Program of Study | Political Science | SIU

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Program of Study

Master’s Degree in Political Science

Our M.A. degree requires 30 credit hours of coursework.  Within this total, students must take two subfield proseminars that provide surveys of relevant theory (6 credit hours total), two courses of research methods (6 credit hours total, POLS 500a Research Design and POLS 500b Quantitative Data Analysis), and a Pre-Professional Seminar (1 credit, POLS 593).  In addition, students write a Research Paper that must be approved by two faculty members.

The time required to finish the M.A. degree varies depending on the student's abilities, drive, financial support, and research paper topic.  Typically, the MA takes 1.5 years to complete.

» Program Requirements (PDF)

Doctoral Degree (Ph.D.) in Political Science

Our Ph.D. degree requires 28 credit hours of regular coursework (graduate courses at SIU are normally 3 credits each).  Within this total, students must take two subfield proseminars that provide surveys of relevant theory (6 credit hours total), two courses of research methods (6 credit hours total, POLS 500a Research Design and POLS 500b Quantitative Data Analysis), and a Pre-Professional Seminar (1 credit, POLS 593).

In addition to coursework, doctoral students must pass written preliminary examinations in two of the following subfields. 

  • Comparative Politics
  • International Relations
  • Political Behavior
  • Public Administration and Policy Analysis
  • Public Law

After passing two written preliminary examinations (which may be taken in the same or consecutive semesters), students take an oral examination.

Finally, students must write and defend a dissertation (for which they register for 24 credit hours of POLS 600 Dissertation). The Ph.D. dissertation is an original piece of research which, including research, writing and defense, normally takes a year or more to complete. Upon completion, the thesis is defended before a five-member committee composed of faculty who are qualified to judge its quality and the significance of its contribution to the discipline.

The time required to finish the doctoral degree varies depending on the student's abilities, drive, financial support, needed coursework, and research required for the student’s dissertation thesis topic.  Typically, the Ph.D. takes four years to complete.