Admission Requirements & Deadlines
Our graduate programs admit for fall semester only.
Applications must be complete and ready for review in the Departmental Graduate Office by February 15th of the year for which you are applying.
FALL 2017 DEADLINES
December 1st: Application deadline for those wishing to be considered for graduate assistantships.
February 15: Application deadline for ALL Fall 2017 admissions.
Please read and follow these instructions carefully to avoid delay in our handling of your application. Both the Graduate School and the Department handle each application, and it hinders rather than expedites the process to send incorrect or unnecessary documents to either address.
For further information about graduate programs or for answers to questions about your application, please email the Departmental Graduate Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to Apply
PART I: APPLY TO THE UGA GRADUATE SCHOOL
For detailed information, please see the Graduate School Admissions Requirements.
1. Online Graduate School Application and fee ($75 domestic / $100 international)
2. One unofficial transcript from each institution of higher education attended, except the University of Georgia. University of Georgia transcripts are on file. You may upload transcripts through the application portal or mail them directly to the UGA Graduate School.
3. Official GRE general test score report. The UGA institutional code for ETS reporting is 5813. No departmental code is required.
4. International applicants please see additional requirements.
Send these materials to:
Office of Graduate Admissions
The University of Georgia Graduate School
210 South Jackson Street
Athens, Georgia 30602
Fax: (706) 425-3095
PART II: APPLY TO THE DEPARTMENTAL GRADUATE OFFICE
1. Personal Objective Form
2. Statement of Purpose*
3. Curriculum vita*
*If you prefer, you may upload and submit your Statement of Purpose and Curriculum vita when you submit your online application through the UGA Graduate School.
4. Three academic letters of recommendation.
The most convenient way for recommenders to submit letters of recommendation is through the online application process. List the names and email addresses of your recommenders on the online application. They will be sent a link to access a secure page where they can submit your recommendation online. If your recommender prefers to send the letter as a hard copy or an email, it should be sent directly to the Departmental Graduate Office.
5. Graduate Assistantship Application, if desired.
6. PhD and Fast Track PhD applicants only: Submit a copy of an original research paper as a writing sample.
Send these materials to:
Attn: Emily Smith
312 Candler Hall
The University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602
Fax: (706) 542-4421
Departmental application materials can also be emailed as attachments to email@example.com.
For more information about the statement of purpose and letters of recommendation, see FAQs below.
The Graduate Program in Political Science and International Affairs is able to offer a number of graduate assistantships to qualified applicants. Graduate assistantships include a full tuition waiver (students are still expected to pay fees), stipend, and a work commitment as either a teaching or research assistant.
You must apply for all assistantships through the Departmental Graduate Office. Do not contact the Graduate School about financial support. Most graduate assistantships come from departmental funding sources (SPIA Assistantships). Students who receive support from the Graduate School must be nominated by their department and go through a competitive process.
To apply, fill out the Graduate Assistantship Application and submit with the rest of your program application. All applicants who submit an assistantship application will be considered for funding.
Applicants whose files are complete by December 1st are guaranteed consideration for the first round of awards. Students not receiving support during the first round are eligible in subsequent rounds if funding is still available. Awards follow the following timetable:
Exceptionally well qualified applicants are nominated for a limited number of Graduate School Assistantships
Winners of Graduate School Assistantships are notified.
The first round of SPIA graduate assistantships are awarded to students.
If there are SPIA graduate assistantships available after the first round, a second round of offers is made.
Awarding of SPIA assistantships continues until all funds are exhausted.
We are also be able to nominate a limited number of applicants for a Regent’s Out of State Tuition Waiver (ROOSTW), which waives the out of state portion of a student’s tuition. Out-of-state and international applicants are automatically considered for these waivers when they apply to the program.
*NEW FELLOWSHIP OPPORTUNITY FOR FALL 2017 APPLICANTS*
Graduate Fellow in Liberty, Citizenship, and Rights.
The Department of Political Science at the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs invites applications for a graduate fellowship in liberty, citizenship, and rights, starting in the fall semester of 2017. Although applicants can focus on any area of study within our department, the successful candidate will participate in monthly meetings of the American Founding Group, coordinate an annual paper competition among undergraduates, and develop at least one research paper related to liberty, citizenship, or rights that they could present at a professional conference. Empirical approaches are welcome. The fellowship provides support for tuition, stipend, and health insurance. The fellowship may be renewed for an additional year subject to satisfactory academic progress, successful fulfillment of fellow responsibilities, and budgetary approval, with the strong possibility for a doctoral student to obtain a third and fourth year of funding from the Department of Political Science as a teaching or research assistant. In addition to applying for the masters or doctoral program using the Graduate School’s online application, interested candidates should send a one page letter of interest to the Department of Political Science either electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org or through mail to Graduate Office, Attn: Emily Smith, 312 Candler Hall, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-1615. Applications received by December 15 are guaranteed full consideration. For more information about the department, visit http://spia.uga.edu/departments-centers/department-of-political-science.
Curriculum Overview & Degree Program Timetables
The PhD in Political Science and International Affairs is a degree program culminating in a doctoral dissertation. Students are required to declare a major field (minimum six courses) and minor field (minimum four courses). Students also complete a four-course methodology sequence. After all required coursework has been successfully completed, students sit for comprehensive exams in both their major and minor fields. A dissertation propsectus and doctoral dissertation must be successfully defended to complete the degree.
DEGREE PROGRAM TIMETABLES
Click the link below to view the degree timetable for the PhD program which best suits you.
Degree Timetable for PhD Students with MA in Political Science and International Affairs from UGA
Degree Timetable for PhD Students with MA from Another Institution
Degree Timetable for Fast Track PhD Students
DOCTORAL COMPREHENSIVE EXAMS
As a requirement for admission to candidacy, all PhD students must pass written and oral comprehensive examinations covering both a major and minor field of study.
Courses at both the MA and PhD levels can be counted as preparation for the major and minor, however, the majority of courses for each should have been completed at UGA. Before the comprehensive examinations are taken, all incompletes should have been removed and all coursework must be completed with a 3.0 GPA.
Comprehensive examination questions are designed to test the student’s capacity for critical analysis and synthetic integration of knowledge. It is the student’s responsibility to master the fields of study and not merely to review the course work from each field. Students should also seek to strike the proper balance between learning factual information or empirical data and comprehending theories, conceptual frameworks, and methodologies that are used to organize and interpret data.
Current students, please see the Doctoral Comprehensive Exams Checklist for more details.
SPRING 2016 Exam
FALL 2015 Exam
SPRING 2015 Exam / Study Guide
FALL 2014 Exam / Study Guide
SPRING 2014 Exam / Study Guide
FALL 2016 Exam / Study Guide
SPRING 2016 Exam / Study Guide
FALL 2015 Exam / Study Guide
FALL 2014 Exam / Study Guide
SPRING 2014 Exam/ Study Guide
FALL 2016 Exam / Study Guide
SPRING 2016 Exam / Study Guide
FALL 2015 Exam / Study Guide
SPRING 2015 Exam / Study Guide
FALL 2014 Exam / Study Guide
FALL 2016 Exam
SPRING 2016 Exam
FALL 2015 Exam
SPRING 2015 Exam
FALL 2014 Exam / Study Guide
FALL 2015 Exam / Study Guide
SPRING 2012 Exam / Study Guide
SPRING 2011 Exam / Study Guide
FALL 2010 Exam / Study Guide
SPRING 2010 Exam / Study Guide
The purpose of a dissertation prospectus is: (1) to establish the program of scholarly research that the candidate proposes to follow in the preparation of the dissertation, and (2) to indicate the significance of the planned dissertation research for—and it’s relationship to—the existing body of knowledge in political science and related areas of inquiry.
Students should regard the prospectus as presenting a research design for the dissertation. Bear in mind, though, that the prospectus should be regarded as a working document subject to alteration on the advice of committee members. The better the plan, the higher the likelihood of a strong execution.Traditionally, a dissertation was thought of as a strong first draft of a book manuscript. For many young scholars, it still is. You should also see the various parts of the dissertation as potential research papers to be presented at professional conferences.
Students should consult often and regularly with their committee members about a proposed research topic and preparation of their dissertation prospectus. It is up to the individual student to interact with the chair and other committee members on a regular basis in order to move the prospectus forward. Moreover, students are encouraged to begin thinking about the prospectus early in the course of their graduate training and fine-tune as their training goes on.
Current students please see the Dissertation Prospectus Checklist for detailed procedures.
- What should be addressed in a dissertation prospectus?
The purpose or objective of the planned dissertation. What puzzle, problem, or hypotheses does the research address? What are the limits or boundaries of the proposed dissertation? (Make clear that the proposal is feasible and focused.)
Significance of the proposed research.What important theoretical and/or empirical issue does the research address? In other words, why does it matter that this research be undertaken?
The present state of knowledge related to the topic.What do we already know (or think we know) in the area of proposed research? Is there consensus or disagreement? The bibliographical review included in the prospectus should not be an extensive literature review that lists references in a general domain but rather one that discusses the specific contribution or shortcomings contained in particular items relevant to the proposed research. It should be organized conceptually rather than by author. It should also be linked to your research question. More importantly, it should lead the reader to your hypotheses.
The research strategy to be employed.How will the problem be investigated? Where appropriate, what analytical methods, types of evidence, data collection strategies, and sources will be employed? Show how key concepts will be defined and, if appropriate, measured. Discuss what type(s) of evidence will support your hypotheses and what evidence could demonstrate that they are incorrect.
Enumeration of the specific and as yet unresolved problems the candidate perceives.The prospectus defense is a time for gaining help from the dissertation committee as a whole. It may be the first time that the student meets with the committee as a whole. Focus their attention on problems that require further consideration.
Outline of the chapters.The outline should be more than chapter headings. It should reveal the student’s approach as well as the boundaries and parameters.
- When should I defend my dissertation prospectus?
The dissertation prospectus is ideally completed at the end of the semester in which one takes comprehensive exams. By doing so, one advances the ability to get started on the dissertation. Traditionally, a student is given one year in which to complete the dissertation and defend it.If a student is unable to defend his or her prospectus during the comprehensive exams semester, the defense should take place the next semester.
- How should a dissertation prospectus be formatted? How long should it be?
The format of the dissertation prospectus and its contents should be worked out with the student’s dissertation committee.The target length may vary, but an average length would be 15 pages plus references and tables/charts, etc.The dissertation prospectus should provide information in a clear and sufficiently detailed written form so that the candidate’s dissertation committee can bring their judgment to bear in advising the student about the appropriateness and adequacy of his/her anticipated doctoral research program.Moreover, the prospectus should be viewed as a proposal for research that may be altered in light of ongoing discussions with dissertation committee members and the actual initiation of the research itself.
The dissertation is the culminating event in one’s doctoral program.
When a dissertation is successfully completed, it becomes the starting point of a productive career.
A student’s major professor will play the lead role in providing direction for the dissertation project.
Current students please see the Dissertation Checklist for detailed procedures.
Fields of Study
For purpose of graduate instruction in Political Science and International Affairs, the curriculum is divided into fields.
Four major fields and eight minor fields are currently available within our program.
MA students have broad latitude in choosing courses and do not have to select a major or minor field, although most do identify with a field of study or department. At the doctoral level, the distinction among fields becomes more important. PhD students must prepare for both written and oral examinations in one major field and one minor field.
A large proportion of research in political science draws its data from the American context.
Comprehensive examinations in this field will be constructed so that questions will require knowledge of two American Politics subfields: Government Institutions and Political Behavior. Students will be held accountable for basic works, as well as journal articles and major books published during the previous five years.
Students majoring or minoring in American Politics are required to take a core seminar: POLS 6100, Pre-Seminar in American Politics. Additional courses should be selected in consultation with the student’s major professor and advisory committee.
Using the comparative method, students working in this field examine such phenomena as behavioral patterns and systems, governmental institutions and structures, policy processes and outcomes, and political goals and strategies. These phenomena are considered both within and across national systems. Nation-states are taken as the primary, but not exclusive, units of analysis.
Students preparing for comprehensive examinations in this field should expect some general questions that deal with the comparative approach to politics: its evolution, its major practitioners, its leading conceptual frameworks or paradigms, its utility, its contributions, difficulties or problems in its application, and ways of surmounting these problems. In addition, they will be required to answer questions from two subfields: Developed Systems and Developing Systems.
Students majoring or minoring in Comparative Politics are required to take a core seminar: INTL 6300, Comparative Analysis and Method. Additional courses should be selected in consultation with the student’s major professor and advisory committee.
The field of International Relations focuses on the important agents and structures of international politics. These include nation-states, intergovernmental organizations, and non-governmental organizations. Studies in this field examine the preferences and strategies of these actors, as well as the nature of the economic, military, political, and social interactions among them.
In preparing for the comprehensive examination in International Relations, the student should seek to understand the major actors on the international scene, their policies, and the sources of cooperation and conflict. Comprehensive exam questions will test the student’s general knowledge of these matters, as well as proficiency in selected subfields.
Students majoring or minoring in International Relations are required to take the core seminar: INTL 6200, Pre-Seminar in International Relations. In addition, at least one course is recommended from each of the following subfields: International Cooperation, International Conflict, International Political Economy, and Foreign Policy. Additional courses should be selected in consultation with the student’s major professor and advisory committee.
This field encompasses both normative political philosophy and empirically oriented theory. Its leading questions concern the ends or purposes of political action, the nature of a good or just political order, the proper relationship of individuals to their political communities, and the appropriate criteria for evaluating and designing voting systems. Empirically oriented theory seeks to explain regularities in politics such as how and when political actors come into conflict or behave cooperatively.
There is no pre-seminar in this field, but rather a series of distinct courses. A major in Political Theory involves a combination of the three subfields below. A minor in Political Theory is built around the first two subfields. There is no major in Formal Theory, but a distinct minor is available. Students in Political Theory often take related courses in other departments, such as Philosophy and Economics.
History of Political Philosophy. In this subfield, it will be the student’s responsibility to become familiar with the most influential works of major political philosophers from Plato to Rawls, and to understand the importance of these works in the development of political thought. Attention is given to the distinctive ways that problems are resolved and concepts defined during the history of political philosophy.
Normative Theory. In this subfield, students address fundamental issues of justice, fairness, political legitimacy, and individual rights. Study in this subfield develops the student’s ability to assess the standard approaches and positions associated with leading political philosophers.
Formal Political Theory. Students will be expected to understand formal political theory, particularly rational choice theory, and applications that contemporary political scientists have developed to explain political behavior and to account for individual decisions and collective outcomes. Rational choice theory in general, social choice theory, game theory, and political economy are among the approaches that are relevant to this subfield.
Because minor fields consist of a minimum of four courses, students have great flexibility regarding which courses can be approved for a minor. In fact, courses from several departments can often be included in a minor. Students’ choices must be approved by the Graduate Coordinator.
This minor is designed by individual students subject to the approval of their advisory committee and the Graduate Coordinator. In addition to POLS 8501, students complete nine more hours in advanced work such as directed readings and topics courses in Political Science and seminars in other departments such as Economics and Statistics. Qualitative Methods (INTL 8500) may count towards a methods minor. Additionally, one formal theory course may count towards a methods minor. Students may choose from POLS 8000 (Introduction to Rational Choice), POLS 8020 (Game Theory/Formal Analysis), or POLS 8030 (Spatial Voting Theory) if they would like to use this option.
Students will be expected to understand formal political theory, particularly rational choice theory, and applications that contemporary political scientists have developed to explain political behavior and to account for individual decisions and collective outcomes. Rational choice theory in general, social choice theory, game theory, and political economy are among the approaches that are relevant to this subfield. In addition to SPIA courses, students minoring in Formal Theory may take approved courses in other UGA departments, particularly Economics and Philosophy.
Normative Theory Minor: A total of 4 classes in Theory, 1 of which may be from the Formal Theory offerings.
Formal Theory Minor: A total of 4 classes in Theory, 1 of which may be from the Normative Theory offerings OR a total of 3 classes in Formal Theory and either POLS 8501 (MLE), POLS 8505 (Scaling), or POLS 8510 (Bayes).
Public Administration Minor
This minor is offered through SPIA’s Department of Public Administration and Policy (PADP). This required field involves intensive coursework in issues of and approaches to the general field of Public Administration, as well as coverage of major subfields, such as public personnel administration, public financial administration, and organization theory. Students should select courses for the minor in consultation with the Graduate Coordinator and relevant faculty in the department. PADP does not give a minor exam; students wishing to minor in this area are required to take the full comprehensive major exam.
Public Policy Minor
This minor is offered through SPIA’s Department of Public Administration and Policy (PADP). This required field involves intensive course work in issues of and approaches to the study of public policy generally, as well as in substantive policy areas that are of interest to the student. Students should select courses for the minor in consultation with the Graduate Coordinator and relevant faculty in the department. PADP does not give a minor exam; students wishing to minor in this area are required to take the full comprehensive major exam.
Faculty by Field
Fast Track PhD
The Fast Track PhD is an option for highly qualified students who have or who will have obtained a bachelor’s degree and allows for direct entry into the PhD, bypassing the MA degree altogether. It is offered to a very limited number of strongly qualified individuals. They are expected to complete the PhD program in four years and are eligible for a four-year assistantship that will fund their studies for the duration of their graduate career.
In order to qualify for the program, students must have an entrance score of at least 4,500 based on the following formula:
Undergraduate GPA x 1000 + GRE score (Verbal + Quantitative)*
For example, a student with a 3.0 GPA and a 1200 GRE would not qualify for the Fast Track (score = 4,200). An individual with a 3.5 and a 1300 GRE (score = 4,550) would qualify. This is not the only qualification for the program. One’s entire file is examined and provides the basis from which the ultimate decision regarding admission to the Fast Track will be made.
Direct admission to the PhD program is restricted to only the most competitive applicants. Not all applicants who meet the minimum score will be admitted. However, if students meet the criteria for the Fast Track and are not admitted, they will be automatically considered for the MA program. Upon completion of the MA, students can request admission to the PhD program.
If you are interested in the Fast Track option, you should note this in your personal statement as well as on your Personal Objective Form.
Please see the Fast Track PhD degree timetable for more information.
*As of December 2011, the Graduate Committee has not approved an entrance score equation to accommodate the new GRE scale. Fast Track applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis until a minimum entrance score has been agreed upon.
If you have a question that is not answered below, please contact the Departmental Graduate Office at email@example.com or (706) 542-2948.
- What is the Fast Track PhD?
The Fast Track PhD is an option for highly qualified students who have or who will have obtained a bachelor’s degree and allows for direct entry into the PhD, bypassing the MA degree altogether. It is offered to a very limited number of strongly qualified individuals. They are expected to complete the PhD program in four years and are eligible for a four-year assistantship that will fund their studies for the duration of their graduate career.In order to qualify for the program, students must have an entrance score of at least 4,500 based on the following formula: Undergraduate GPA x 1000 + GRE score (Verbal + Quantitative)*For example, a student with a 3.0 GPA and a 1200 GRE would not qualify for the Fast Track (score = 4,200). An individual with a 3.5 and a 1300 GRE (score = 4,550) would qualify. This is not the only qualification for the program. One’s entire file is examined and provides the basis from which the ultimate decision regarding admission to the Fast Track will be made.Direct admission to the PhD program is restricted to only the most competitive applicants. Not all applicants who meet the minimum score will be admitted. However, if students meet the criteria for the Fast Track and are not admitted, they will be automatically considered for the MA program. Upon completion of the MA, students can request admission to the PhD program.If you are interested in the Fast Track option, you should note this in your personal statement as well as on your Personal Objective Form.*As of December 2011, the Graduate Committee has not approved an entrance score equation to accomodate the new GRE scale. Fast Track applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis until a minimum entrance score has been agreed upon.
- How Do I Know Whether to Apply for the MA or the PhD?
Students who will have been awarded a master’s degree in political science, international affairs, or a related field by the fall in which they plan to enroll should apply directly to the PhD program. Those who will have completed a bachelor’s degree should apply for the MA program, unlessthey qualify to apply for the Fast Track PhD (see next question for details), in which case they can apply for either.Those who will have completed professional degrees (J.D., M.B.A., M.Ed., etc) should apply to the PhD program. If there is any concern about your qualifications given the nature of the professional degree, the Graduate Committee may require you to complete the MA before applying to the PhD program.
- Are there minimum requirements for GPA, GRE, etc?
The minimum undergraduate GPA standard for admission to the Graduate School at the University of Georgia for applicants who do not have a prior graduate degree is 3.0. The average GPA of students admitted into our graduate program varies from year to year, but is always in the 3.5 to 3.7 range.
It is highly recommended that applicants have at least a combined score of 1100 (old scale) or 300 (new scale) on the GRE. As with GPAs, the average GRE score of students admitted into our graduate program varies from year to year, but is always in the 1200-1300 range. We do not have averages on the new scale as of yet.
The minimum TOEFL score for admission to the Graduate School at the University of Georgia is 80, with no subscore lower than 20. It is highly recommended that international applicants have a combined score of at least 90.
The minimum IELTS score for admission to the Graduate School at the University of Georgia is 6.5 overall band score with no lower than 6.0 on any band.
- What should I include in my statement of purpose?
We are most concerned with your academic background, intellectual interests and professional plans. Please do not include material that is not relevant to your academic background or interest.
- What kind of recommendation letters should I include in my application?
We require letters from professors who have taught you. Their letters should describe your academic work in detail so that the Graduate Committee can be assured that you can complete a rigorous graduate program. If you have done significant independent research, such as a thesis, the committee normally expects a letter from the professor who supervised that work.Letters from elected officials or “personal” references tend to be less valuable in determining your academic capability. Letters from work supervisors are of little value unless your job entailed research. In addition, letters from counselors, student affairs officers, and other non-faculty personnel on your campus generally provide little useful information for the committee.For those applicants who have been out of the academic setting for some time, getting letters from prior instructors can be difficult, but should be pursued nonetheless. In this instance, the committee will grant some flexibility, but once again, references must be able to address your academic and related abilities to some degree.
- How are admissions decisions made?
The six-member Graduate Committee considers your entire application file: previous academic record, GRE scores, personal statement, CV, and recommendations. There are no “automatic” acceptance or refusal factors.The committee’s main concern is the likelihood that you will do well, not only in the graduate program you are applying for, but as a scholar and teacher once that degree is in hand. We also consider whether your interests are a good “fit” for the faculty, courses, and research centers available in the School of Public and International Affairs.
- When will I hear whether I’ve been accepted for admission?
Once your file is complete, it will be considered at the next Graduate Committee meeting. The committee will discuss and vote on your application and then send its recommendation to the Graduate School, which makes the official decision on your application. The Graduate School normally contacts you 1-2 weeks after the Departmental recommendation is submitted.
- Can I attend the program on a part-time basis?
Although our graduate programs are not designed for part-time students, it is possible for students to take less than a full course load (three courses per semester), thus extending their time in the program.
- Are graduate courses offered online or off campus?
All graduate courses are held on the UGA campus in Athens, GA. No online or distance learning options are available.
- Are classes offered in the evenings or on weekends for working professionals?
The graduate course schedule is not created for working students. Depending on the semester, there may be a course or two offered on a weekday evening, but this is not guaranteed. There are no courses offered on weekends.
- What is the cost of tuition?
As of Fall 2016, the current cost of graduate study per credit hour is $354 (in-state) and $1,004 (out-of-state). Fees are currently assessed at $1,135 per semester. 9 credits (3 courses) is considered a full-time course load for graduate students. A full-time student would thus pay $4,321 (in-state) or $10,171 (out-of-state) per semester. More information about current tuition rates can be found on the Bursar’s website.
SPRING 2017 DEFENSE TIMELINES
DISSERTATION PROSPECTUS DEFENSE
Download the PDF version of this timeline
Tuesday, March 7
Final date to submit a complete draft of your prospectus to your major professor. You and your major professor then have two weeks to make any needed revisions before a final copy is distributed to the committee. We assume that you have been working with your major professor and your committee all along, but by this time you should have put together a complete draft.
Tuesday, March 21
Final date to distribute the final copy of your prospectus to your committee members. Your committee has two weeks to read your prospectus before deciding whether or not you are ready to defend. The committee may also request changes before the defense takes place. Although a defense time and date will be reserved soon after distribution, please be aware that this might be canceled or rescheduled if your committee does not approve your prospectus for a defense.
Tuesday, April 25
Absolute last day the Graduate Advisor will schedule a defense UNLESS you know FOR SURE that all of your committee members will be available for a defense after classes are no longer in session. The committee may request changes before final approval.
DOCTORAL DISSERTATION DEFENSE
Download the PDF version of this timeline
Friday, January 20
Final date to apply for graduation on Athena. Be sure you have an updated version of your advisory committee form on file at the Graduate School if you made any changes to your committee after comprehensive exams.
Monday, February 27
Final date to submit a complete draft of your dissertation to your major professor. You and your major professor then have two weeks to make any needed revisions before a final copy is distributed to the committee. We assume that you have been working closely with your major professor and your committee for quite some time, but by this time you should have put together a complete draft.
Monday, March 13
Final date to distribute the final copy of your dissertation to your committee members. Your committee has three weeks to read your dissertation before deciding whether or not you are ready to defend. The committee may also request changes before the defense takes place. Although a defense time and date will be reserved soon after distribution, please be aware that this might be canceled or rescheduled if your committee does not approve your dissertation for a defense.
Monday, April 3
Final date to electronically submit one complete copy of your dissertation for a format check on the Graduate school website.
Friday, April 17
Absolute last day the Graduate Advisor will schedule a defense. The committee may request changes before final approval.
Monday, April 24
Final date to submit the Defense Approval Form and final copy of your dissertation to the Graduate School for a May graduation. This means all suggested changes have been made and your major professor has given final approval of these changes.
Doctoral Comprehensive Exams Checklist
Comprehensive Exams Checklist
The Semester Before Comprehensive Exams
1. Sign up to take comprehensive exams. The deadline to sign up is the midpoint of the semester prior to the exams. The Graduate Advisor will have a sign-up sheet and will send an email indicating the sign–up deadline each semester.
2. Choose your comprehensive exams advisory committee. Please note that this is NOT the same as your dissertation advisory committee. There should be two faculty members from your major field and two faculty members from your minor field on the committee. Your committee will read your written comprehensive exams and be present at your oral comprehensive exam.
Once you have successfully completed your written and oral comprehensive exams, you may, if you’d like, revise your advisory committee to reflect your dissertation research.
3. Visit the Graduate School website and fill out an Advisory Committee for Doctoral Candidates form. Bring it to the Graduate Advisor’s Office for final approval and the Graduate Coordinator’s signature. The Graduate Advisor will submit this form to the Graduate School.
4. Fill out a Worksheet for PhD Program of Study (or, if you are a Fast Track student, a Worksheet for Worksheet for Fast Track Program of Study. This form is for planning purposes only.
5. Schedule an appointment with the Graduate Advisor. During this meeting you will: 1) review your program of study worksheet and 2) complete your Final Doctoral Program of Study. Ideally, you will turn in both your Advisory Committee Form and your Final Doctoral Program of Study at this appointment.
The Semester in Which You Take Your Comprehensive Exams
1. Register for at least three credits of POLS 9300 during this semester.
Dissertation Prospectus Checklist
Download the PDF version of this checklist
The Semester Before Your Defense
1. If the makeup of your advisory committee has changed since your comprehensive exams, fill out a revised Advisory Committee for Doctoral Candidates form. Bring it to the Graduate Advisor’s Office for final approval and the Graduate Coordinator’s signature. The Graduate Advisor will submit this form to the Graduate School.
2. Start writing your prospectus! Next semester, you will be required to allow your major professor two weeks to work with you on a complete draft, your committee two weeks to read the final prospectus, and the Graduate Advisor will need a window of time in which to schedule the defense before the semester ends and your committee is no longer available, which means you will not have the entire semester to finish your prospectus. To avoid a last-minute rush, write now.
The Semester in Which You Defend Your Prospectus
1. Follow program deadlines for distributing and defending your prospectus. The Graduate Advisor will have sent these dates out shortly after the midpoint of the previous semester.
2. When you are ready to distribute your prospectus to the committtee, bring four hard copies directly to the Graduate Advisor’s Office. The Graduate Advisor will attach cover sheets to the document. You will then be able to officially distribute your dissertation. If you would prefer a different method of distribution, please speak to the Graduate Advisor beforehand. PDF copies of your dissertation are acceptable if one or more committee members specifically request them. The Graduate Advisor will schedule a prospectus defense no less than two weeks after the official distribution date.
Download the PDF version of this checklist
The Semester Before Your Defense
1. If the makeup of your advisory committee has changed since your dissertation prospectus defense, fill out a revised Advisory Committee for Doctoral Candidates form. Bring it to the Graduate Advisor’s Office for final approval and the Graduate Coordinator’s signature. The Graduate Advisor will submit this form to the Graduate School.
2. Start finishing up your dissertation! Next semester, you will be required to allow your major professor two weeks to work with you on a complete draft, your committee three weeks to read the final dissertation, and the Graduate Advisor will need a window of time in which to schedule the defense before the Graduate School deadline, which means you will not have the entire semester to finish your dissertation. To avoid a last-minute rush, finish now.
The Semester in Which You Defend Your Dissertation
1. Apply for graduation on Athena. The deadline to do so comes shortly after the beginning of the semester. You can find this semester’s deadlines here. If you have previously applied for graduation and need only to change your graduation date, email Graduate School Enrolled Student Services at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a change to the current semester.
2. Follow departmental deadlines for distributing and defending your dissertation. The Graduate Advisor will have sent these dates out shortly after the midpoint of the previous semester.
3. Submit an electronic copy of your dissertation to the Graduate School for a format check. For format check information and submission guidelines see this page. To find this semester’s submission deadline, please see the Graduate School deadlines.
4. When your major professor has approved your dissertation for distribution to the committee, bring four hard copies directly to the Graduate Advisor’s Office. The Graduate Advisor will attach cover sheets to the document. You will then be able to officially distribute your dissertation. If you would prefer a different method of distribution, please speak to the Graduate Advisor beforehand. PDF copies of your dissertation are acceptable if one or more committee members specifically request them. The Graduate Advisor will schedule a dissertation defense no less than three weeks after the official distribution date.
5. At the defense, you may be asked by your committee to make changes to your dissertation before final approval. You will need to make these changes and submit them to your major professor, who will need to sign off on them before the Graduate School deadline. You will also need to submit a final electronic copy of your dissertation to the Graduate School by this date. Again, see the Graduate School deadlines for your specific semester.
Assistant Application for Current Students
POLS 9200 Approval Form
Worksheet for Fast Track Program of Study
Worksheet for PhD Program of Study