Twin Cities campus
Twin Cities Campus

Political Science Ph.D.

Political Science Department
College of Liberal Arts
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
Department of Political Science, 1414 Social Sciences, 267 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455 (612-624-4144; fax: 612-626-7599)
  • Program Type: Doctorate
  • Requirements for this program are current for Spring 2019
  • Length of program in credits: 60
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Along with the program-specific requirements listed below, please read the General Information section of this website for requirements that apply to all major fields.
The political science curriculum is divided into five subfields: formal models and methodology, political theory, American politics, international relations, and comparative politics.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
Special Application Requirements:
All students are admitted directly into the Ph.D. program. To apply, submit the following through the University's graduate online application: Unofficial transcripts, research and diversity statements, GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, curriculum vitae or resume, writing sample, TOEFL or IELTS for non-native English speakers. The application deadline is December 15. For more information, see the Political Science Admissions website.
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
30 credits are required in the major.
6 credits are required outside the major.
24 thesis credits are required.
This program may be completed with a minor.
Use of 4xxx courses towards program requirements is not permitted.
A minimum GPA of 3.30 is required for students to remain in good standing.
Research methodology requirement—students must demonstrate one of the following: a) high proficiency in one foreign language; b) high proficiency in research methodology; c) low proficiency in two foreign languages; d) low proficiency in one foreign language and low proficiency in research methodology.
Field Emphases
Choose two of the core courses from the fields below:
Take 6 or more credit(s) from the following:
Political Theory
· POL 8201 - Understanding Political Theory (3.0 cr)
· American Politics
· POL 8301 - American Politics (3.0 cr)
· International Relations
· POL 8401 - International Relations (3.0 cr)
· Comparative Politics
· POL 8601 - Introduction to Comparative Politics (3.0 cr)
· Political Models and Methodology
· POL 8120 - Core Course in Political Methodology: Modeling Political Processes (3.0 cr)
Students select 2 emphases from above for which to fulfill their electives below:
Emphasis 1
Take 9 or more credit(s) from the following:
· POL 8xxx
Emphasis 2
Take 9 or more credit(s) from the following:
· POL 8xxx
Floating Elective
Take 3 or more credit(s) from the following:
· POL 8xxx
Professional Development Courses
Take 3 or more credit(s) from the following:
Taken during Spring of first year:
· POL 8104 - Professional Development I (2.0 cr)
· Taken during Fall of Third year:
· POL 8105 - Professional Development II (1.0 cr)
Outside the Major in a Supporting Program
Take 6 graduate credits outside the department of political science in a minor or supporting program.
Thesis Credits
Take 24 or more credit(s) from the following:
· POL 8888 - Thesis Credit: Doctoral (1.0-24.0 cr)
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· College of Liberal Arts

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POL 8201 - Understanding Political Theory
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Key concepts/major approaches. prereq: Grad student or instr consent
POL 8301 - American Politics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Seminar on main themes of theory and research in American politics, institutions, law, and policy. Major works on individual, mass, elite, and institutional behavior and their relationship to each other. Foundation for advanced seminars in American politics. prereq: Grad pol sci major or instr consent
POL 8401 - International Relations
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Basic theories/approaches to study of international politics. Surveys representative work/central issues of scholarship. prereq: Grad pol sci major or dept consent
POL 8601 - Introduction to Comparative Politics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Main theoretical approaches and issues: comparative method, the state and class; political culture; development, democratization, rational choice, social movements. prereq: Grad pol sci major
POL 8120 - Core Course in Political Methodology: Modeling Political Processes
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Fall Odd, Spring Even Year
Methods used and potential for creating models of political processes. Designing political institutions, discerning/forecasting election outcomes, producing early warnings of international conflicts, increasing turnout in elections. Using mathematics to study political strategy and collective decision making in committees/legislatures. Using statistics to measure political variables, design experiments with human subjects, and test micro/macro political theories. prereq: Pol sci grad major or instr consent
POL 8104 - Professional Development I
Credits: 2.0 [max 4.0]
Prerequisites: 1st year Pol graduate student
Grading Basis: S-N only
Typically offered: Every Spring
The objectives of this course are as follows: (1) to provide students with professional advice that will help them move with dispatch through the graduate program; (2) to learn the formal and informal norms of the discipline; and (3) to help them prepare to do independent research and dissertation research. prereq: 1st year Pol graduate student
POL 8105 - Professional Development II
Credits: 1.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: S-N or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Research ethics. Skills for teaching undergraduate courses in political science. Completion of dissertation prospecti or early chapters. prereq: Pol sci student, ABD, dept consent
POL 8888 - Thesis Credit: Doctoral
Credits: 1.0 -24.0 [max 100.0]
Grading Basis: No Grade
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
(No description) prereq: Max 18 cr per semester or summer; 24 cr required