2012 - 2013 Site Archive



Graduate Bulletin

Political Science, Ph.D.



Admission Requirements and Deadlines
Application Deadline:

Fall: January 15

Applications are evaluated as they arrive.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:

Number Required: 3

From Whom:  Letters of recommendation should be obtained from college/university faculty members familiar with academic competence.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration:

No specific coursework is required.

Master's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

A master's degree is not required.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

A baccalaureate degree is required.

Statement of Goals:

The Statement of Goals should be approximately 500-1,000 words and should include the following elements: your interest in Temple's program; your research goals; your future career goals; and your academic and research achievements.

Standardized Test Scores:

The GRE is required. Minimum scores of 156 verbal and 148 quantitative are expected.

Minimum TOEFL score needed to be accepted: 100 iBT or 600 PBT.


A  resume is required.

Writing Sample:

The writing sample should demonstrate your ability to research and write a scholarly paper. The paper should be no more than 25 pages and fully referenced according to a professional, scholarly style manual.

Advanced Standing:

For students entering the Ph.D. program who have received an M.A. degree elsewhere, up to 30 credits may be applied to the doctoral program, provided they are relevant to the department's required courses. These credits must have been obtained no more than five years prior to the student’s matriculation at Temple and the grades must be "B" or better. The Graduate Chair decides which courses students may transfer. As a general rule, transfer students should expect that they will have to complete much of the required coursework in residence. Students transferring into the Ph.D. program should note that it is advisable to take courses from Temple faculty in their major and minor fields before taking the Ph.D. Qualifying Exams in those two fields.

Program Requirements
General Program Requirements:

Number of Didactic Credits Required to Earn the Ph.D.: 55, including 30 credits at the master's level and 25 at the doctoral level

Required Courses for the Master's:

POLS 8000:  Topics in Research Design

POLS 8001:  Political Statistics I

And three of these four subfield core courses:

POLS 8101:  Government in American Society

POLS 8201:  Comparative Politics

POLS 8301:  International Politics

POLS 8401:  Introduction to Political Theory

Electives: Two elective courses taken in each of two main fields and one in a third minor field. M.A. students who plan to continue into the Ph.D. program should take two elective courses in each of the two fields in which they plan to complete written comprehensive exams and one in a third minor field. Students are also allowed to complete their fifth elective by registering for POLS 8002: Qualitative Research Methods or POLS 8003: Political Statistics II.

Required Courses Beyond the Master's:

POLS 8002:  Qualitative Research Methods


POLS 8003:  Political Statistics II

POLS 8501:  Symposium in Political Science

POLS 8601:  Teaching Methods

POLS 9998:  Pre-Dissertation Research

Taken after passing Ph.D. Qualifying Exams, the course is offered every Spring under the guidance of the Graduate Chair. The purpose of the course is to launch students on writing their dissertation proposals and preparing them for writing the dissertation. Regardless of whichever semester the student registers, students are required to do the following:

1. Under the guidance of their advisor (or if different from the advisor, the faculty member most likely to supervise their dissertation) and Graduate Chair, begin exploring possible dissertation topics through research and reading.

2. Attend seminar meetings in the Spring semester under the supervision of the Graduate Chair. At these sessions, the Graduate Chair presents information relevant to the development and preparation of dissertation proposals and chapters. Students are required to make presentations that address problems encountered in the proposal and dissertation writing process and strategies for overcoming them. Students who already have taken POLS 9998 are invited back to attend and participate in subsequent seminars and report on their progress and share their experiences with the students enrolled in the course.

POLS 9999:  Dissertation Research

Students usually register for 1 credit of POLS 9999 for every semester they are writing the dissertation. Students must register for POLS 9999 while writing their dissertation to remain in good standing in the program unless they file for a leave of absence.

Electives: At least three electives in the main Ph.D. field (American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, or Political Theory) and/or POLS 8002: Qualitative Research Methods or POLS 8003: Political Statistics II.

Internship: No internship is required.

Language Examination: No language examination is required.

Culminating Events:

Qualifying Examinations:

When the coursework requirements (excluding POLS 9998 and POLS 9999) are fulfilled, students wishing to apply for the Ph.D. program or students who were directly admitted into the Ph.D. program take the Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations in two of four fields: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Theory. Students must take exams in both fields at the same time.

Qualifying Exams are given twice each year near the beginning of each semester. Students must apply to take their exams before the deadline posted.

The examinations include both written and oral parts. Students are examined in two fields. Each field examination is conducted by at least three faculty selected from the subfield by the Graduate Chair in consultation with the Subfield Coordinator. The examiners have joint responsibility for writing and grading the field examination. In this exam, students must demonstrate depth and breadth of knowledge and intellectual sophistication across their main intended Ph.D. field and a second field. They should also be prepared to interpret political phenomena within the context of various theories; use empirical data to illuminate concepts; and be prepared to identify gaps in knowledge.

Students are encouraged to meet with faculty in their fields to discuss the general areas of content of the exams to ensure that they have accurately identified key theories, concepts, and literature. Professors may make sample questions, previous exams, or special reading lists available as study aids. In addition, core reading lists in each field may be available from the Graduate Coordinator. The lists represent a minimum of representative readings with which a candidate should be familiar.

Oral examinations for students who have passed their written exams are scheduled soon after the student receives notice of the passing of the written exam. Except under extraordinary circumstances, students should take the oral exams in the same semester as their written exams. Each oral examination committee consists of the written examiners. The oral exam allows the candidate to respond to the examiners' comments on the written exam and to demonstrate her/his ability to connect the specific issues addressed in the exam to other related areas of inquiry within the intended Ph.D. field and second field. Students are urged to carefully review the examiners’ comments on their written preliminary examinations in preparation for the orals.

In the oral exam (as well as in the oral defense of a dissertation discussed below), the student must be able to converse in English adequately for professional purposes. If, in the judgment of a majority of committee members, the student is not demonstrating this ability, the examination is suspended so that the student can take additional training in English language.

All incompletes on a student's transcript must be removed before a student can take the Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations regardless of how many credit hours a student has completed. In practice, all incompletes must be converted to a letter grade by the date on which the application to take the examinations is due. All examinations are conducted within a designated period once each semester. Students presenting themselves for examinations must take all their exams within a single exam period. The Graduate School specifies that any student who fails all or part of these examinations twice is automatically dismissed from the program.

Dissertation Proposal:

When students successfully complete their coursework, they are expected to begin work on the dissertation. A doctoral dissertation should demonstrate that the candidate can conduct scholarly research with a high level of professional competence. The dissertation should constitute a distinctive contribution to knowledge in Political Science. Normally, it should outline theoretical knowledge in some field of Political Science; propose a question or hypothesis that is linked to the theory; and provide empirical data to illuminate the theoretical issues in a convincing manner.

In consultation with the Graduate Chair, the candidate secures a principal dissertation advisor. This person must be a member of the Political Science Graduate Faculty and specialize in the area of the dissertation topic. Preferably in the semester immediately after the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam, and no more than two semesters thereafter, the candidate takes POLS 9998, the dissertation proposal preparation course, with the Graduate Chair and under the supervision of the advisor.

In consultation with the dissertation advisor, the student assembles a Doctoral Advisory Committee. The Doctoral Advisory Committee is to be composed of at least three Temple Graduate Faculty, at least two of whom have their primary presidential appointment in Political Science. The composition of the Doctoral Advisory Committee must be formally approved by the Graduate Chair. A student wishing to pursue a dissertation on a topic that requires supplementing the expertise of the department's faculty may have to seek a committee member from another department. The student has the burden of convincing the Graduate Chair that a committee with adequate expertise can be established with faculty willing to serve.

Students are required to submit a preliminary proposal not to exceed five double-spaced pages. The preliminary proposal should address both the question(s) to be examined and a justification for why those questions warrant a major study. Students are expected to show why these questions are or should be important to political scientists as well as to citizens. Only after the Doctoral Advisory Committee is satisfied that the student has written a persuasive preliminary proposal will the student be permitted to write a longer proposal, if the committee believes a longer proposal is warranted.

Successful completion of POLS 9998 culminates in the defense of the dissertation prospectus before the Doctoral Advisory Committee. The dissertation prospectus, consisting of a research design and literature review, should be defended and accepted by the full membership of the committee within two semesters after the completion of the Ph.D. coursework. No student is awarded financial assistance who has not successfully defended a prospectus within a year of completion of coursework. Students who fail to submit an approved dissertation proposal within two years of completing their Ph.D. coursework are subject to dismissal from the program. An approved proposal is a contract between the student and the Doctoral Advisory Committee. After approval, any significant theoretical or methodological change in the substantive direction of the project must be approved by the committee.

Once the prospectus is successfully defended, the student is advanced to candidacy. The Doctoral Advisory Committee must confer at least once a year with the student to review progress and provide advice. Students should take the initiative to schedule these exchanges and should ensure that written faculty comments on the exchange be placed in their graduate file.


The Graduate School requires that students working on a dissertation register for POLS 9999 in order to maintain status as an active graduate student.

Dissertators must submit final drafts of dissertations in an approved style and format. Students should use the required format in dissertation proposals in order to avoid significant reformatting at the end. This can be found in the Dissertation and Thesis Handbook on the Graduate School’s website at www.temple.edu/dissertationhandbook.

After the principal dissertation advisor and the committee have reviewed the completed dissertation draft, a fourth reader from outside the department who has not been involved with the dissertation previously must be selected by the dissertation committee chair and the Graduate Chair. (Students may suggest a reader.) This reader must be a Graduate Faculty member from another department at Temple or from another university who has the qualifications necessary to act as a fair judge of the dissertation's scholarly merit. This reader should receive a completed draft of the dissertation one month before the anticipated dissertation defense date. Readers who are from outside of Temple University must submit a curriculm vitae and be approved by the Graduate School at least 2 weeks prior to the oral defense.

When a majority of the Dissertation Examining Committee has judged (in writing) that the dissertation is ready to be defended, a defense date can be scheduled. A defense is open to the university community and to the student's family; others who wish to attend must obtain the written permission of the student and the examining committee. The defense must be announced publicly at least 10 working days in advance. Notice must be sent to all faculty members in the department and to the Graduate School. The public announcement of the defense should include an abstract of the dissertation.

The oral defense should demonstrate that the dissertation is commensurate with the standards for original research in Political Science; the ethics and standards governing Political Science research have been followed; the research and appropriate methodology have been mastered; and the candidate has an understanding of the relationship of this work to the broader field in which it is lodged. The defense must be chaired by a member of the committee other than the dissertation advisor. Passing the examination requires a vote of approval by more than half of the full membership of the Dissertation Examining Committee. If a dissertation is approved but revisions are required, the revisions must be submitted to the Graduate School in final form within 30 days of the defense. Otherwise, the defense is nullified and a new oral defense must be scheduled.

After the final draft of the dissertation has been approved by the dissertation chair, it must be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator and to the Graduate School by uploading the final document to www.etdadmin.com/cgi-bin/school?siteId=171.

Program Contact Information:


Department Information:

Dept. of Political Science

409 Gladfelter Hall
1115 Polett Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19122


Department Contacts:


Tanya Taylor


Graduate Chair:

Kevin Arceneaux, Ph.D.


Richard Deeg, Ph.D.

About the Program

The primary mission of the Political Science Department's graduate program is to prepare students for careers in academia. The department gives equal emphasis to training students for both the research and teaching sides of such a career. Many of our graduates also successfully apply their political science training to non-academic careers. The Ph.D. program offers study in four broadly defined fields: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Theory. The Ph.D. program seeks primarily to develop the research skills and substantive knowledge necessary for successful completion of a dissertation.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 7 years

Campus Location:


Full-Time/Part-Time Status:

Students are able to complete the degree program through classes offered after 3:00 p.m. Students are also able to complete the degree program on a part-time basis (8 credit hours or less per semester).

Department Information:

Dept. of Political Science

409 Gladfelter Hall
1115 Polett Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19122


Interdisciplinary Study:

Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Study Abroad:



Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Areas of Specialization:

Our particular strengths in American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Theory are reflected in the brief biographical statements of our Graduate Faculty members' research and teaching interests. In American Politics, faculty teach and conduct research on political behavior, political institutions, public policy, urban politics, and political economy. In Comparative Politics, faculty focus on the issues of democratization; public policymaking; the role of the state in the economy; and identity politics in European and post-communist states, Latin America, China, and other developing nations. In International Relations, faculty emphasize the various theoretical approaches to the study of world politics and the testing of such theories in the areas of international security, international political economy, and the study of international organizations. In Political Theory, our strengths cluster around the research areas of late modernity; democratic and normative political theories, especially those pertaining to political questions of social and economic inequality, globalization, identity politics, and social movements; and the relationship between politics and religion.

Job Placement:

Most Ph.D. students are preparing for college teaching careers. Our program has had an excellent placement record. About three-quarters of recent Ph.D.s hold tenured or tenure-track professorial positions at colleges and universities, many of which are in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware state university and college systems. Other Ph.D.s are in government or research positions.


Not applicable.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy:

Prior to applying for admission, students sometimes want to take courses as non-degree students. Those who wish to do so must first obtain the approval of the Graduate Chair in the Political Science Department to determine if the individual stands a reasonable chance for admission to the M.A. or Ph.D. program. Then, the prospective student must visit the Office of Continuing Studies with transcripts from all institutions attended, including the one that conferred the undergraduate degree, to be enrolled in the coursework.

Financing Opportunities

Departmental Support:

The department typically supports a portion of its graduate students as Teaching or Research Assistants. Students may not only assist professors in research and teaching, but also may teach courses on their own. Assistantships include full tuition, a stipend, and health insurance. Assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis. The amount of support available for entering students varies from year to year, in accordance with the University budget and contractual commitments with the Temple University Graduate Students’ Association (TUGSA). Assisting in research and undergraduate teaching helps graduate students integrate their studies and prepare for examinations, and gives those who plan on pursuing an academic career valuable experience.

In making funding awards, the Graduate Chair and committee place high priority on a student's academic performance and potential. The following rules and criteria guide the committee’s decisions for continuing students:

  • The student must be making normal progress toward meeting her/his degree requirements. Two incompletes disqualify a student from consideration for financial assistance. Advanced students should note that no student will be awarded financial assistance who has not successfully defended a dissertation prospectus within a year of passing the comprehensive examinations.
  • To spread support more broadly and to provide an incentive for students to move quickly through coursework and examinations and into the dissertation, the department typically will not provide financial aid for students who have already had five years of support as a Graduate Assistant. 

The graduate committee also considers the extent to which a student's interests and skills fit departmental needs as well as a student's financial need.

In applications for financial assistance, students who have had prior teaching experience, either at Temple or elsewhere, should include syllabi of courses they have taught as well as any student assessments that have been taken.

Graduate School Support:

The Graduate School offers Presidential and University Fellowships to the very best applicants on a competitive basis for newly and recently admitted Ph.D. students. The department nominates students to the Graduate School for these awards. All application materials for such scholarships, including official report of GRE scores, must arrive at the department no later than January 15. In addition to excellent grades and GRE scores, applicants are expected to have strong letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose that conveys a sense of the applicant’s intellectual evolution and professional trajectory, as well as demonstrates a good fit between the student’s scholarly interests and those of the faculty. The fellowships in this category are:

  • Presidential Fellowships (for doctoral candidates not yet enrolled at Temple) provide a stipend  plus tuition, for up to two years, plus up to two additional years of support as a Teaching and/or Research Assistant.
  • University Fellowships (for doctoral students not yet enrolled at Temple, as well as Temple graduate students who have not earned more than 24 graduate credits) provide a stipend plus tuition, for up to two years, plus up to two additional years of support as a Teaching and/or Research Assistant.

In addition to these programs, the University has a Future Faculty Fellowship Program for students who intend to become college professors. The program provides tuition and a stipend comparable to a University Fellowship. Nominees to this program must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Applicants interested in this program should craft their statements of purpose carefully, emphasizing both eligibility under one of the criteria below and their commitment to a career in higher education. Factors considered in evaluating nominees include membership in an ethnic or gender group that is underrepresented in the nominee's discipline; a record of exceptional and continuous leadership ability in substantial college or community activities; the likelihood of successfully completing a terminal degree program; and exceptional circumstances or significant obstacles that a nominee has overcome in preparation for her/his education.

Finally, for students nearing completion of their dissertations, the Graduate School offers a limited number of Doctoral Dissertation Completion Grants. Doctoral candidates with approximately 6 months of anticipated writing to complete their dissertations may apply for this grant. These awards are given on a competitive basis. Students should apply for these awards only when all other department and university support have been exhausted, and when a persuasive case can be made that the dissertation will be completed within the time period of the grant. No more aid will be available after the awarding of such a grant. Interested students should speak to the Graduate Chair at least one term before they plan to apply for the award. Application can be made in the Fall or Spring semester.

Updated 2.12.13