PhD program

The PhD program takes about four years to complete following an MA degree. The first year is for coursework: six graduate courses including POLI 600 (Professional Development Seminar).

At least one, but no more than two of the graduate courses may be taken outside the Department of Political Science. Two of the other courses must be "field" seminars designed to prepare the PhD student for his or her candidacy examinations.

The PhD student will normally take two candidacy examinations in the second year of doctoral study. The student will then prepare and defend a dissertation proposal.

The dissertation counts for 80% of the PhD program. Students should aim to have their dissertation proposal approved well before the end of their second year of study. Once approved, the dissertation should take about two years to complete.

For more information about the graduate programs in Political Science, refer to the Political Science Graduate Handbook.


Candidacy exams

The Department offers candidacy examinations in Canadian politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory. Students may substitute one of these examinations for an interdisciplinary examination in Comparative Public Policy and Governance, Cultural, Social and Political Thought, or Indigenous Nationhood.

At least one of two candidacy examinations must be in one of the four fields administered by the department itself.


Professional development seminars

The professional development seminar is intended to prepare students for all aspects of an academic career in political science.

The Department puts particular emphasis on preparing doctoral candidates for post-secondary teaching, and encourages candidates to make full use of the University's Learning and Teaching Centre in this context.

PhD students will normally act as and then learn to develop and teach courses independently, within their fields of specialization. PhD candidates will also receive support in developing conference presentations, research grant proposals, and academic publications.


Other opportunities

The department encourages applications from students who can take advantage of its links to other units, including the Faculty of Law, the School of Public Administration, and the departments participating in the Interdisciplinary Program in Cultural, Social and Political Thought and the Certificate Program in Indigenous Nationhood.

The European Studies Program, the Indigenous Governance Programs, the Centre for Global Studies, the Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives, the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, and the Pacific Centre for Technology and Culture all offer opportunities to students with particular interests and qualifications.