- January 15 for fall admissions.
- Applications received by October 15 will be reviewed in an early admissions cycle and will be considered for nomination for the Presidential Fellowship Program.
The GRE requirement is waived for applications for the 2021-2022 academic year.
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Political Science, Doctor of Philosophy
This degree includes a Dissertation and fulfillment of a "Research Tool" requirement.
Requirements Accordion Open
To receive a Doctor of Philosophy Degree (Ph.D.) at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses, from one or more disciplines, ranging from at least 60-109 units of graduate-level courses. Most plans require research, a dissertation, and comprehensive exams. All plans have residency requirements regarding time spent on the Flagstaff campus engaged in full-time study.
The full policy can be viewed here.
Overview Accordion Closed
In addition to University Requirements:
- Complete individual plan requirements.
- Fulfill Northern Arizona's residency requirements
- Qualifying Paper Exam required
|Minimum Units for Completion||63|
|Additional Admission Requirements||Required|
|Emphasis, Minor, Certificate||Required|
|Dissertation||Dissertation is required.|
|Oral Defense||Oral Defense is required.|
|Research||Individualized research is required.|
The Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science degree provides students with the knowledge, skills and abilities to understand and participate in the political systems of the United States and the world. This degree provides a broad perspective on experiences, international and domestic, from both theory and practice.
This degree builds a strong foundation in the expert knowledge of the political world. The emphasis area of American Politics and Public Administration analyzes political science through the American context. It focuses upon institutional characteristics, behavioral aspects, bureaucracy and management. The emphasis area of Comparative Politics and International Relations compares countries and regions and examines the international system and its processes. The emphasis area of Public Policy focuses upon policies created and implemented in political systems and uses analytical method to evaluate current public policies, political actors’ behavior, political events, and institutional arrangements within a diverse world.
Building upon this fundamental knowledge, our curriculum ensures that students will define, design and carry out original scholarly research projects in political science. In addition, they will be able to make clear and effective oral and written of their work in public presentations, including scholarly presentations to academics at professional political science conferences. Students will also leave this program ready to teach at a university level and to engage in professional research.
Our goal is to train students to be active, engaged, and informed participants in the global system who can not only understand the world around them but also shape and influence it.
Student Learning Outcomes
1. Conceptual and Analytical: Students should have an expert knowledge of the political world, including contemporary political thought, and public policies, and be able to use key concepts and analytical approaches from political science.
- Evaluate the strengths and limitations of a variety of significant analytical approaches used in political science.
- Analyze, synthesize and evaluate the interconnectedness and interdependence of the human experience on a global scale.
- Develop a disciplinary emphasis as well as a foci in environment, development or diversity politics to an expert level of knowledge.
- Devise an expert research design.
- Gather original data.
- Analyze the data and explain the research findings.
- Write the findings in a scholarly publishable-quality original dissertation that evaluates the effectiveness of the project and the implications of the findings and contributes to the field.
- Students will demonstrate expert writing skills and be able to summarize and explain scholarly political science articles.
- Analyze and critique the material read /discussed.
- Suggest and discuss alternative possibilities and outcomes.
- Students will defend their dissertation at an oral defense that presents the project, summarizes the findings, and analyzes the implications as well as effectiveness of the project.
- Students will be able to communicate at an expert level with other academics in the field of political science, including presenting their own research work at academic conferences.
- Demonstrate professional behavior in terms of demeanor, personal presentation, ethics, and civic participation in experiential learning, classrooms settings and at professional conferences.
- Acquire the skills and knowledge base to understand the importance of and options for environmental sustainability and its tenuous relationship to economic development in local and global terms.
- Critically reflect upon the nature and consequences of diversity (e.g. race, gender, class, ethnicity, religion, culture, nation), and develop an understanding of how this diversity both alters and is altered in a world characterized by increasing global interaction.
Details Accordion Closed
Additional Admission Requirements
- Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
- NAU Graduate Online application is required for all programs. Details on admission requirements are included in the online application.
- Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution
- Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent.
- Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.
- For details on graduate admission policies, please visit the Graduate Admissions Policy
- International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy
Individual program admission requirements include:
- A bachelor’s degree in a closely related discipline
- Cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above or 6 units of subsequent coursework at the graduate level with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better
- 3 letters of recommendation
- Writing sample
- Personal statement or essay
- Resume or curriculum vitae
This Doctoral degree requires 63 units distributed as follows:
- Political Science Core Coursework: 12 units
- Select a Primary Field: 15 units
- American Politics/Public Administration
- Comparative Politics/International Relations
- Select Secondary Coursework: 3 units
- Foci Coursework: 6 units
- Dissertation: 24 units
- Additional Coursework: 3 units
Take the following 63 units:
Core Coursework (12 units)
Primary Coursework (15 units)
Select primary coursework from one of the Primary Fields:
American Politics/Public Administration (15 units)
- POS 641 (3 units)
- POS 610 or POS 612 (3 units)
- Select additional from (9 units):
- Electives approved by your advisor
Comparative Politics/International Relations (15 units)
- POS 670, POS 680 (6 units)
- Select additional from (9 units):
- Electives as approved by your advisor
*Topics course: select a topic in consultation with your advisor.
Secondary Coursework (3 units):
If your primary field is American Politics/ Public Administration, your required secondary coursework is:
Foci Coursework (6 units):
In consultation with your advisor, select additional coursework relevant to your research interests. The following areas are suggested:
Research, writing, and oral defense of an approved dissertation (15–18 units): POS 799 toward your degree. However, you may end up taking more units, since you must enroll for it each term during which you work on your dissertation.
Select from the following to complete degree unit requirements:
- Complete and defend qualifying exam papers POS 597
- Ensure adequate preparation for your dissertation research
- Professional Development Seminar POS 691
Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.
The Presidential Fellowship
- For more information on the Presidential Fellowship Program click here.
To accommodate individual plans of study for this political science graduate program, 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:
- Demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English that is equivalent to two years of university coursework; or
- 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