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Prospective Students

Prepare your career at a department that places graduate students at the top institutions in the world and become a part of a community of students, educators and scholars.


Program Timeline

The graduate program in the Department of Political Science at Ohio State is a 5 year PhD program.  There is not a terminal master's degree available, however MA's are available for those who are in the program working towards completing their PhD. A typical graduate trajectory begins with two years of coursework in preparation for candidacy exams.  Once students pass their candidacy exams in their third year, they move into ABD (all but dissertation) status and can focus on their dissertation.

Year One

We offer incoming students a Workshop on Mathematics for Political Scientists. The workshop is designed specifically with first-year Ph.D. students in mind and has no prerequisites. Its purpose is to refresh students’ memory of, or else introduce them to, basic mathematical concepts and techniques that will prove important in future training and research. Once school begins, first year students will focus on intro level classes and fulfilling requirements for their chosen major and minor. Many of our first year students attend ICPSR in the summer between their first and second years. ICPSR provides leadership and training in data access, curation, and methods of analysis for a diverse and expanding social science research community.

Year Two

During students' second year of study, they will continue to take classes and prepare for their general exams, which take place in the beginning of their third year of study. Additionally, some students use their second year to obtain a FLAS fellowship and participate in language training.

Year Three

Once students pass their candidacy exams in their third year, they move into ABD status and can focus on their dissertation. The department offers a yearlong dissertation workshop during the third year to give students the opportunity to present research ideas and receive feedback from both students and faculty.  Additionally, in order to prepare students for teaching, there is a teaching workshop offered in both the summer and the first semester of the third year.

Years Four, Five, and Beyond

By students' fourth year, they will be looking towards putting together their dissertation committee and completing a dissertation prospectus. The department offers a workshop to help students to prepare to go on the job market. Throughout all this time, there are many opportunities to receive grants, do research with faculty, and participate in various programs offered through the university and the government to assist in completing a dissertation.

If there are still any questions that remain unanswered after looking through the site, please feel free to contact our Program Coordinator, Shay Valley, at valley.28@osu.edu with questions.

Maryum Alam

"I was largely attracted to Ohio State's PhD program for its substantive and methodological breadth and depth as a "big-tent" program. Students receive a broad training when it comes to approaches in international relations, ranging from realism and constructivism, to the study of international organizations and institutions, empirical study of war, and even support for critical theory. This broad training pushed me to develop an independent and eclectic research agenda that should ultimately communicate with different areas of international relations. More importantly, the department provides a lot of support for graduate student research--even prior to candidacy--compared to other programs, which makes a huge difference in graduate student outcomes down the road. The program's strength in political methodology also provides skills that set up students for success in academic and non-academic job markets alike. The faculty really go above and beyond to provide students with the intellectual and financial resources needed to succeed." - Maryum Alam, 3rd year PhD student