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The University of Texas at Dallas
Graduate Admissions

Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science


Professors: Thomas L. Brunell, Anthony M. Champagne, Harold D. Clarke, Euel Elliott, Edward J. Harpham, L. Douglas Kiel, Robert Lowry, Marianne C. Stewart
Associate Professors: Patrick T. Brandt, Jennifer S. Holmes, Linda Camp Keith, Gregory S. Thielemann
Assistant Professors: Brandon Kinne, Banks Miller, Clint Peinhardt
Senior Lecturers: Brian Bearry, Karl Ho

Mission Statement

The Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science provides a rigorous, disciplinary program with strong multidisciplinary links. The Program consists of innovative, state-of-the-science graduate education in political methodology and the fields of Comparative Politics and International Relations; Political Institutions and American Politics; and Law and Courts. In the first two years of the program, students acquire basic research skills and tools and work on research projects. Later, they have opportunities to develop their instructional and presentation skills, to participate in summer methodology programs, and to interact with highly regarded scholars and practitioners in their fields of study.


         Students will engage in critical and constructive thinking, effective communication to academic audiences, and rigorous design and execution of research projects.

         Students will describe, classify, and analyze the causes and consequences of the unprecedented unfolding of democracy on a global scale, its successes and failures, and its opportunities and problems during an era of globalization and of ongoing subnational, national, and transnational conflicts and negotiations.

         Students will describe, classify, and analyze the major theories, methods, and findings that are used to explain the participation of individuals in a variety of institutional settings in the United States and elsewhere, how public institutions can be designed to promote both collective goods and individual gains, and how changes in institutions have consequences for individuals and public policy.

         Students will describe, classify, and analyze the major theories and empirical findings about the behavior of judges, interactions between the judiciary and other institutions, and the role of courts in the evolution of public policy and the definition and protection of human rights around the world.

         Students will acquire the professional socialization necessary to teach and to conduct research in American, comparative, or international government and politics; democratization, globalization and international relations; governmental and political institutions and processes; and public administration, decision making, and risk management.


Students have access to the computing facilities in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences and the University’s Computing Center. The School has three computing laboratories which house over 50 computers that are network linked and equipped with major social science software packages, including E-Views, R, RATS, S-Plus, SPSS, and STATA. Computerized geographic information system software (e.g. ARC-GIS), the Lexis-Nexis Database, and WestLaw are also available for student use. The University’s Computing Center provides personal computers and UNIX workstations.

Many important data and reference materials are available online from professional associations or at U.T.Dallas via the Library’s and School’s memberships in the American Political Science Association, the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR), the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), the Roper Center, the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS), and other organizations. The Library has a substantial number of political science journals and access to journals via loan from the University of Texas System.

Students have opportunities to participate in research programs directed by members of the faculty. As appropriate, some students may become involved in methodological development activities offered by the School’s membership in the ECPR, ICPSR, and UCGIS. In addition, some students may be eligible to participate in the professional development activities provided by faculty who co-edit the journal Electoral Studies.

To attract the best students, editorial, research and teaching assistantships are available. Prospective students interested in teaching assistantships should apply for admission to start in the Fall by February 15. Editorial assistantships are available through several of the professional journals supported by the University. Research assistantships may be available with individual faculty who have funding from external sources. Other assistantships are provided to work with faculty at the Center for Texas Politics or on instructional activities.

Admission Requirements

The University’s general admission requirements are discussed here.

The Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science Program seeks applications from individuals with a baccalaureate, Master of Arts, or Master of Science degree in Government and Politics, Political Science, Public Administration, Public Affairs or a relevant discipline. The degree must be from an accredited college or university. An undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.2 and a combined quantitative and verbal Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score of 1200 are desirable for students who expect to progress satisfactorily towards graduation. An analytical writing score of at least 4.5 in the GRE is considered desirable. Applicants also may submit their score from the writing component of the GRE as additional evidence of their admission eligibility. Applicants should submit all transcripts, three letters of recommendation (preferably from individuals who can evaluate the applicant’s potential for graduate study and research), and a one-page essay describing educational and professional objectives. Grade point average, GRE score, and other information pertaining to the applicants’ educational background and professional goals are among the factors that are considered in determining direct admission. Applications are reviewed by the Political Science Program Committee in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences.

Students who lack the necessary background to start the Program are advised to take courses that strengthen their preparation, but these courses do not receive credit towards the Ph.D. Program.

Undergraduate students who are interested in completing their undergraduate degrees while simultaneously taking graduate courses in the Political Science Ph.D. Program are expected to meet the School’s “fast-tracking” requirements.

Degree Requirements

The University’s general degree requirements are discussed here.

On admission to the Ph.D. in Political Science Program, the student earns a minimum of 75 semester credit hours of coursework and dissertation credit beyond the baccalaureate degree. Core hours include four courses in Political Science Methodology and Theory, and three proseminars in the Program fields. The three fields are Comparative Politics and International Relations; Political Institutions and American Politics; and Law and Courts. Additional coursework includes four courses in the major field, two courses in the minor field, and three to six courses of freely chosen credit. Students may use these electives to complete an optional concentration in research methods. Prior to admission to doctoral candidacy and further work on the dissertation or practicum, the student must pass examinations in the subjects covered by the core and field courses. Students must receive a grade of B- or better in all core courses and must maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average to graduate.

On examination completion, the student proceeds to present a doctoral dissertation or practicum proposal. The proposal must be approved by his/her Advisory Committee not later than two consecutive semesters after examination completion. Upon Committee approval, the student does further work on the doctoral dissertation or practicum while enrolling continuously for credit in research seminars and in dissertation or practicum research. The dissertation has multiple chapters that consist of a clear statement of the research problem, the theoretical framework and research design, the methods of analysis and findings, and an appropriately developed conclusion. The practicum consists of three papers that may or may not be thematically related and are informed by the theories and methodology of the student’s major field. All three papers must be suitable for presentation at a major professional meeting and/or submission to a peer-reviewed professional journal.

Semester Credit Hour Requirements

Core Courses in Political Science Methodology and Theory         12
Field Proseminars         9
Courses in Major Field   12
Courses in Minor Field   6
Freely Chosen Elective Credit    9-18

Dissertation or Practicum Research        18-27
Total (Minimum) 75

Core Courses  

EPPS 7313 Descriptive and Inferential Statistics
EPPS 7316 Regression and Multivariate Analysis
PSCI 6300   Proseminar in Comparative Politics and International Relations
PSCI 6311   Proseminar in Law and Courts

PSCI 6347   Proseminar in Political Institutions and American Politics
PSCI 6350   Logic, Methodology and Scope of Political Science
PSCI 6352   Empirical Democratic Theory  

Students who lack the math background for EPPS 7313 and 7316 may need to do additional work before completing these requirements.

Comparative Politics and International Relations  

PSCI 6309 International Political Economy
PSCI 6310 Political Economy of Multinational Corporations
PSCI 6316 International Organizations

PSCI 6335 Institutions and Development
PSCI 6337 Comparative Institutions
PSCI 6357 Political Economy of Latin America
PSCI 6362 Political Development
PSCI 6363 Conflict and Development
PSCI 6365 Political Violence and Terrorism
PSCI 7330 Contemporary International Security

Political Institutions and American Politics  

PSCI 6314 Policy Processes, Implementation and Evaluation
PSCI 6324 Local and State Government and Politics
PSCI 6330 Campaigns and Media Relations

PSCI 6331 Executives, Legislatures and Public Policy
PSCI 6333 Political and Civic Organizations
PSCI 6336 Bureaucracy and Public Policy
PSCI 6337 Comparative Institutions

PSCI 6323 Public Choice
PSCI 6339 Election Law and Electoral Systems

PSCI 6343 Law and the Policy Process
PSCI 7344 Gender and Public Policy
PSCI 7350 Institutions and Citizen Behavior
PSCI 7352 Theories of Choice and Decision Making

Law and Courts  

PSCI 6301 Constitutional Law
PSCI 6305 Workshop in Constitutional Law Studies
PSCI 6306 Human Rights and International Law
PSCI 6312 Comparative Courts and Law
PSCI 6339 Election Law and Electoral Systems
PSCI 6343 Law and the Policy Process

Research Methods Concentration (optional)  

Students can complete a concentration in research methods by taking three courses from the following list. Students must consult with the Director of Graduate Studies in advance to determine which courses fit best with their research interests.  

ECON 6306 Applied Econometrics
ECON 6309 Econometrics I
ECON 6310 Econometrics II
ECON 6311/GIS 6311 Statistics for Economists
ECON 6316 Spatial Econometrics
ECON 6320 Game Theory for the Social Sciences
ECON 6380 Experimental Economics
ECON 7315 Econometrics III
ECON 7316 Game Theory
EPPS 6304 Advanced Analytic Techniques
EPPS 6310 Research Design I
EPPS 6342 Research Design II
EPPS 6346 Qualitative Research Methods
EPPS 6352 Evaluation Research Methods in EPPS
EPPS 7304 Cost-Benefit Analysis
EPPS 7318 Structural Equation and Multilevel (Hierarchical) Modeling
EPPS 7344 Categorical and Limited Dependent Variables
EPPS 7370 Time Series Analysis
EPPS 7380 Applied Multivariate Analysis
EPPS 7390 Bayesian Analysis for the Social and Behavioral Sciences
GISC 6301 Geospatial Data Analysis Fundamentals
GISC 6317 Computer Programming for GIS
GISC 7310 Regression Analysis with Spatial Applications
PSCI 6325 Decision Theory
PSCI 6353 Mathematical Models in Political and Social Science
PSCI 6364 Public Opinion and Survey Research
PSCI 7352 Choice and Decision Making
PSCI 7372 Game Theory for Political Scientists

Other courses as approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Last Updated: July 18, 2012