Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Program

Graduate Director
Associate Professor Sharon F. Lean
gradpolisci@wayne.edu

The Ph.D. program in Political Science offers many advantages, including small class sizes and a faculty dedicated to excellence in both teaching and research.

Our doctoral program is premised on the assumption that students possess a strong intellectual interest in political science. We have structured coursework requirements to enable you to acquire a sound understanding of the methodology of political science, an excellent knowledge of your major area of concentration and good knowledge of two other minor fields. Through coursework and independent study, you are expected to become conversant with the major theoretical approaches in the discipline as well as the issues and controversies within your major and minor fields.

Below you will find more information about our Ph.D. program.


Why Pursue a Ph.D. in political science at WSU?

  • Wayne State is a nationally ranked, graduate/professional research university.
  • Seventy-five doctorates and many more master's degrees have been granted by the department since the program began 30 years ago. Our graduates have gone on to faculty positions at universities including Arizona State University, Auburn University, Chatham University, Grand Valley State University, Ohio Northern University, Saginaw Valley State University, University of Illinois-Chicago, University of Michigan-Dearborn and University of Michigan-Flint. Others work for government agencies, non-profit organizations and private sector research firms.
  • Graduate courses are taught by experienced, full-time faculty who are active scholars and effective teachers.
  • Our graduate classes are small, often enrolling fewer than 15 students. Our students are a diverse and dynamic mix.
  • Graduate students have many opportunities to work closely with full-time faculty to develop research projects, conference presentations and scholarly publications.
  • In order to facilitate graduate study by both full-time and part-time students, graduate courses are almost exclusively offered in the late afternoon or evenings.
  • WSU is located in the heart of the University Cultural Center of Detroit, Michigan. Its neighbors include the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Historical Museum, Museum of African American History, the Detroit Science Center, The Fisher Theatre, Orchestra Hall and The Detroit Medical Center.
  • The 180-acre WSU campus and the nearby areas represent one of the safest urban locales in the state of Michigan. The university's record of safety compares favorably with other large universities in the country.
  • Tuition at WSU is lower than at comparable universities.
  • The WSU main campus is easily accessible by freeway from all parts of southeastern Michigan with ample on-campus parking.

Admissions Requirements

Decisions to admit students for doctoral work are based upon the Graduate Committee's evaluation of the applicant's qualifications. The decision is based on the following information:

Undergraduate Transcripts

A grade point average of at least 3.0 in the last two years of graduate study is required for regular admission to the doctoral program. Applicants without previous graduate work or with less than a Master's degree in Political Science are required to have completed at least 12 semester credits of Political Science or equivalent coursework, together with 12 semester credits of other social science coursework. Students with good general records but with deficiencies in undergraduate work may be required to complete additional courses, without regard to level, which shall not be included as a formal part of the doctoral program. Such additional work may also be validated through credit by examination.

Applicants with an outstanding undergraduate record and a high score on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) may apply directly for admission to the doctoral program. However, the Graduate Committee may require completion of the Master's program before acceptance to doctoral student status.

Graduate Transcripts

Applicants seeking admission to doctoral work with a Master's degree are required to have completed 16 semester credits of Political Science or equivalent, together with 12 semester credits of other social sciences in previous graduate and undergraduate work. For regular admission the minimum acceptable grade point average for graduate work is 3.25.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

All applicants for admission to the doctoral program must take the verbal, quantitative and analytical aptitude sections of the GRE. The Department must receive the results of the GRE before the student's application will be considered. Normally, a minimum combined verbal and quantitative score of  300 (1000 on the old scale)  will be required for admission, with a quantitive score of at least 144 (500 on the old scale).  Applicants who are otherwise qualified but who have not submitted GRE scores will be considered for non-degree admission only.

The GRE is a standardized test, designed to measure a person’s verbal, quantitative, and analytic abilities. Just like an applicant’s grade point average, it is an indicator of potential for academic success. All applicants have areas of strength and weakness, so you can expect to do better on some parts of the GRE than others. We understand this and look at the applicant’s overall performance on the examination, not just a single part. Applicants should take only the General Test, not any of the specialized tests.

For further information on the GRE, go to the GRE website at gre.org. The GRE code for Wayne State University is 1898, the code for Political Science is 1902.

  • English Proficiency: International applicants who do not speak English as a native language must demonstrate English language proficiency.  More information about language requirements can be found here.
  • Three Letters of Recommendation: Applicants are required to submit three letters of recommendation from persons able to offer assessments of their academic ability. It is the responsibility of the applicant to secure such letters.
  • Personal Statement: Applicants are required to submit a short personal statement outlining their reasons for seeking the doctorate and explaining career goals and areas of major interest in doctoral study.
  • Personal Interview: The Graduate Committee may request interviews with applicants before admitting them.
  • Applicants have the option to upload other supporting materials.

Application Forms and Deadlines

To apply, use the online graduate admissions system or for more information contact:

Mr. Dennis Ross
Academic Services Officer II
ec9127@wayne.edu
313-577-6327

Those applicants who wish to begin their studies in a particular term should insure that all of the application materials are submitted by:

Fall term:         Jan 15 (early deadline for students seeking funding or GTA positions)

                         June 15  (rolling admissions until program is full)

Winter term:    October 15

 

Steps Toward Obtaining a Ph.D.

After admission, students have the status of Doctoral Applicant until they qualify and have been admitted to the status of Doctoral Candidate.

Doctoral Applicant Requirements:

  1. Complete all prescribed course work, including:
    • general departmental requirements aimed at the development of basic analytic and methodological skills;

    • core requirements and elective courses for the major area of concentration;

    • core requirements and elective courses for two minor fields;
       
  2. File a Plan of Work - the sequence of courses that will constitute the student's studies for the Ph.D. It is formulated by the student and the Graduate Director and must be filed before the completion of 40 semester hours of graduate credit.

  3. Pass the oral preliminary exam given early in the student's program of study.

  4. Demonstrate satisfactory teaching ability. This requirement may be satisfied by teaching an undergraduate Political Science course as adjunct faculty or by performing as a Graduate Teaching Assistant.

  5. Pass the final qualifying exam - part written, part oral - in the student's major concentration and two minor fields. Students are eligible for the final qualifying examination only after the first five steps are completed.

  6. Develop an acceptable dissertation prospectus.

When the final qualifying examination has been passed and the student has submitted an approved dissertation prospectus to the Graduate School, the student advances to the status of Doctoral Candidate.

Doctoral Candidate Requirements:

  1. Write the dissertation under the supervision of a Dissertation Director.

  2. Comply with University rules concerning dissertation credit hours.

  3. Successfully defend the dissertation before the Dissertation Committee.

Additionally, the University requests that students have at least one year of Ph.D. residence. That is, students must complete nine semester hours of work in each of two successive semesters after admission to the Ph.D. program. Holding a graduate assistantship for one year constitutes automatic residency.

 


Advising

The Graduate Director serves as the primary adviser to all students entering the Ph.D. Program, helping you in initial course selection and in devising your Plan of Work -- the official plan of progress toward the degree.

When students identify a faculty member to direct the dissertation, they are encouraged to use that person as their advisor.


Transfer of Credits

Students wishing to transfer graduate credits toward the Ph.D. degree must first consult with the Political Science Department's Graduate Director. If the Director and the Departmental Graduate Committee approve, the applicant must then file a petition with the Graduate School. An official transcript showing a minimum grade of B for the courses to be transferred must support the petition.

Students must have earned at least a B in order to transfer a course for credit. B-minus credits are not acceptable for transfer.

Transfer credits must be appropriate to the student's program.

Courses accepted for transfer credit cannot have provided credit toward a prior degree except when the master's or another pre-doctoral certificate or degree is applied to the Ph.D. degree.

 


Major Fields of Study

There are several types of requirements and electives.

  • General departmental requirements are required for all Ph.D. students and are aimed at the development of basic analytic and methodological skills.
  • Within each major concentration there are core requirements, electives, and dissertation credit hour requirements. Core requirements vary from 9 to 21 credit hours and are specific to the major concentration.
  • Students also are required to take at least six hours in each of two disciplinary minors.
  • At least 30 credit hours must be taken in courses open only to graduate students, that is, in courses at the 7000-level and above.

A course may not be used to satisfy more than one requirement unless specifically approved by the Graduate Director.

 


 

American Politics and Government

General Departmental Requirements (required of all Ph.D. students)

     PS 7760 Research Methods for Politics and Policy (3)     

     PS 5630 Statistics and Data Analysis in Political Science I  (4)   

     PS 6640  Statistics and Data Analysis in Political Science II  (3)

     PS 8600 Philisophical Problems of Political and Social Inquiry (3)

 

Core Requirements within the American Politics and Government Major Concentration (minimum of 9 credits):

     PS 7030 American Political Process (3)
     PS 7040 American Governmental Institutions: Congress and the Courts (3)
...and one of the following
     PS 6010 Political Psychology (3)
     PS 6080 Gender and Politics (3)
     PS 7045 American Governmental Institutions: The Presidency (3)
     PS 7050 American Political Culture

Electives within the American Politics and Government Major Concentration (students must earn at least 6 credits):
     PS 5030 African American Politics (4)
     PS 5040 Religion and Politics (4)
     PS 5050 Mass Media and Politics (3)
     PS 5110 Constitutional Law (4)
     PS 5120 Constitutional Rights and Liberties (4)
     PS 6020 Intergovernmental Relations and American Federalism (3)
     PS 6050 Class, Race and Politics in America (3)
     PS 6070 Labor and American Politics (3)
     PS 6120 Administrative Law and Regulatory Politics (3)
     PS 7010 The New Institutionalism (3)

Two Minor Fields, at least 6 credits in each, from the following:
Comparative Politics, Public Policy, Political Theory, Public Administration , World Politics, Urban Politics

 

Dissertation - minimum of 30 credits:

     PS 9991-9994 (7.5 credit hours each)


Comparative Politics
 

General Departmental Requirements (required of all Ph.D. students)

     PS 7760 Research Methods for Politics and Policy (3)     

     PS 5630 Statistics and Data Analysis in Political Science I  (4)   

     PS 6640  Statistics and Data Analysis in Political Science II  (3)

     PS 8600 Philisophical Problems of Political and Social Inquiry (3)

 

Core Requirements within the Comparative Politics Concentration (minimum of 9 credit hours):

     PS 7710 Seminar in Comparative Politics (3)

     PS 7711 Advanced Seminar in Comparative Politics (3)

and one of the following:

     PS 7720 Comparative Politics of Advanced Industrialized Democracies

     PS 7730 Comparative Politics of the Developing World


Electives within the Comparative Politics Concentration (students must earn at least 6 credits):
     PS 5560 Biopolitics (4)
     PS 5999 Special Topics: Field Research/Mexico (3)
     PS 7010 The New Institutionalism (3)
     PS 7470 Comparative Public Policy (3)
     PS 7711 Advanced Seminar in Comparative Politics (3) - may be taken more than once when offered on different topics
     PS 7740 Comparative Political Economy (3)
     PS 7810 Seminar in World Politics (3)

Two Minor Fields, at least 6 credits in each, from the following:
     American Politics and Government, Political Theory, Public Administration, Public Policy, Urban Politics, World Politics

 

Dissertation - minimum of 30 credits:

     PS 9991-9994 (7.5 credit hours each)

 

Political Theory

General Departmental Requirements (required of all Ph.D. students)

     PS 7760 Research Methods for Politics and Policy (3)     

     PS 5630 Statistics and Data Analysis in Political Science I  (4)   

     PS 6640  Statistics and Data Analysis in Political Science II  (3)

     PS 8600 Philisophical Problems of Political and Social Inquiry (3)

 

Core Requirements within the Political Theory Concentration - 6 credits:

     PS 7550 Topics in the History of Political Thought (3)

     PS 7650 Contemporary Political and Social Theory (3)

 

Electives within the Political Theory Concentration (students must earn at least 9 credits):

     PS 5560 Biopolitics (4)

     PS 5999 Special Topics: Politics of Science Fiction (3)

     PS 5999 Special Topics: Law, Authority and Resistance (3)

     PS 7550 Topics in the History of Political Thought (3) - may be taken more than once for credit when topic is different

     PS 7580 Political Theory of Public Law

     SOC 6050  Sociological Theory Before 1920 (4)

     selected courses in the Department of Philosophy (PHI)

 

Two Minor Fields, at least 6 credits in each, from the following:

     American Politics and Government, Comparative Politics, Public Policy, Public Administration, World Politics, Urban Politics

 

Dissertation - minimum of 30 credits:

     PS 9991-9994 (7.5 credit hours each)

Public Administration

General Departmental Requirements (required of all Ph.D. students - 13 credits):

     PS 7760 Research Methods for Politics and Policy (3)     

     PS 5630 Statistics and Data Analysis in Political Science I  (4)   

     PS 6640  Statistics and Data Analysis in Political Science II  (3)

     PS 8600 Philisophical Problems of Political and Social Inquiry (3)

 

Core Requirements within the Public Administration Major Concentration (21 credits)

     PS 7300 Public Administration and its Environment (3)

     PS 7320 Organization Theory and Behavior (3)

     PS 7330 Public Budgeting and Finance (3)

     PS 7340 Public Personnel Management and Labor Relations(3)

     PS 7350 Managing Public Organizations (3)

     PS 7410 Policy Formation and Implementation (3)

     PS 7480 Policy Analysis for Public Administration (3)

 

Electives within the Public Administration Major Concentration (students must earn at least 6 credits):

     PS 5899 Dispute Resolution (3)

     PS 6020 Intergovernmental Relations and American Federalism (3)

     PS 6120 Administrative Law and Regulatory Politics (3)

     PS 7250 Seminar in Urban Administration (3)

     PS 7460 Program Evaluation (3)

 

Two Minor Fields, at least 6 credits in each, from the following:

     American Politics and Government, Comparative Politics, Political Theory, Public Policy, Urban Politics, World Politics.

 

Dissertation - minimum of 30 credits:

     PS 9991-9994 (7.5 each)
Public Policy  

General Departmental Requirements (required of all Ph.D. students - 13 credits)

     PS 7760 Research Methods for Politics and Policy (3)     

     PS 5630 Statistics and Data Analysis in Political Science I  (4)   

     PS 6640  Statistics and Data Analysis in Political Science II  (3)

     PS 8600 Philisophical Problems of Political and Social Inquiry (3)

 

Core Requirements within the Public Policy Major Concentration (minimum of 9 credits)

     PS 7410 Policy Formation and Implementation (3)

     PS 7460 Program Evaluation (3)

     PS 7470 Comparative Public Policy (3)

     PS 7480 Policy Analysis for Public Administration (3)

 

Electives within the Public Policy Major Concentration (minimum of 6 credits):

     PS 5560 Biopolitics (4)

     PS 6860 American Foreign Policy (3)

     PS 7240 Urban Public Policy (3)

     PS 7300 Public Administration and its Environment (3)

     PS 7330 Public Budgeting and Finance (3)

 

Two Minor Fields, at least 6 credits in each, from the following:

     American Politics, Comparative Politics, Political Theory, Public Administration, Urban Politics, World Politics.

 

Dissertation - minimum of 30 credits:

     PS 9991-9994 (7.5 each)

Urban Politics  

General Departmental Requirements (required of all Ph.D. students - 13 credits)

     PS 7760 Research Methods for Politics and Policy (3)     

     PS 5630 Statistics and Data Analysis in Political Science I  (4)   

     PS 6640  Statistics and Data Analysis in Political Science II  (3)

     PS 8600 Philisophical Problems of Political and Social Inquiry (3)

 

Core Requirements within the Urban Politics Major Concentration (9 credits)

     PS 7210 Approaches to the Study of Urban Politics (3)

     PS 7240 Urban Public Policy (3)

     PS 7250 Seminar in Urban Administration (3)

 

Electives within the Urban Politics Major Concentration (minimum of 6 credits)

     PS 5030 African American Politics (4)

     PS 6020 Intergovernmental Relations and American Federalism (3)

     PS 6050 Class, Race and Politics in America (3)

     PS 6070 Labor and American Politics (3)

     PS 6440 Regional, State and Urban Economic Development (3)

     PS 7260 Urban Poverty and Racial Segregation (3)

     PS 7330 Public Budgeting and Finance (3)

 

Two Minor Fields, at least 6 credits in each, from the following:

     American Politics and Government, Comparative Politics, Political Theory, Public Administration, Public Policy, World Politics.

 

Dissertation - minimum of 30 credits:

     PS 9991-9994 (7.5 each)

World Politics  

General Departmental Requirements (required of all Ph.D. students - 13 credits)

     PS 7760 Research Methods for Politics and Policy (3)     

     PS 5630 Statistics and Data Analysis in Political Science I  (4)   

     PS 6640  Statistics and Data Analysis in Political Science II  (3)

     PS 8600 Philisophical Problems of Political and Social Inquiry (3)

 

Core Requirements within the World Politics Major Concentration: (6 credits)

     PS 7810 Seminar in World Politics (3)

     PS 7811 Advanced Seminar in World Politics (Theories of War) (3)

 

Electives within the World Politics Major Concentration (minimum of 9 credits):

     PS 5850 Human Rights (4)

     PS 5855 International Law (4)

     PS 5999 Special Topics: International Prosecution of State Actors (3)

     PS 6100 Introduction to Graduate Peace and Security Studies (3) (when taught by Dr. Pearson)

     PS 6830 Civil War and Conflict Processes (3)

     PS 6850 International Organizations (4)

     PS 6860 American Foreign Policy (3)

     PS 6870 U.S. Foreign Relations Law (3)

 

Two Minor Fields, at least 6 credits in each, from the following:

     American Politics, Comparative Politics, Political Theory, Public Administration, Public Policy, Urban Politics.

 

Dissertation - minimum of 30 credits:

     PS 9991-9994 (7.5 each)

Minor Field Requirements

              American Government and Politics:  at least 6 credits, including both:

     PS 7030 American Political Process (3)

     PS 7040 American Governmental Institutions: Congress and the Courts (3)


Comparative Politics: at least six credits, including
     PS 7710 Seminar in Comparative Politics (3)
    plus any other 7000-level Comparative course

Public Administration: at least six credits, including
     PS 7300 Public Administration and its Environment (3)

Public Policy: at least six credits, including both:
     PS 7410 Policy Formation and Implementation (3) 
     PS 7470 Comparative Public Policy (3)

Urban Politics: at least six credits, including:
     PS 7210 Approaches to the Study of Urban Politics(3)

World Politics: at least six credits including

     PS 7810 Seminar in World Politics

 

Courses in other departments

In consulation with the graduate advisor, Ph.D. students are typically permitted to take up to two graduate-level courses in other departments.  

Teaching and Research Assistantships

The Department of Political Science allocates a limited number of Graduate Teaching Assistantships and fellowships each year. All graduate students (including newly admitted students) are elgible to apply for these assistantships. More information and an application form can be found here.

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