Political Science

Main Content

The Department of Political Science offers graduate work leading to M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science degrees. The department endeavors to accommodate the special and general interests of students through a broad curriculum, individualized programs, and varied teaching and research assistantships. The department takes a personal interest in its students throughout their period of enrollment and assists them in finding satisfying professional employment upon graduation. Graduates now hold academic appointments in 60 American universities and colleges and more than a dozen foreign institutions of higher education. The professional interests of the faculty range across most fields of political science, and have resulted in significant scholarly publications and presentations at professional meetings.

Provisions of this publication are supplemented by policies made explicit in the regulations and procedures of the graduate studies program of the Department of Political Science and made available to all graduate students.

Application Procedures

The Department of Political Science and Graduate School applications form one combined application that should be submitted electronically. The link is available at the Graduate School website. There is a supplemental application (Part Two), specific to the Department of Political Science that must be submitted along with the main online application. Separate forms are not required for application for financial assistance, except for Graduate School fellowships. Students will be accepted for graduate work in political science only upon approval by the department as well as the Graduate School. This program requires a nonrefundable $65 application fee; applicants must pay this fee by credit card.

All applicants must submit all post-secondary education transcripts, three letters of recommendation from persons who can evaluate the applicant’s academic ability and a statement of purpose. Applicants for the M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science programs must also submit scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), verbal and quantitative tests, and an example of written work that demonstrates the applicant’s analytical and writing skills. International students must have taken the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and are expected to have a score of at least 600 (paper score) or 250 (computer score).

Applications and supporting materials for the M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science programs that are submitted by January will be given full consideration for admission and funding.   

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Political Science

Admission

Applicants for the Master of Arts (M.A.) in Political Science program are admitted only with the approval of the graduate studies committee of the department. The department imposes requirements for admission in addition to those of the Graduate School. The department will ordinarily accept as candidates for the M.A. in Political Science degree only those applicants who (1) have graduated from an accredited four year college or university; (2) have completed four or more courses in social science, humanities, or related disciplines; (3) have a 2.7 (4-point scale) overall grade point average or, alternatively, have a 2.9 overall grade point average for the last two years of undergraduate work; and (4) have a 3.0 average in government or political science.

Retention

Retention is governed by the rules of the Graduate School. Students should avoid the accumulation of incomplete grades. No student with more than two incomplete grades can be awarded a graduate assistant appointment, and a student holding a graduate assistant appointment is subject to having the appointment terminated upon acquiring two or more incomplete grades.

Course Work

The Director of Graduate Studies serves as advisor to each M.A. in Political Science student until an advisory committee has been selected by the student with the approval of the director, normally no later than the middle of the student’s first semester in residence. The advisory committee must approve the student’s program. Each candidate for the M.A. in Political Science degree must complete six credit hours for research tools and methods requirements (POLS 500A and POLS 500B), a one credit hour pre-professional requirement (POLS 593), and six credit hours of two pro-seminars. No more than nine credit hours of elective coursework may be taken at the 400 level. A maximum of nine credit hours from courses offered by other departments will count toward the M.A. in Political Science degree.

Program of Study

  • Pre-Professional Preparation - 1 credit hour
  • Research Tools and Methods - 6 credit hours
  • Pro-Seminars (2) - 6 credit hours
  • Elective Coursework - 14 credit hours
  • Research Paper - 3 credit hours

Research Paper

A M.A. in Political Science degree will be awarded upon completion of a research paper and the course and credit hour requirements. The research paper is developed from a paper produced in a seminar or through independent readings/research with a faculty member. Students will select an advisor for the Master’s Research Paper (e.g., the person who taught the course or supervised the readings/research project). Students will enroll with this faculty member for three semester hours in POLS 591, Individual Research, for the completion of the research paper. This course can be taken concurrently with or after the research seminar. The selection of the advisor requires paperwork that must be filed with the Director of Graduate Studies. The research paper will then be submitted for evaluation to another faculty member selected in concurrence with the faculty advisor for the paper. In case of disagreement over the evaluation (pass/fail) of the paper, the graduate studies committee will appoint a third reader. The research paper normally is 30 to 80 pages in length. All research papers must have an original approval form signed by the student’s committee and the department chair which must be submitted to the Graduate School. Guidelines for submission of the final research paper are found on the website.

Exceptions

An exception from these rules must be justified in a petition approved and signed by the student’s committee members, submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies and approved by the members of the graduate studies committee at a scheduled meeting.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Political Science

Admission

Applicants for the Ph.D. in Political Science must meet all applicable department and graduate school rules and admission requirements. Department regulations and procedures governing the Ph.D. in Political Science program are stated in the Political Science Department’s “Regulations and Procedures of the Graduate Studies Program.” Applicants are admitted only during the fall semester with the approval of the graduate studies committee. Successful completion of the Ph.D. in Political Science program requires that students remain in good standing with the Graduate School and make reasonable progress toward completion of the degree; form and execute the program of study established with their advisory committee; complete a total of 52 required course, elective course, and dissertation credit hours; successfully pass preliminary examinations; and successfully defend the dissertation.

Retention

Retention is governed by Graduate School rules and department standards of reasonable progress toward degree. Students failing to make reasonable progress toward completion of the degree are removed from the program.

Coursework

Each candidate for the Ph.D. in Political Science degree must complete 37 credit hours of graduate level coursework and 24 dissertation credit hours. Of the 37 credit hours of graduate coursework, students must complete one credit hour of pre-professional coursework (POLS 593), nine credit hours of research tools and methods (POLS 500A, POLS 500B, and POLS 500C, or the equivalent of each), 24 credit hours of 500-level graduate seminars in the department, a classics readings course (POLS 592A-E) and 24 hours of dissertation credit.

  • Pre-professional Requirement - 1 credit hour
    • POLS 593 (1 CH)
  • Research Methods and Tool Requirement - 6 credit hours
    • POLS 500A (3 CH)
    • POLS 500B (3 CH)
    • POLS 500C (3 CH)
  • Seminar Requirement - 21 credit hours
  • Reading Requirement - 3 credit hours
    • POLS 592A-E
  • Dissertation Requirement - 24 credit hours
    • POLS 600 (1 to 12 CH per semester)

Preliminary Examinations

Ph.D. in Political Science students must take written preliminary examinations in one of the following concentrations: 1) comparative politics / international relations, 2) political behavior, or 3) judicial politics. Before preliminary examinations can be scheduled, a student must have completed all coursework, have been in residence for at least one year, and have a grade point average of at least 3.5. A student may not take preliminary examinations if there are any incomplete grades on his or her record. The Director of Graduate Studies assigns two readers to write and grade each written subfield examination. When possible, at least one reader for each exam will be a member of the student’s advisory committee. The Director of Graduate Studies will appoint a third reader if the first and second readers are unable to agree on a result.

Students must notify the Director of Graduate Studies and all members of the Advisory Committee in writing the semester before they wish to sit for the comprehensive examination. The Director of Graduate Studies schedules written exams to begin no later than the first week of October in fall semester and March in spring semester. The oral examination shall take place not more than two weeks after the student has passed their last written examination. All scheduling exemptions must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. Passing written and oral examinations advances the student to candidacy for the Ph.D. in Political Science degree. Students who do not pass exams may be allowed to retake them or withdraw from the program at the discretion of the Director of Graduate Studies upon advice from the student’s Advisory Committee.

Dissertation

Students must complete a dissertation within five years following their admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. in Political Science, or the students must retake preliminary examinations. Students select five faculty members to serve on their dissertation committee. One faculty member may be from another department. The candidate’s dissertation prospectus must be approved by the dissertation committee and filed with the Director of Graduate Studies.

The student works closely with the Chairperson of the dissertation committee throughout the process. The final draft of the dissertation is presented to committee members after the Chairperson of the dissertation committee determines that it is complete and acceptable form at least two-weeks prior to the oral dissertation defense. The success of a final oral defense of the dissertation will complete the requirements for the doctoral degree. The defense must be open to the public.

All dissertations must have an original approval form signed by the student’s committee and the department chair. Guidelines for submission to the Graduate School are found on the website.

Application of Rules and Exceptions

The department’s rules in force at the time of the student’s admission to the Ph.D. in Political Science program will apply while the student is in the program unless 1) the student voluntarily selects a newer set of rules before graduation or 2) the time between admission to the Ph.D. in Political Science program and passing preliminary examinations exceeds five years. In the latter case, the student will automatically come under the rules in force at the beginning of the sixth year and every fifth year thereafter until they pass preliminary examinations. Students requesting any exemptions to these rules must submit a petition signed by the members of their Advisory Committee to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval by the Graduate Studies Committee.

Cooperative Program with University of Illinois at Springfield

The Department of Political Science at SIU has an agreement with the political studies program at University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS) to facilitate the entry of UIS political studies students into the SIU Ph.D. in Political Science program. SIU will accept appropriate UIS graduate credits to fulfill course work, methodology, and research tool requirements. UIS students can qualify for accelerated entry into the SIU doctoral program after two semesters of study at UIS with 24 credit hours completed, a 3.5 GPA, two proseminars, and written evaluations from course instructors. A number of UIS faculty are eligible to serve on graduate student examination and dissertation committees. SIU will accept up to 12 credit hours for course work, research projects, and internships completed under UIS faculty direction towards the SIU Ph.D. in Political Science degree. Other course work, residency, and dissertation requirements of the SIU program must be met as described in other sections of this catalog. For more detailed information, ask the Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Political Science, SIU.

Ph.D./J.D. Concurrent Degrees

Students who have been admitted separately to the Southern Illinois University School of Law and Ph.D. in Political Science programs may study concurrently for the Juris Doctor and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Students interested in concurrent study should inform both programs before entering the fourth semester of law school. Each program will maintain records and evaluate final degree requirements as if the student were enrolled in only one program.

Concurrent Ph.D./J.D. degree students must complete a minimum of 81 credit hours of School of Law credits, which meet all law area requirements, as well as all Ph.D. in Political Science area requirements to receive the J.D. degree. Students will not be permitted to take course work outside the prescribed law curriculum during the first year of law class work. Students may enroll for both law and graduate course work during subsequent years, provided a minimum of 10 credit hours of law and 12 credit hours total are taken in any term which has law course enrollment.

Concurrent Ph.D./J.D. degree students must complete the entire first year law curriculum with a law grade point average of 2.5 before being eligible to register for any political science graduate courses; and must complete a minimum of 60 credit hours which meet the distribution requirements of the Ph.D. in Political Science program, as well as all law area requirements, to receive the Ph.D. in Political Science degree. A maximum of 9 hours of School of Law credits of a political science nature (for example: administrative law, environmental law, labor law, natural resources law) may be applied to both J.D. and Ph.D. in Political Science requirements if approved by the director of the doctoral program. All concurrent Ph.D./J.D. degree students will complete a doctoral dissertation.