Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science


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

Mission Statement

The Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science provides a rigorous, sharply focused disciplinary program with strong multidisciplinary links. The Program consists of innovative, state-of-the-science graduate education in political methodology and the fields of Decision Making and Public Management, Democratization, Globalization and International Relations, and Political and Government Institutions and Processes. Students’ research skill development and degree completion are facilitated by a rolling cohort design. In the first year of the cohort, 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, how institutions can be designed to promote both collective goods and individual gains, and how changes in institutions have consequences for individuals.

         Students will describe and explain the theories, models and practices of group activity, human decision making, management science, organizational design, policy making, and risk assessment involving knowledge producers, private firms, and government agencies and departments.

         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 two computing laboratories which house over 50 computers that are network linked and equipped with major social science software packages, including E-Views, R, RATS, SPSS, and STATA. A computerized geographic information system, 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.

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 edit or co-edit the American Journal of Political Science and Electoral Studies.

To attract the best students, editorial, research and teaching assistantships are available. Fellowships are offered through the Center for The Study of Texas Politics. Editorial assistantships are available through several of the professional journals supported by the University. 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, 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 90 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 Decision Making and Public Management; Democratization, Globalization, and International Relations; and Political and Government Institutions and Processes. Additional coursework includes four courses in the major field, two courses in the minor field, four courses of prescribed elective credit, and three-to-six courses of freely chosen credit. Prior to admission to doctoral candidacy and further work on the dissertation or practicum, the student must pass three examinations – in the core, in the major field, and in the minor field.

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
Prescribed Elective Credit (Research Seminars or Special Topics) 12
Freely Chosen Elective Credit for DG&IR or I&P as Major Field 9-18
Other Courses Required for PM&DM as Major Field 9-18
Dissertation or Practicum Research 21-30
Total (Minimum) 90

Core Courses

PSCI 5301 Proseminar in Democratization, Globalization and International Relations
PSCI 5303 Proseminar in Public Policymaking and Institutions
PSCI 5305 Proseminar in Decision Making and Public Management
PSCI 5350 Logic, Methodology and Scope of Political Science
PSCI 5352 Empirical Democratic Theory
PSCI 5360 Data Collection and Analysis in Political and Social Science
PSCI 5362 Multivariate Models for Analyzing Political and Social Science Data

Democratization, Globalization and International Relations

PSCI 6309 International Political Economy and Organizations
PSCI 6310 Political Economy of Multinational Corporations
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 7320 International Negotiations

Political and Government Institutions and Processes

PSCI 5302 Law and The Policy Process
PSCI 5304 Policy Processes, Implementation and Evaluation
PSCI 6324 Local and State Government and Politics
PSCI 6331 Executives, Legislatures and Public Policy
PSCI 6333 Political and Civic Organizations
PSCI 6336 Bureaucracy and Public Policy
PSCI 6337 Comparative Institutions
PSCI 7344 Gender and Public Policy
PSCI 7350 Institutions and Citizen Behavior
PSCI 7352 Theories of Choice and Decision Making
PSCI 6323 Public Choice
PSCI 6339 Election Law and Electoral Systems

Decision Making and Public Management

PSCI 5302 Law and The Policy Process
PSCI 5315 Public Management
PSCI 5353 Emergency Management
PSCI 5364 Mathematical Models in Political and Social Science
PSCI 6320 Organizational Theory
PSCI 6323 Public Choice
PSCI 6325 Decision Theory
PSCI 6326 Decision Tools for Managers
PSCI 6328 Management Process and Analysis
PSCI 6329 Quantitative Models of Public Management
PSCI 7352 Theories of Choice and Decision Making
PSCI 7370 Decision Making, Complexity and Risk
PSCI 7372 Game Theory for Political Scientists

Students who select this field as their major field also are expected to take:
POEC 5305 Microeconomics
POEC 7340 Domestic Social Policy
ACN 6330 Cognitive Science

Other Courses

PSCI 7V81 Special Topics in Political Science
PSCI 7V83 Independent Study
PSCI 8381 Research Seminar in Political Science
PSCI 8V99 Dissertation or Practicum