Research Support

Below we describe various resources and facilities available for graduate research, an endeavor we strongly support in Political Science, both in and outside of graduate classes. In addition to the information below, please consult the Graduate School website for a more general overview of many of the topics covered below.

Quantitative Initiative for Policy and Social Research (QIPSR)

QIPSR organizes 4 types of events to enhance quantitative research training for graduate students and faculty at the University of Kentucky:  (1) research and statistical workshops, (2) grant workshops, (3) an annual conference, and (4) practical software workshops including a Software Festival introducing programs such as STATA, SAS, SPSS and others. Be sure to explore the Learning Materials that are posted from past events—videos, papers, and PowerPoints of the presenters. Reecent sdoftware festival workshops include: STATA, R, SPSS, SAS, QGIS (a geographic information system (GIS) application) , Mplus (used mostly to estimate models containing latent variables), UCINET (a network analysis program built by UK's Steve Borgatti), Beamer (a LaTeX class) and LaTeX. 

Applied Statistics Laboratory

Advice on most statistical questions can be handled in the Department, but for many out of the ordinary problems, the Applied Statistics Lab (ASL) is a free service run by the staff in the Department of Statistics. ASL staff also offer software feestival workshops in R and SAS.  

Computing Facilities

The Department and the University provide excellent computing facilities. The Department has a micro-computing lab of several PC’s connected to a network that is used by graduate students for word processing, statistical analysis and access to the Internet. In addition, the Computing Center at the University of Kentucky provides computing facilities for the faculty and students through a UNIX mainframe computer. Students can find low-cost or free access to just about any software package used in the social sciences.  

Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research

The University of Kentucky is a member institution of the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research. As a member institution any faculty member or student may request data from the data archives located at the Consortium headquarters at the University of Michigan. The data available include most major election studies conducted by the Survey Research Center at Michigan, the General Social Survey, U.S. Census data, legislative roll call data (need to include international data sets here). Individuals are also encouraged to search for data for associated studies at the Harvard Dataverse website. 

UK Libraries

The University of Kentucky Libraries contain over 2.6 million volumes, over 5.7 microfilm units, over 26,000 periodicals and serials, and over 23,000 maps. The social sciences, humanities, and life sciences collections at UK are housed at the William T. Young Library, a state-of-the-art facility that opened in 1998. Young Library has seating for 4000 patrons and hundreds of computers are available for use. Study carrels are available for graduate students working on their dissertations. Special collections of interest to students of political science include papers of Chief Justice Fred. M. Vinson, Alben W. Barkley, and Thruston B. Morton. The library has an extensive collection of newspapers and public documents, and access to all major social science information retrieval systems. UK has been a depository for federal government publications since 1907.

Through the library's website, students have access to an unlimited number of online journal publications.  

Graduate Financial Aid Awards

Graduate student stipends are highly competitive and include full tuition and health care. The duties of Teaching Assistants (TAs) may include full classroom responsibilities, instructional assistance in a laboratory or discussion session, or other related activities. Research Assistants (RAs) receive valuable hands-on experience in areas such as data collection, survey design, and database management. Assistantships require that recipients perform service duties (e.g., assisting a faculty member with teaching, conducting discussion sections, or teaching an entire undergraduate course) for an average of eighteen hours per week.

Students who continue to do well in the program normally receive four years of funding, if they entered with a BA degree and three years of funding if they entered with a Masters Degree. Funding covers the academic year from August through May. Students submit a new application for financial assistance each year.

In some circumstances, a student may receive funding beyond the fourth year. These exceptional appointments are made based upon the following criteria that are ranked in order of importance: 1) the teaching and other program needs of the Department, 2) faculty and student evaluation of the student’s prior instructional performance, and 3) evidence that the student is making very strong progress towards completing the dissertation. This could include completed chapters of the dissertation, data collection and/or analysis, or other evidence that the dissertation will be finished in a timely manner.

Other forms of financial aid, such as grants to support dissertation research travel, and so forth, are available to students who have been enrolled in the program for at least a year. From time to time graduate students will be offered research assistantships from faculty in the Department or other academic units at the University.

Please see Graduate Admissions for a description of the application process.

Housing

The University provides excellent, convenient, and relatively inexpensive residence-hall rooms and apartments. There are several on-campus apartment complexes available to both married and unmarried male and female graduate students, twelve months of the year. Off campus there is a large number of privately owned apartments and houses for rent.

Further information is available from the Apartment Housing Office, 700 Woodland Avenue, Lexington, KY 40508-3400, tel. (859) 257-3721. Additional information is available at their web site

Political Science Graduate Student Association

The Political Science Graduate Student Advisory Committee (PSGSA) is an organization encompassing all graduate students in political science for exchanging views on matters of mutual interest and formulating positions on departmental policy. GSAC representatives participate in many areas of departmental decision-making. Two students are active, voting members in departmental meetings. One representative serves on the Graduate Program Committee. Additionally, individual students frequently serve on faculty search committees. 

 

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