Political science has a rich history at Tulane, which is where the American Political Science Association was founded in 1903. Today, our PhD program prepares students to ask innovative questions, conduct independent research, and become effective teachers. In training students, we emphasize the importance of mastering methodology and research design and using those tools to analyze how political phenomena develop around the world. Our faculty has broad expertise – the department consists of scholars who study domestic and international politics, in relation to the United States and the countries of Latin America, Africa, Europe, and Asia.
The substantive concerns that motivate the research of our faculty and students consist of the politics of inclusion and exclusion; the consequences of inequality; obstacles to sustainable development; international trade, cooperation, and conflict; the protection of human rights; and the foundations of durable authoritarianism. Those thematic research foci intersect in multiple ways and jointly contribute to informing our understanding of some of the most pressing global concerns of our times. The department is methodologically diverse and inclusive of different approaches to the study of politics.
The PhD requirements include 48 credits of coursework; passing comprehensive exams; developing a dissertation prospectus; and defending a dissertation. The 48 credits of required coursework are to be distributed as follows:
|Required POLS Courses||15|
|Scope & Methods for Poli Sci|
|Research Methods I|
|Research Methods II|
|Graduate Professional Skills|
|One Course in American Politics or Theory||3|
|Five 6000 or 7000 Level POLS Electives||15|
At Least Two Courses in Field 1 (Comparative or IR)
Two Courses in Field 2 (Comparative or IR)
|No More Than Three Electives Outside POLS 1||9|
|Attendance at POLS Seminar for One Year||0|
|Total Credit Hours||48|
Language courses may be taken only with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.
During their fifth semester, students will take qualifying exams in the two areas of substantive concentration, one in their first field and another in their second field or in Methods. The first field can be either Comparative Politics (with International Relations being the second field) or International Relations (with Comparative Politics being the second field). Exams will be written and by the end of the sixth semester both exams must be passed.
During their graduate training, students may be required to teach for at least two semesters, at least one of which will be an introductory course in Comparative Politics, International Relations, or Scope and Methods.
Dissertation committees will include three or, at most, four professors, with a chairperson from Political Science. With the approval of the committee chair, student may add one member outside of the Political Science Department (or outside Tulane). Students are required to take the Professional Skills Seminar and to begin dissertation prospectus preparation during their fifth semester; and, by the end of their third year, students will present a written prospectus for dissertation research and conduct an oral defense before their committee. On defending their prospectus, students will advance to candidacy, and will have three years in which to complete their dissertation.