PhD program requirements

The Interdisciplinary Program in Cultural, Social and Political Thought (CSPT) gives students in the Humanities and Social Sciences the opportunity to grapple with the big thinkers and big issues of our time in a context that puts aside disciplinary boundaries, encourages intellectual exploration and critique which ultimately puts everyone's dogmas at issue.

Requirements Units
Field Seminars: POLI 607, 608, 609, 616, 640; CSPT 601 3.0
Elective Courses 4.5
Professional Development Seminar: POLI 600 1.5
POLI 693 3.0
Completion of two Candidacy Examinations
Dissertation Proposal
Dissertation: POLI 699 30.0
Total Units 42.0

PhD candidates are required to complete 42 units in accordance with the following program:

Course requirements

All PhD students are required to complete six 1.5 unit graduate courses beyond the MA degree, including POLI 600 (Professional Development Seminar). Students must choose two (3.0 units) field seminars (POLI POLI 607, 608, 609, 616, 640, CSPT 601,) in each of the areas in which they will be taking a candidacy examination. Students must also complete POLI 693 (Candidacy Examination - 3.0 units).

Students may be required to complete an additional course in methodology at the request of their supervisory committee. The remaining elective courses may be taken from PhD seminars offered by the Department of Political Science.

Students may also choose to take one graduate course (1.5 units) (and no more than two graduate courses) from outside the Department. Students must pass all course work with at least a B+ average before proceeding to the field examinatinons.

Professional development seminar

POLI 600 is a compulsory seminar worth 1.5 units for PhD students in Political Science. It is offered in alternate years from September until April.

Students are introduced to the professional aspects of the discipline including: how to write grant applications, how to teach effectively, how to design a syllabus and a CV, how to contribute to the administrative and intellectual community in their Department and in Political Science more broadly.

Candidacy examinations

Field seminars will help prepare students for candidacy written and oral examinations.

Readings for the candidacy exams will be broader than the course work and will be determined according to reading lists drawn up by the faculty in the field being examined and in consultatio with the student.

Students must successfully complete candidacy examinations in two of the following fields: Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Theory.

Students may substitute one of these examinations for an interdisciplinary examination in Comparative Public Policy and Governance, or Cultural, Social, and Political Thought.


Within three to six months after passing the candidacy examinations, students are required to write and orally defend a dissertation proposal before their supervisory committee.

The proposal and oral defense must be considered satisfactory before the student may proceed to the dissertation. All students are required to submit and orally defend a dissertation worth 30 units.

Contact information