Program Rules and Guidelines
These rules apply to all students entering the Ph.D. program after August 15, 2008. These rules supersede all other rules and are intended to be a complete list of all department-wide rules in force. These rules are in addition to the various rules set by the Office of Graduate Studies and Research (OGSR). Students should consult the General Catalog for the OGSR rules. These rules may be supplemented by the individual field requirements.
- Students must complete eighteen quarter courses before the end of the second year with an overall grade point average of 3.3 or better.
- All students must complete the six-course core curriculum, Political Science 200A-C and 204A-C. No other UCSD courses may be substituted to fulfill this requirement.
- Fifteen of these eighteen quarter courses must be offered by the department, with a number between Political Science 200 and 279 (Political Science 200A-C and 204A-C, count toward this requirement).
- No more than three courses, offered within or outside the department, may be taken on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.
- In some individual fields the faculty normally recommends that students take more graded courses in political science than the minimum.
- Additional requirements, such as coursework or research skills including proficiency in a foreign language, may be set by the faculty in any examination area as a prerequisite for taking the General Examination in that area.
- A student who has completed work toward a graduate degree in political science at another institution prior to enrollment at UCSD is subject to all requirements of the UCSD program. The only exception is as follows: With permission of the Department's Director of Graduate Studies a student that has received a graduate degree in political science at another institution may count up to four quarter-course equivalents (taken at other institutions) toward the eighteen-course requirement, including the core curriculum.
- Good progress toward the Ph.D. requires that a student complete nine courses by the end of the first year. In addition to the six course core curriculum, students are advised to complete two or three field core courses during their first year. At the end of the second year good progress requires completion of eighteen courses, of which at least fifteen must be numbered between Political Science 200 and 279.
- A student who has not made good progress in coursework may receive no more than a 33% teaching or research assistantship from the Department for the following year. Students on a UCSD fellowship may receive no more than two-thirds of their stipend for the following year.
Effective Fall 2015. General Examination Rules. (Approved by Graduate Council Nov. 11, 2014).
By the end of the second year, a student must stand for the general examination. The general examination consists of written examinations in each of two fields and an oral examination. The department offers examinations in five fields: American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory, and methodology. It is expected that students complete their field requirements prior to sitting for the general examination. By the first day of spring quarter of the second year each student must submit to the graduate coordinator a general examination plan identifying the two fields within which exams will be taken. The general examination will normally take place during the seventh week of spring quarter. Normally, each written examination will be taken on a separate day within a one-week period, and the oral examination will be given within two weeks of the completion of the written examinations.
Written field examinations last six hours. These examinations cover major theoretical approaches in a field. They are structured so that passing requires general knowledge and understanding of important work in the field as a whole. These examinations cover in greater depth one subfield within a major research literature. Written examinations are open-note and open-book. Students are expected to do their own work, and to compose their answers on the day of the examination. Text from computer files may not be downloaded into these answers.
The oral examination normally lasts between one and two hours, and covers two written examinations and the student’s seminar paper. A student must take the oral examination, even if one or two of the written examinations or the seminar paper is such that it is deemed impossible to pass the entire examination.
Each field has a designated field coordinator, appointed by the department chair in consultation with the director of graduate studies. The field coordinator, in consultation with the faculty in the field, prepares the written examinations. Each general examination is graded by a committee of four faculty members, with two from each of the student's examination fields. These examiners are nominated by the field coordinator and appointed by the department chair. Students are normally informed of the composition of general examination boards during the fourth week of the spring quarter.
Each general examination is graded in its entirety. A student passes or fails the entire examination, not simply parts of it. The examination committee may assign a grade of fail, pass, or distinction. A student passes the general examination if at least three examiners vote to assign a grade of pass or better. A student receives a grade of distinction by vote of at least three examiners. The student will receive written notification of the examination committee's decision. A student who fails the general examination must retake it at least one week prior to the start of the fall quarter of the third year. A student who fails the general examination twice will not be permitted to continue in the graduate program in political science.
Good progress toward the PhD requires that a student complete the general examination by the end of the second year. A student who has not attempted all parts of the general examination by the end of the second year may not continue in the program.
- A student must complete one seminar paper in one of his or her examination fields. This paper may be written as part of the requirements for a regularly scheduled seminar course or in an independent research course.
- Certification that a paper fulfills the seminar paper requirement is at the sole discretion of the faculty member supervising the work (i.e., the instructor of the course for which the paper was written).
- A student may not take the General Examination before fulfilling the seminar paper requirement. A final draft of the paper, along with the appropriate form certifying that the paper meets the seminar paper requirement, must be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator before the written portion of the General Examination may be taken. Copies of the seminar paper will be distributed to the General Examination committee.
Effective Fall 2015. General Examination Rules. (Approved by Graduate Council Nov. 11, 2014).
A student must complete one seminar paper in one of his or her examination fields. This paper may be written as part of the requirements for a regularly scheduled seminar course or in an independent research course.
Guidelines for the Seminar Paper
- Acceptable article length for most journals is eight thousand to ten thousand words and seminar papers should be a similar length.
- The basic structure of the article should include:
- An introduction framing the significance of the question, sketching the answer, and (where subfield appropriate) delineating the research design and empirical findings
- A comprehensive yet succinct literature review placing the research in the context of prior work on the subject
- A discussion of research design (where subfield appropriate)
- Appropriate empirical analysis (where subfield appropriate)
- A conclusion highlighting the contributions of the research and returning to general questions
- Papers must be solo authored.
Examples of recent published articles written by UC San Diego graduate students will be available to students upon request.
Papers may draw from papers originally written for courses. However, it is generally the case that course papers will need substantial revision before becoming suitable seminar papers. Students may write papers in fields other than their first or second exam fields.
Students must identify an adviser for the seminar paper. Seminar paper advisers may be the first-year adviser but are not required to be. Seminar paper advisers may go on to supervise dissertations but are not required to do so. Advisers must agree (certified in writing, to the graduate program coordinator) to serve this purpose by 4:00 p.m. on Friday of the eighth week of fall quarter. Penalties for failing to identify an adviser by this due date are at the discretion of the director of Graduate Studies. Students are advised to contact the director of Graduate Studies or their field chair if they are having difficulty identifying an adviser.
Students must submit a rough draft of the seminar paper (in hard copy and electronic form) to the graduate program coordinator by 4:00 p.m. on Friday of the first full week of spring quarter. The graduate program coordinator is responsible for ensuring that a copy of the paper is provided to the seminar paper adviser. Students failing to submit a draft of the paper by this deadline will not be permitted to take the comprehensive exam in the spring quarter. Please note that this implies leaving the program.
Students should submit a penultimate draft of the paper to the seminar paper adviser one week prior to the final draft due date. Students must submit a final draft of the seminar paper (in hard copy and electronic form) to the graduate program coordinator by 4:00 p.m. on Monday of the week prior to the written exams. Students failing to submit a final draft of the paper by this deadline will not be permitted to take the comprehensive exam in the spring quarter. Please note that this implies leaving the program.
- During the third year a student must be enrolled in a departmental workshop (course numbers 280-89). Departmental workshops are intended to introduce students to advanced research in political science, and to facilitate the completion of the doctoral dissertation. Workshops typically meet on a bi-weekly basis, and include discussion of common readings, public talks, and student presentations. Each field is responsible for maintaining or identifying a workshop for students writing a dissertation in that field.
- During the third year each student is required to present a draft dissertation prospectus or an original piece of research to a workshop at least once. A form indicating completion of this requirement must be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator by the end of the third year.
- Good progress toward the Ph.D. requires that a student complete three quarters of a departmental workshop and present a draft dissertation prospectus or an original piece of research to a workshop by the end of the third year.
- A student who has not completed these requirements by the end of the third year may receive no more than a 33%. teaching or research assistantship from the Department until the quarter after the workshop requirement is fulfilled. Students on a UCSD fellowship may receive no more than two-thirds of their stipend until this requirement is fulfilled.
- First and second year students may enroll in workshops (workshop credits will not count towards the eighteen quarter courses required before the end of the second year). Students in their fourth year and above may re-enroll in workshops for department course credits.
Doctoral students in the Department of Political Science who do not already hold an MA may apply for an MA after successfully completing fifteen quarter courses, nine of which must be numbered between Political Science 200 and 279, and one seminar paper approved by a member of the Department.
- In order to advance to candidacy, a student must prepare a dissertation prospectus and pass an oral examination. Rules governing this examination have been established by the Graduate School and are printed in the University catalog.
- By the end of spring quarter of the second year each student must submit a form to the Graduate Coordinator identifying a faculty member as Third-Year Prospectus Advisor. (The role of the Third-Year Advsior is described below under Advising and Evaluation). By October 15 of the third year each student must submit to the Graduate Coordinator a form identifying a tentative topic of the prospectus.
- Good progress toward the Ph.D. requires that students advance to candidacy by end of the fall quarter of the fourth year. A student who fails to advance to candidacy by the end of the fall quarter of the fourth year may receive no more than a 33% teaching or research assistantship from the Department for the following quarters until advancing to candidacy. Students who have received guaranteed funding may receive no more than two-thirds of their stipend for the subsequent quarters until advancing to candidacy.
- A student who fails to advance to candidate by the end of the summer of their fourth year will not be permitted to continue in the graduate program in political science.
- By the end of the sixth year good progress requires completion of the dissertation.
- A student who fails to complete the dissertation by the end of the sixth year may be denied all departmental financial assistance.
- Each incoming student is assigned a temporary faculty advisor by the Director of Graduate Studies. At the end of the first year students are given the opportunity to confirm that advisor or select a new one.
- By the end of the spring quarter of the second of the second year each student must select a faculty member from the department to serve as a Third-year Prospectus Advisor. The Third-year Prospectus Advisor will help guide the student in writing the prospectus and selecting a dissertation committee. It is not assumed that the Prospectus Advisor will subsequently chair the dissertation committee, or even be a member of it. Those roles should be determined as the prospectus develops.
- During the spring quarter each student is evaluated by his/her advisor in consultation with the departmental faculty. The student will receive a written evaluation from the advisor each year. The student must sign this evaluation for it to become an official part of the student's departmental file.
- As part of the first-year review each student must complete a plan of study that identifies a faculty seminar paper supervisor, two examination fields, a focus area, and intended preparation in each. This plan must be signed by the student's faculty advisor and submitted to the Graduate Coordinaator by the end of spring quarter of the first year.