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Do I have to take three courses in each field if I have had previous course work, even undergrad­uate preparation, in one or more concentration fields?
No.  The Graduate Studies in Political Science Statement allows doctoral committees to make appropriate adjustments to various program requirements.  Changes should be consistent with the spirit of the program and need the approval of the Graduate Programs Director.  Exceptions should be spelled out in section D of the Ph.D. Advisory Worksheet.

I have previously taken methods courses. Must I complete the full range of required tool courses?
No. The committee has the option of exploring other possible means of satisfying the language and re­search tool requirement other than those outlined above. Exceptions to the proficiency in research methods must be approved by the Graduate Studies Committee.

What quantitative or qualitative courses are acceptable to meet the tool requirement?
The graduate programs office maintains a list of both quantitative and qualitative research tools from departments other than political science. As with other questions, students can learn much by asking other doctoral students about their experiences with tool courses.

When should I begin my quantitative methods sequence in the department?

Generally, beginning graduate students should plan on start­ing the department's quantitative methods sequence in the fall of their first year. Ordinarily, PSC 5913 (introductory methods) is offered in the fall and PSC 5933 (intermediate methods) in the spring.

Do tool courses count as part of the 90 hour total for the Ph.D.?

I have a master's degree from another institution. How much credit from the masters may I receive toward the Ph.D.? How much will it reduce the coursework I must take?
The Graduate College counts up to 44 credit hours of a master's degree (completed at any time) toward the total of 90 hours re­quired for the Ph.D.. However, the student's advisory committee must decide just how much of the master's work fits into the program of doctoral study. Presum­ably, where previous graduate course­work parallels courses offered in our de­partment, commit­tees should be sympathetic to counting that work in lieu of such courses from this department. Still, if a student has an MPA degree from another institution, for example, the com­mittee may want the doctoral student to take at least some coursework from OU public administration faculty.

Can I take general examinations during a semester when I'm still taking course work?
Yes, with the permission of your committee. Ordinarily, students should not plan on taking exams if they have field courses or more than one distribution course left to complete.

Can I take general examinations if I have not completed my tool requirements?
No.  The Graduate College requires the student to complete all tool requirements before it will give permission for the student to take general exams.

Must all my committee be present for the Ph.D. oral general exam?
Yes, all five members must be physically present.

Is it possible for me to get a master's degree while I'm in the doctoral program?
Yes. There are two ways to obtain a master’s degree while you're in the doctoral program. Any time you complete all the requirements for the MA or MPA (including research paper or thesis and General Exam), you can apply for the mast­er's degree (fee re­quired). A Request for Change of Major must be submitted to the Graduate College for earning the MPA.  Or, after successfully comp­leting the general examina­tion, a doctoral student can apply for the master's degree only in political science (not MPA). The student still must meet all the requirements for the MA.­  Under this second arrangement, the student is not required to pass the MA Comprehensive Exam.

My dissertation research involves data from sources that should be exempt from full board review by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). Do I still need IRB approval?
Yes. Although some data may be exempt from IRB oversight, official determination must be made by the IRB. A copy of IRB approval must be attached to a student’s Request for Authority for Defense of Dissertation when the dissertation reading copy is submitted to the Graduate College. Do not wait until you are ready to defend to obtain IRB approval. Doing so will delay your defense significantly. For a full description of the university’s research policies and procedures and appropriate forms, see


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