Our Graduate Programs
Graduate Study in Political Science at Purdue offers specializations in traditional fields such as American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Public Policy.
Our department also possesses strengths in areas that cut across traditional fields, such as environmental politics and policy, human rights, human security and political violence, and politics related to group identity and conflict.
Graduate students and faculty at Purdue participate in many interdisciplinary research centers and collaborative groups on campus. Students receive rigorous training in a wide range of research methods in the department and through workshops, coursework, and speakers in the cross-college initiative Advanced Methods at Purdue (AMAP).
If you are considering doctoral study, please explore the information on the Prospective Students page.
Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Political Science
Doctoral students specialize (major) in one of the four departmental areas and have concentrations (minors) in two other areas, one of which may be in a cognate discipline or in a special, self-designed minor area. Many students choose to focus on questions that relate to cross-cutting strengths in environmental politics and policy, the politics of groups and identities, and issues in human rights, human security, and political violence.
Doctoral students become deeply immersed in the process of scholarly research and are quickly prepared to be full collaborators and independent researchers. We encourage students to execute research projects in preparation for careers as publishing scholars. In addition, we prepare doctoral students for independent classroom instruction and make every effort to provide an independent teaching experience for each doctoral student completing our program.
Upon passing doctoral examinations and successfully completing a dissertation, the student receives a Ph.D. in political science.
Master of Arts Degree in Political Science
Generally, we admit to the M.A. program students who are interested in pursuing both the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. Students who apply to our program with a Bachelor's degree or an M.A. in another field will complete the M.A. in political science as part of the curriculum of the M.A./Ph.D program. If an M.A. degree in political science has already been obtained from another institution, the applicant may be considered for doctoral studies upon request following the first semester.
Once M.A. course requirements are fulfilled, the student is examined in one specialization (major) and one concentration (minor) area, both of which must be selected from the four areas offered by the Political Science Department. These examinations are evaluated by the faculty members in each area, and at that time a decision is made about whether or not the student should progress to the Ph.D. program in the department. Students may also seek employment or admission to a professional school after earning the M.A. degree, rather than continuing to the Ph.D.