.32
Fulfill any requirements specified by the student’s primary subfield, such as presenting at a workshop.
Maintain minimum of B average in coursework.
Remove all Incompletes before defending the dissertation proposal.
Produce an approved dissertation proposal before the start of the seventh semester.
Write, defend and deposit a thesis of an acceptable standard that makes an original contribution to knowledge.
Total Credits51

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Graduate Program Handbook

The Graduate Program Handbook is the repository for all of the program's policies and requirements.

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students may be allowed to count 9 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions toward fulfillment of the minor requirement. While satisfying the minor requirement, these credits will not count toward meeting the minimum credit requirement. Coursework earned ten years or more prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

No credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the degree.

UW–Madison University Special

No credits from a UW–Madison University Special student career may count toward the degree.

ProbatioN

The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.

  1. Good standing (progressing according to standards; any funding guarantee remains in place).
  2. Probation (not progressing according to standards but permitted to enroll; loss of funding guarantee; specific plan with dates and deadlines in place in regard to removal of probationary status).
  3. Unsatisfactory progress (not progressing according to standards; not permitted to enroll, dismissal, leave of absence or change of advisor or program).

ADVISOR / COMMITTEE

All students are required to meet with their advisor to discuss the first year review.

CREDITS PER TERM ALLOWED

15 credits

Time Constraints

Doctoral degree students who have been absent for ten or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

A candidate for a doctoral degree who fails to take the final oral examination and deposit the dissertation within five years after passing the preliminary examination may be required to take another preliminary examination and to be admitted to candidacy a second time.

Other

The Department currently guarantees at least five years of financial support to all students admitted to the doctoral program, assuming they are making satisfactory progress toward their degrees. This funding may be in the form of fellowships, teaching assistantships, or project assistantships. All appointments receive valuable fringe benefits such as excellent health insurance and tuition remission.

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

1. Master the state of existing research in two or more subfields of political science.

2. Acquire expert knowledge of methods of political inquiry.

3. Design, conduct, and complete original research of substantive value to the field of political science that makes and original contribution to knowledge.

4. Master the communication of complex concepts to a range of audiences.

5. Demonstrate and foster ethical and professional conduct in research, teaching, and service.

Faculty: Professors Burden, Canon, Cramer, Gehlbach, Hendley, Herrera, Kydd, Marquez, Martin, Mayer, Owens, Pevehouse, Ringe, Schweber, Straus, Tripp, Weimer, Yackee, Zumbrunnen (chair); Associate Professors Avramenko, Bhavnani, Copelovitch, Kapust, Powell, Renshon, Shelef, Simmons, Weeks; Assistant Professors Lindsay, Schwarze, Tahk