The PhD program in Political Science and International Affairs emphasizes the importance of honing the skills that are critically important to one’s development as a social science researcher. It is expected that students in the PhD program will work under faculty supervision (particularly with their Major Professor and Advisory Committee) but will also take active responsibility for their own education and academic progress.

Answers to questions about program policies and procedures may be found in the Graduate Manual. In addition, The Graduate School maintains a substantial list of resources, including information its own policies and procedures (which supersede those of the program, should any discrepancies rise), and should be consulted for questions about University and Graduate School requirements. Answers to questions not addressed in those resources may be directed to the Graduate Advisor, Dr. Megan Morgan.

Program Deadlines

SPRING 2019 DEFENSE TIMELINES

DOCTORAL DISSERTATION DEFENSE
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Friday, January 25
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.

Friday, February 22
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.

Friday, March 8
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 1
Final date to electronically submit one complete copy of your dissertation for a format check on the Graduate school website.

Monday, April 15
Absolute last day the Graduate Advisor will schedule a defense. The committee may request changes before final approval.

Monday, April 22
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.

DISSERTATION PROSPECTUS DEFENSE
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Tuesday, March 26
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, April 9
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 30
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.

Comprehensive Exams

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 coursework 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.

 

Doctoral Comprehensive Exams Checklist
Comprehensive Exams Checklist 

The Semester Before Comprehensive Exams

  1. Register for at least 3 credit hours of POLS 9300 the semester before exams.
  2. 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 signup deadline each semester.
  3. 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.
  4. 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, which the Graduate Advisor will submit on your behalf.
  5. Confirm that the Graduate Advisor has submitted a comprehensive exams advisory committee form on your behalf before you take exams. Please note that this is NOT the same as your dissertation advisory committee. The Graduate Coordinator will nominate two faculty members from your major field and two faculty members from your minor fieldto the committee. This committee is the same for all examinees in each field, and they will read your written comprehensive exams and be present at your oral comprehensive exam.

The Semester in Which You Take Your Comprehensive Exams

  1. Register for at least three credits of POLS 9300 during this semester.
  2. Once you have successfully completed your written and oral comprehensive exams, revise your advisory committee to reflect your dissertation research. Request the Graduate Advisor to submit an updated dissertation advisory committee form through GradStatus.

 

Previous Exams:

  • American Politics

FALL 2018 Exam

SPRING 2018 Exam
SPRING 2016 Exam
FALL 2015 Exam
SPRING 2015 Exam / Study Guide
FALL 2014 Exam / Study Guide
SPRING 2014 Exam / Study Guide

  • Comparative Politics

FALL 2018 Exam

SPRING 2018 Exam
FALL 2017 Exam
SPRING 2017 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 ExamStudy Guide

  • International Relations

FALL 2018 Exam

SPRING 2018 Exam
FALL 2017 Exam
SPRING 2017 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

  • Methodology

FALL 2018 Exam

SPRING 2018 Exam
FALL 2017 Exam
SPRING 2017 Exam
FALL 2016 Exam
SPRING 2016 Exam
FALL 2015 Exam
SPRING 2015 Exam
FALL 2014 Exam / Study Guide

  • Political Theory

SPRING 2018 Exam
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

Prospectus

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.

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, notify the Graduate Advisor of the names, roles, and email addresses of your new committee. The Graduate Advisor will submit this form online 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 committee, bring four hard copies directly to the Graduate Advisor’s Office. You will then be able to officially distribute your dissertation prospectus. If you would prefer a different method of distribution, please speak to your major professor and committee. 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.
Dissertation

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.

Dissertation 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, notify the Graduate Advisor of the names, roles, and email addresses of your new committee. The Graduate Advisor will submit this form online 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 gradinfo@uga.edu 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.  You will then be able to officially distribute your dissertation.  If you would prefer a different method of distribution, please speak to your major professor and committee. 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.
Policies

All policies for current students can be found in the Graduate Manual. Students should consult this manual for information and procedures on issues related to coursework, comprehensive exams, the dissertation, etc. Students will adhere to the version of the Graduate Manual active in the year in which they matriculate. In the case of any discrepancies between the Graduate Manual and The Graduate School’s policies, The Graduate School’s policies supersede those of SPIA.

Forms
Course Schedules

Graduate courses for Political Science, Spring 2019, can be viewed here.

Graduate courses for International Affairs, Spring 2019, can be viewed here.