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.

 

Course Requirements

a) Candidates normally enroll in 18 credits of courses (six graduate courses, three per semester) in the first year of their program.  The minimum pass mark for PhD students is 68%.

b) Previous graduate level coursework: Previous graduate level coursework up to a maximum of 18 credits may be accepted for PhD program credit to the extent that it fulfills UBC Political Science PhD course requirements. This will allow MA students in Political Science to enter our PhD program without having to repeat coursework and to reduce their coursework requirements from the two years normally required of our PhD students. Credit for previous graduate courses are generally for political science courses, normally taken as part of a political science MA program. Other courses may be allowed, but the presumption is that they are functionally equivalent to political science graduate courses at UBC, provide students with preparation essential for success in the discipline of Political Science, and fit with the student’s overall program of study, all of which will be determined by the Graduate Director.

Students are encouraged to consult with their incoming supervisors/advisors as well as the Director of the Graduate Program to see whether courses taken elsewhere might be counted toward fulfilling PhD coursework requirements. Students cannot get transfer credit for the core (field) seminars of our graduate program. To apply to have previous coursework count as credit towards for program credit (up to 18 credits). Students must submit the following to the Director of the Graduate Program:

1) a letter which requests the specific courses to be accepted as fulfilling UBC PhD coursework requirements, and which identifies the Political Science PhD program requirements that are to be satisfied; and
2) a syllabus of each course for which credit is requested.

The Director of the Graduate Program will seek the guidance of the appropriate field chairs for advice on what is acceptable for credit in a given application before making a final determination.

c) 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).

d) 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.

f) 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%).