PhD in Political Science
Admission Contact Information
Graduate Studies Office
113 Professional Bldg.
Columbia, MO 65211
Admission into the PhD program is determined by the graduate studies committee’s consideration of the applicant’s performance on the applicant’s academic record, personal statement, letters of recommendation, and the GRE general test.
Fall deadline: January 1
- Minimum TOEFL score for international students: 89
- Minimum GPA: 3.0 overall, in last 60 hours, and in political science courses
- 12 hours of upper-division course work in political science is recommended.
Required Application Materials
- Graduate School online application form
- one to two page statement of purpose, describing interests and goals in graduate study in Political Science
- three letters of recommendation
- transcripts from all universities attended (official transcripts required upon admission)
- official results from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
- writing sample
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores (for International students)
PhD Degree Completion Requirements
A student’s doctoral program must include at least 52 hours of graduate work, exclusive of comprehensives and dissertation research. At the option of the student’s doctoral program committee, up to 24 hours of the MA program may be included in the PhD program.
Plan of Study
A student’s program shall include at least 40 hours in Political Science courses and at least 40 hours in graduate seminars (8000 and above). Students choose a primary and secondary field from the four doctoral fields: American political institutions and behavior, comparative politics and government, international relations, and public policy and administration.
Graduate courses must include:
- A minimum of 12 seminar hours in the primary (research) field
- A minimum of nine seminar hours in a secondary field supporting the primary field
- A minimum of 13 hours in a methodology or research tool field. Required courses include POL_SC 7000, POL_SC 7010, and POL_SC 9030.
- The remaining six hours in the methodology field may be in advanced formal or quantitative methods, advanced foreign language, or a combination of the two.
- A minimum of six hours in an outside field. These courses may be in a cognate field in support of relevant substantive fields or research methods related to dissertation research.
Besides completing the necessary course work, the candidate must demonstrate the capacity to use a research tool (such as a foreign language or statistics), should obtain some teaching experience in political science (for academic careers), must pass separately written and oral comprehensive examinations, must submit and defend a dissertation proposal, and must submit and defend a dissertation.
Length of Study
All required courses and the comprehensive examination must be completed within five years of the first semester in the graduate program. The dissertation must be completed and defended within five years of passing the comprehensive examination.
The PhD usually requires five years full time or the equivalent in part-time work beyond the bachelor’s degree and four years beyond the master’s degree. Full-time students (including teaching and research assistants) must carry a minimum of nine credit hours of courses per semester (except for students conducting dissertation research).
The first three years of doctoral study typically include course work and preparation for the comprehensive examinations. Comps (POL_SC 9970) are typically taken early in the fourth year. A proposal for dissertation research is defended within a few months of the comprehensive exams. The remaining time is devoted to dissertation research (POL_SC 9090).
A doctoral student must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA after the first semester and a 3.4 cumulative GPA in subsequent semesters. Comprehensive exams and dissertation proposal must be completed within a timely fashion. The PhD program must be completed within ten years of the first semester of enrollment. Most students complete the doctoral program within five years.