PhD in Political Science

The Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Political Science at Florida International University is designed to provide students with a comprehensive knowledge of the discipline. The department's graduate program in Political Science builds on faculty strengths and distinguishes itself by stressing a comparative approach to the study of politics. The program is designed to equip its graduates with a solid foundation in the basic theories and methods of Political Science, in conjunction with an in-depth education in selected traditional subfields.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Ph.D. program is highly competitive. Meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee acceptance.

The minimum requirements for admission to the Ph.D. program include:

  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
  • A minimum grade point average of 3.2 (on a 4.0 scale) during the last two years of a student's undergraduate program and/or a graduate grade point average of 3.25.
  • A GRE score no more than five years old.
  • Graduates of non-U.S. institutions must be academically eligible for further study in the country where the degree was earned.
  • International graduate student applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit either a score for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). A total score of 80 on the iBT TOEFL or 6.5 overall on the IELTS is required.

Admission Procedures

Applicants seeking admission for the Fall semester must submit all application materials by January 15th to receive full consideration for funding. Applications cannot be considered by the Graduate Admissions Committee until all required materials have been submitted. Admissions decision will be announced no later than April 15th. Applicants must apply online using the website of the FIU University Graduate School. The following items should be submitted to the FIU University Graduate School:

  • Official transcripts of all university-level work, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional school courses.
  • An official report of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.
  • For International applicants whose native language is not English, a score for either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

In addition, applicants must submit the following directly to the Political Science Graduate Admissions Committee at the following address: Graduate Program, Department of Politics and International Relations, Modesto A. Maidique, 11200 SW 8th Street, SIPA 436, Miami, Florida 33199:

  • Three letters of reference from former instructors who are able to evaluate the applicant's potential for graduate study. Applicants should ensure that each letter is signed by the author along the sealed flap of the envelope.
  • A personal statement of intent, including a discussion of education and career objectives and the specific relationship of a degree in Political Science to the achievement of those objectives. The personal statement should not exceed three typewritten, double-spaced pages or 1,000 words.

Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. program requires a minimum 76 credit hours beyond the Bachelor’s degree.

The Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science is conferred based on satisfactory completion of required course work, a demonstrated mastery of a broad field of knowledge, and successful completion and defense of the dissertation. The degree provides graduates with a solid foundation in the basic theories and methodologies of political science in conjunction with specialization in traditional subfields. Students will, in consultation with their faculty advisors, determine the contents of their course work. Students will specialize in two examination fields drawn from among the four of the principal subfields of Political Science: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Politics, and Political Theory. Students are also required to take additional coursework in a third, non-examined field of specialization. The third specialization field is satisfied by a minimum of 9 credit hours in a regionally or topically defined area.

Students’ proposed programs must be approved by their advisors and the Political Science Graduate Studies Committee.

Required Courses (10 credits)

  • POS 5702 Teaching Political Science (1)
  • POS 5706 Research Methodology (3)
  • POS 5716 Foundations of Political Science (3)
  • POS 6918 Seminar in Political Science Methodology (3)

Common Core Courses (12 credits)

  • CPO 5091 Seminar in Comparative Politics (3)
  • INR 5007 Seminar in International Politics (3)
  • POS 5045 Seminar in American Politics (3)
  • POT 5007 Seminar in Political Theory (3)
  • Two Examination Fields (minimum 12 credits)
  • Third Specialization (minimum 9 credits)
  • Approved Electives (minimum 9 credits)

Language Requirement

The Political Science Ph.D. Program requires competency in one foreign language or demonstrated competency in computer and methodological techniques when considered more appropriate. Language competency must be demonstrated prior to taking the comprehensive examinations.

Comprehensive Examinations

After satisfactory completion of course work, students will take comprehensive exams in two chosen subfields before being admitted to candidacy and defending a dissertation proposal. The comprehensive exams requires a demonstration of broad knowledge of the two examination fields.

Comprehensive examinations are given twice yearly, in mid-September and in mid-January.

Dissertation (minimum 24 credits)

After passing the comprehensive exams, students are admitted to candidacy and enroll for dissertation credits under the supervision of their dissertation advisors. Candidates will prepare and defend a dissertation proposal. Upon completion of the work, a public defense of the dissertation will be scheduled in accordance with university policy.

Financial Aid

The program has a limited number of graduate assistantships available for qualified students. Assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis only to full-time students. Students applying for full-time status are considered automatically for these awards. Assistantships are renewable each year for up to four years based on satisfactory progress and performance. Applications must be completed by the January 15 deadline to receive full consideration for funding.