Doctor of Philosophy
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GUIDELINES FOR NEW PH.D. STUDENTS

ADVISING.  In your first semester of study, you will be assigned  a faculty advisor,  who specializes in one of the fields in which you have a special interest. The faculty advisor will discuss course options with you and serve as a source of information about the substantive part of your program until you formally constitute your advisory committee.

FIELDS OF STUDY.  You should choose your  exam fields as soon as possible. Knowing your fields of study will aid you with course selection and identification of potential members for your advisory committee.

DOCTORAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE.  You are strongly encouraged to select your five member advisory committee by the end of your second semester in the program. You must have at least one faculty member from each of your three exam fields, plus one faculty member from outside the political science department

  (a)             You should consider selecting the person who will serve as the chair of your Advisory Committee first.  Students frequently choose a chair from the field they consider to be their primary area of interest. This person can advise you on other possible members who are appropriate given your particular interests. However, it is your responsibility to contact each prospective member and secure their consent to serve. The outside member does not have to be knowledgeable about any of your areas of examination. The Graduate College imposes the requirement for an outside member primarily to ensure that proper procedures are followed.

  (b)               The chair of your Advisory Committee is responsible for the general oversight of your program of study and will coordinate the preparation of the general examination. The faculty member representing each field bears primary responsibility for preparing and grading the general examination in that field but other faculty members may be involved as described in the Guidelines Concerning the Ph.D. General Examination.

  (c)    You are responsible for arranging for your Advisory Committee to meet and consider your proposed course of study. The Ph.D. Advisory Worksheet, provides information to the Advisory Committee regarding the courses you have taken and those you propose to take.  After your Advisory Committee has approved your program of study, submit the completed form and the completed  the Advisory Conference Report to the Graduate Program Director for submission to the Graduate College.

  (d)     You may alter your program of study or change the membership of your Advisory Committee at any time with the consent of your committee and the Graduate Program Director. All members must sign the Request for Change in Doctoral Advisory Conference Report.

ENTERING DOCTORAL PROGRAM WITH MASTER’S DEGREE.  Students who enter the Ph.D. program may have already taken graduate courses that overlap with the degree requirements.  To avoid redundancy and to ensure steady progress toward degree completion, these students are urged to work with their faculty advisor and the Graduate Program Director to determine which classes will be accepted as credit for existing OU courses, and which courses will count as credit toward the 90 hour requirement but may not satisfy specific course requirements.  The student should be prepared to submit course syllabi for any courses he/she wishes to petition for equivalency. 

The Graduate College allows up to a maximum of 44 graduate hours of graduate credit to be applied to the 90 hour requirement; however, the Advisory Conference Report will specify the exact type and number of courses which must be completed at OU.

A student entering the doctoral program with a master's degree is expected to take general examinations within four years of entrance into the graduate program.

RESEARCH TOOLS.  You should begin work on your tool requirement as soon as possible.  Remember that your tool must fit your research interests and must be approved by your Advisory Committee. For example, students only should select the language tool option if they can demonstrate its applicability to their intended dissertation research. Research tool options are found in the Graduate Studies in Political Science Statement.

REQUIRED COURSES.  Doctoral students must take three
required courses: 


  • PSC 5913, Introduction to Analysis of Political and    Administrative Data
  • PSC 5933, Intermediate Analysis of Political Data
  • PSC 6003, Political Science:  Survey of a Discipline     

PSC 5913 and PSC 5933 normally are offered in the Fall and Spring semesters, respectively. The department schedules PSC 6003 on an irregular basis. The Graduate Studies Committee has adopted a rule that every doctoral student must take PSC 6003 at the first available opportunity.

PROGRESS TOWARD THE DEGREE.  The department normally expects full-time doctoral students to enroll in at least nine hours of course work during each of the fall and spring semesters. If a student carries a lesser load, it becomes difficult to complete the degree within a reasonable period of time. A graphic displaying normal progress for a full-time student in the Ph.D. program is included in this manual. Attention to these guidelines is particularly important for students who desire or are receiving departmental assistantship support.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT.  The department encourages graduate students to participate in a variety of professional development and career placement opportunities.  Each month, there is a student brown bag in which faculty and students meet to discuss special topics.  Recent examples include preparing for  general examinations, research expectations, job opportunities, networking, and placement.  In addition, the department hosts irregular research brown bags for faculty and graduate students who are presenting conference papers to “test-drive” their talk.

[NOTE: A brown bag presentation prior to conference attendance and research paper presentation is required as a condition to receive departmental travel funding.]

There are many special events with guest speakers such as the biennial Rothbaum Lectures, the annual Bellmon Lecture and job talks for prospective faculty members and graduate students are encouraged to attend these as well.  Presenting research at conferences is important for Ph.D. students, and information regarding student travel is highlighted in the Graduate Student Conference Travel Policy section of this manual.  Finally, when a Ph.D. is entering the job market, they should consult the Political Science website for information about placement activities and consult the Director of Placement.

ANNUAL EVALUATION.  The departments annually evaluate graduate student progress. The period covered includes fall and spring semesters and the previous summer, if applicable. Guidelines for the Annual Evaluation of Graduate Students are available on this website.  Ph.D. students are required to consult with faculty advisors and submit a mini-vitae in preparation for the written review in June.

RESEARCH.  Any student conducting human subjects research must first receive approval of the project from the IRB.  Prior to IRB approval, online training must be completed.  For further information, review the IRB Outline of Policies and Procedures.

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