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Rules and Requirements

Thank you for your interest in our Ph.D. program. Here you will find in-depth information about our Department, including our history, philosophy, and curriculum. We are recognized as one of the top ten programs in the nation, as evidenced by the most recent rankings by U.S. News & World Report and the National Academy of Sciences. We also were rated #1 in the nation in overall graduate student satisfaction (National Doctoral Program Survey). As you might imagine, we are very proud of our faculty, our program, and our students.

Our Department believes that political science is a coherent discipline, rather than independent subfields loosely grouped under a shared umbrella. As a reflection of this belief, our program is designed to break down barriers and build bridges across the subfields and give all of our students a broad command of the discipline as a whole, regardless of their area(s) of specialization.

In accordance with these principles, we have recently reformed our graduate program to include a first-year curriculum required of all incoming students and composed of two quarters of courses in Analytic Theory and two quarters of Research Methods courses. Our graduate program is a unique statement about the discipline of political science. No similar attempt to unify the curriculum has been undertaken in any other department in the country. 

We also require all students in-residence to be enrolled in their field workshop of choice (POLI 280-289) and attend both integrated and field workshops regularly. This includes first-year through Nth-year students. The Integrated Workshop is designed to promote intellectual engagement and conversations across fields, so as to better prepare our students to conduct research that scholars across fields will care about. The workshop will allow students in all years to present research ideas and early work. It also includes a number of professional development sessions. The Integrated Workshop meets approximately every other Monday. The off-weeks will offer an opportunity for subfield-specific meetings. 

Our program is designed to be completed in four to six years. In the first two years of the program, students attend seminars, write a research paper, and attempt a comprehensive examination. Students then finalize a dissertation prospectus and defend it before their dissertation committee. Students spend their fourth year and beyond conducting their dissertation research, writing their dissertation, and defending their completed project before their committee.


Washington Monthly ranks UCSD 7th

UC San Diego has ranked 7th out of 1,488 institutions in Washington Monthly's 2015 national university college rankings.


U.S. News ranks UCSD Poli Sci Graduate School 9th

UCSD Graduate School (Political Science) ranked 9th; 4th in International Politics.


U.S. News ranks UCSD 15th globally

UCSD ranked 15th out of 1,250 universities around the world.

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