Ph.D in Political Science

Our doctoral plan is designed to provide you with:

  • Preparation for a career in higher education
  • Tools for effective research
  • Knowledge and skills to work effectively in private and public service
  • Flexibility to tailor your degree to your interests
  • Ability to exit the program with publications published or under review


For this plan, you must complete the 63 units:

  • 12 units of core classes
  • 15 units toward a political science specialization in American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations or Public Administration
  • 9-12 units of Foci Classes (Environment, Development, or Diversity)
  • 2 qualifying papers (each comprising 6 units)
  • Language OR research requirements
  • A minimum of 15 units of dissertation credit (POS 799)

To accommodate individual plans of study, you may be required to:

  • Take additional units to meet language or research requirements
  • Take the profession development seminar
  • Additional readings or dissertation research as specified by your advisor

You must choose between four political science emphases:

  • Comparative Politics
  • International Relations
  • Public Administration
  • American Politics 

You must choose between three foci:

  • Environment/Sustainability Politics
  • Diversity Politics
  • Political Development

In addition to the requirements for your particular emphasis and foci, you must:

  • Perform satisfactory on qualifying papers and an oral defense of the qualifying papers
  • Satisfy a “research tool” requirement in one of two ways or demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English that is equivalent to two years of university course work
  • Obtain a grade of “B” or better in POS 601 and complete 6 additional units of research methods
  • Fulfill Northern Arizona University’s residency requirements
  • Pass the oral exam on your dissertation defense