General and Course requirements for the PhD Program

For Faculty Requirements see the Calendar.

General Department Requirements

a) To obtain the PhD degree the candidate must:

1)         Complete 36 credits of course work, normally within the first two years;

2)         Pass their PhD comprehensive examinations, consisting of a written exam in their major fields, and a single oral exam. These normally take place in fall of the year following the completion of coursework, though under certain circumstances be taken in the spring.

3)         Have a dissertation proposal approved by their supervisory committee and present it to the Political Science 649 seminar.

4)         Submit an acceptable dissertation and pass the doctoral examination.

 

General Program Requirements

a) To obtain the PhD degree the candidate must:

1)         Complete 36 credits of course work, normally within the first two years; the minimum pass mark for PhD students is 68%;

2)         Pass their PhD comprehensive examinations, consisting of a written exam in their major fields, and a single oral exam. These normally take place in fall of the year following the completion of coursework, though under certain circumstances be taken in the spring.

3)         Have a dissertation proposal approved by their supervisory committee and present it to the Political Science 649 seminar.

At this point, the student advances to candidacy. The deadline for advancing to candidacy is 36 months after the start of the program.

4)         Submit an acceptable dissertation and pass the doctoral examination. The deadline for final submission, following the doctoral examination, is 72 months after the start of the program.

 

Course Requirements

a) Normal enrollment: Candidates normally enroll in 18 credits of courses (six graduate courses, three per semester) in the first year of their program. Enrollment in the second year may depend on how many courses the student has left to complete.

b) Previous graduate level coursework: Previous graduate level coursework up to a maximum of 6 courses (18 credits) may be accepted for PhD program credit, allowing a student to take fewer than 12 courses within the UBC PhD program. Typically, transfer credit can be granted only for prior graduate courses in Political Science (e.g., taken as part of a political science MA program). Credit will be given only for courses that are, in broad terms, comparable in requirements and rigour to a UBC Political Science graduate course. The Director of the Graduate Program must approve any transfer credits for prior coursework.

Students cannot get transfer credit for the core (field) seminar in their major or minor field (more on these below).

Upon entry to the program, PhD students are encouraged to consult with their initial academic advisors about whether they should place a request for transfer credit for courses taken previously. To apply to have previous coursework credited towards PhD coursework requirements, students must submit the following to the Director of the Graduate Program:

1) an email identifying (a) the specific courses for which credit is being requested and (b) the specific Political Science PhD course requirements that would potentially be satisfied by these courses (e.g., political theory, methodology, major field, minor field; more on these below)

2) a syllabus of each course for which credit is requested.

The Director of the Graduate Program will seek the advice of faculty members with relevant substantive or methodological expertise in making a determination about whether credit should be granted.

 

c) Courses outside the Department: A maximum of 4 courses (12 credits) may be taken in another UBC graduate program, at the senior undergraduate level, or at another University (during the PhD). Students must receive specific, prior approval from both (a) the Director of the Graduate Program and (b) their supervisor or initial academic contact for any course taken outside the UBC Political Science Department or at the senior undergraduate level.

Approval will be granted only for courses that are taught to a broadly similar academic standard to courses in the UBC Political Science graduate program. Note that senior undergraduate courses and courses in professional Master’s programs (e.g., Public Policy, Education, Social Work, etc.) may not have reading or writing requirements comparable to those of courses in academic graduate programs, and so may not be approved for credit. Students wishing to take a course outside the department should consult with the Graduate Director first in order to identify any difficulties that might arise. Where the outside course is not comparable in rigour to a Political Science graduate course, the student may need to ask the course instructor to make adjustments to course readings and assignments in order to make the requirements comparable to those of a POLI graduate course.

 

d) Minimum number of POLI courses: All PhD students must take a minimum of 6 graduate (500-level) courses (18 credits) within the UBC Political Science program before advancing to candidacy, regardless of transfer credits or courses approved outside the Department or at senior undergraduate level.

e) Political Theory and Methodology Requirements: All PhD students are required to fulfill a political theory requirement and a set of methodology requirements
– Political Theory: All PhD students must take at least ONE graduate seminar in political theory.
– Methodology: All PhD students must take at least TWO graduate research methods courses.  Please check the specific and exact methods requirements for each field in the descriptions provided in subsection (f) below.

Departmental research methods courses include:
POLI 571: Qualitative Methods
POLI 572A: Quantitative Techniques of Political Analysis (Part 1)
POLI 572B: Quantitative Techniques of Political Analysis (Part 2)
POLI 574: Quantitative Techniques – Maximum Likelihood Estimation
POLI 547: Interpretation and Criticism in Political Inquiry (which also counts as a political theory course).

f) Major and Minor Field Requirements: Each student must choose major field and a minor field.In the major field, the student must take the core seminar in that field, plus three other courses within the field.

In the minor field, the student must take the core seminar and one other course within the field.

Core seminars, which are constructed among other things with PhD exam preparation in mind, are mandatory for all examinees in a given field. Core seminars should provide students with a broad understanding of approaches, issues, and debates in the field. Core seminars are also designed to build academic community by providing a given cohort of students a common seminar experience. In addition, the seminars are designed to expose students to the diversity of approaches in the field.  And finally, they are intended to contribute to exam preparation for the students.  By no means, however, are core seminars designed to be sufficient for exam preparation. Preparation for the comprehensive examination is meant to go well beyond the core seminar, to include other department seminars and several months of studying following the end of coursework.

g) Field-specific course requirements: Each major field has its own specific course requirements. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that these course requirements are met prior to the taking of the comprehensive exam in that field. Students in any field may apply for a partial exemption for the quantitative methods course requirements, based on their particular course of study, with the support of their supervisor. Any such exemptions must be approved by the Graduate Director. In addition, the substitution of a functionally equivalent course for a required methods course requires the permission of the Graduate Director.

 

Political Theory: To fulfill their departmental methods requirements and their own scholarly potential, PhD students majoring in Political Theory are required to take:

– at least two methods courses and are encouraged to talk with their supervisors/advisors and/or PT field chair about their selection of methods courses. Students may select methods courses from the array of methodological offerings in the political science department (e.g., POLI 547A, POLI 571, POLI 572A, POLI 572B, POLI 574) as well as from suitable graduate methods courses offered outside of the department. These might include the cross-cutting areas of interpretation, criticism, feminist methods, Indigenous studies methods, archival methods, small-“n” interview methods, other qualitative methods, etc. In selecting such courses outside of political science, political theory students should consult with their supervisors and with the political theory field chair.

 

Canadian Politics: Students majoring in Canadian Politics are required to take:
– POLI 571
– POLI 572A
– POLI 572B
Some students will also be expected to take POLI 574, the Department’s most advanced course in quantitative methods, if it is needed for their research programs.

 

Comparative Politics: Students majoring in Comparative Politics are required to take:
– POLI 571
– POLI 572A
– POLI 572B
Students in Comparative Politics are also encouraged to take POLI 574, the Department’s most advanced course in quantitative methods, if it is needed for their research programs.

 

International Relations:

Students majoring in International Relations are required to take:
– POLI 571

Students majoring in International Relations are also strongly encouraged to take:
– POLI 572A
– POLI 572B
Some students will also be expected to take POLI 574, the Department’s most advanced course in quantitative methods, if it is needed for their research program. Students should consult closely with their prospective supervisor about the methods courses that they intend to take.

 

United States Politics: Students majoring in United States Politics are required to take:
– POLI 571
– POLI 572A
– POLI 572B
Some students will also be expected to take POLI 574, the Department’s most advanced course in quantitative methods, if it is needed for their research program.

 

g) Students are required to take no fewer than eight graduate seminars in political science.  Additional credits may consist of graduate course work in another Department or of fourth year undergraduate courses in Political Science, but only with the approval of the student’s advisor or supervisor and the Director of the Graduate Program. Undergraduate courses will be approved by the Director of the Graduate Program only with approval of the student’s advisor/supervisor and in cases where the student makes an arrangement with the course instructor to supplement the course with substantial work at the graduate level (in which case, students usually register for a 580 Directed Studies course).

h) PhD students must, in their first term, receive at least 80% in 1/3 of their graduate course credits or have an average grade of of 77% in their graduate courses.  A student who does not meet this standard will be warned that his/her performance does not fulfill minimum Department requirements.

i) PhD students must, in their first full year, receive at least 80% in 1/3 of their graduate course credits or have an average of 77% in their graduate courses. A student failing to meet this standard will be withdrawn from the program unless the Department finds special and compelling reasons for keeping the student in the program.

j) Department policy requires Faculty members to submit grades for all students in graduate seminars by January 1st for courses ending in December and by May 1st for courses ending in April.  Students who do not submit all material in time for these deadlines, and do not have medical or similar reasons for not doing so, will receive no credit for the late material.  In cases of courses taken outside the Department’s graduate program, it is the student’s responsibility to ensure that no extension take place past the dates stated above.

k) Auditing of Courses:  With the permission of the instructor, any properly registered graduate student may audit any graduate course in the Department.  Such courses will be recorded as Audit on the student’s transcript and will not count toward required course credits.

l) Political Science 580 — Directed Studies:  Students are expected to make use of the regular courses in designing their program.  POLI 580, however, is available for use in exceptional  POLI 580 is a generic course listing inserted in the Calendar to provide flexibility for those students whose academic needs cannot be satisfied by the regular courses.  A student seeking Directed Studies in a particular field must find a Faculty member willing to direct his/her readings.  Since the normal graduate seminar offerings cover the basic fields in Political Science, and since Faculty members have full teaching loads, there can be no assurance that any given request will be met.  If an arrangement is made, the decisions on readings, on the frequency of meetings, essay requirements, etc., will be made by the Faculty member concerned.  In all cases, students must complete the Political Science 580 Directed Studies Course information and application form (available from the Department) and obtain the approval of the Director of the Graduate Program.

m) The department normally does not offer graduate courses in the summer.

n) Marks and Grading in the Graduate Program:  Each graduate course is worth 3 credits and marked out of 100 points.  The first class range is 80-100; the second-class range is 68-79.  Students must obtain at least 68% to receive credit for a course (M.A. students, however, are allowed one mark as low as 60%).