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University of Pittsburgh    
2018-2019 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jul 20, 2024
2018-2019 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Political Science, PhD

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Requirements for the PhD

Credit Requirement: A minimum of 72 credit hours, including the master’s degree, earned from any suitable combination of formal course work, independent study, research, teaching, or dissertation work as detailed elsewhere in this bulletin.

Students in the PhD program must choose two fields. The requirements for the first field are outlined above in the section regarding requirements for the MA. Unless otherwise stated below, students are required to complete at least four graduate seminars beyond the departmental core (PS 2000 , PS 2010 , PS 2030 , and PS 2040 ) from one of the remaining five fields of study for their second field.

PhD Qualifying Examinations: At the conclusion of the first year, all students will face a “first year review” before the entire faculty. The faculty will review each student, based on his or her performance in the first year, to determine whether or not he or she should continue in the program. Students who have passed this review are considered to have passed the PhD Qualifying Examination.

Supervised Teaching Experience: Supervised teaching experience is an integral part of the doctoral program. Normally, teaching experience is gained by conducting recitation sections of an introductory course or by assisting a faculty member in an undergraduate course, followed by the teaching of one’s own course, in the fourth or fifth year of study.

Comprehensive Examination: Students take a PhD comprehensive examination after approximately one year of coursework beyond the MA, comprising a written exam in both fields, with a possible oral exam if the results of the written exam are unclear.

Dissertation Overview: Following successful completion of the comprehensive examination, the student files an application for admission to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. At this stage the student presents a proposed topic for doctoral research and a research design for its execution to be reviewed by the dissertation committee.

Dissertation Defense: The final oral examination in defense of the doctoral dissertation is conducted by the doctoral committee and is open to the University community.

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