The Department of Political Science offers specialized training in six fields. A student must declare a major field and a minor field.

A.  American Political Institutions (including Judicial Process and Politics)
B.  American Political Behavior
C.  Comparative Politics
D.  International Relations
E.  Public Policy
F.  Methodology (minor only)

Methods may only be declared as a minor field.  Students wishing to study Judicial Process and Politics as their major focus will declare American Political Institutions as their major field.

* Courses at the 500 level cover a range of topics and typically involve a standard classroom format and are open to undergraduate enrollment. Graduate students may take a limited number of 500 level courses to count toward their degree requirements .
* Pro-Seminars (600 level) designed to give students an overview of a major field of study, and therefore familiarize students with conceptual and theoretical approaches, substantive information, and research techniques relevant to the particular field of study. These seminars remain in regular rotation within the curriculum.

*  Research Seminars (700 level) involve intensive probing of a particular subfield or topic, often combined with student engagement in research projects. Their availability fluctuates according to the specializations of faculty and the interests of graduate students enrolled in the program.

* Note: Students who passed their qualifying examination prior to the end of the second summer session 2005, but who have not yet defended the dissertation, are required to remain continuously enrolled in 749, or 769 (0 credit hour) each semester until the dissertation is completed. Students who passed the qualifying examination and first enrolled in a doctoral program in the fall 2005 semester and beyond are required to enroll in PS 767 (2 credit hours).  Students will be charged the in-state tuition rate plus mandatory fees. Students will remain continuously enrolled in this course until they have completed and defended the dissertation. This will constitute full-time enrollment. Students must demonstrate progress on their dissertation in each semester they are enrolled in PS749, PS769, or PS767 in order to remain in good standing in the program.

Please click here for a copy of the Graduate School Bulletin Information. 

 The curriculum is organized into three broad areas:

(1) American Politics, Political Behavior, and Judicial Politics (faculty specialists include Gross; Peffley; Riggle; Voss; Waterman; Wedeking).

Two pro-seminars ("American Political Institutions" and "American Political Behavior"); other seminars include Executive Politics, Judicial Process, Constitutional Interpretation, Legislative Behavior, Political Parties and Elections, Political Communication and Mass Media, Voting Behavior and Political Psychology.

This area allows students to specialize in the study of  American Institutions, including the study of legislatures, the executive, parties, and subnational government; Political Behavior, focusing on public opinion and ideology, voting behavior, the mass media and political psychology; and Judicial Process and Politics, with an emphasis on the study of the law and courts, judicial process and constitutional interpretation.

(2) International Relations and Comparative Politics (faculty specialists include Professors Bartilow; Beaulieu; Mingst; Morey; Thyne; Barnes; Cordova).

Two pro-seminars ("Comparative Politics" and "International Relations") illuminating the global and comparative dimensions of transnational politics; other seminars in Comparative Foreign Policy, Transnational Security and Conflict Analysis, International Political Economy, Regional Politics, Transnational Organizations and Processes, and Comparative Political Behavior.

This area allows graduate students to accent the comparative or international political dimensions of this field while developing a theoretical appreciation for the linkages of these two dimensions within an encompassing transnational framework.

(3) Policy Studies (faculty specialists include Gross, Jennings, Yanarella, Waterman).T

hree pro-seminars (Policy Studies, Public Administration and Policy, Contemporary Political Theory). Various seminars are offered that specialize in either empirical or theoretical Policy Studies. The former courses include State Politics and Public Policy, Public Administration, and courses cross-listed in the Martin School of Public Policy and Public Administration. The latter courses include Policy Studies, Contemporary Political Theory, Democratic Theory, and other courses cross-listed in the Social Theory Program.


All students are required to create an advisory committee by their third semester of enrollment.  Students must meet with their advisory committee at least once a year during their second, third, and fourth years in the program.  The chair of the committee is required to send a letter to the DGS, to be placed in the student's file, that reports on the results of each meeting.

For further information, see the DGS page here and the graduate student handbook here.

If you have any further questions, please contact DGS Clayton thyne at or 859-257-6958.

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