Through rigorous research and applied curriculum, the PhD in Political Science provides an in-depth understanding of politics and government and the underpinnings of national and global civil society.

In the contemporary world, understanding politics and policy is one key to successful, peaceful, and prosperous national and global civil society. The PhD program in Political Science equips you with the politics and international studies expertise to make an impact not only in American political life and thought but also in political arenas around the globe. You will develop the analytical ability and practical experience for both academic and research-based positions. Our highly engaged faculty-scholars conduct research on a range of contemporary issues, such as voting rights, non-state war, the rise of China, conserving liberty, environmental justice, state capacity, data visualization, citizen participation, globalization, corruption, the administrative state, and immigration. Our program prepares scholars for academic careers, teaching, and research as well as government and public service.

Program Highlights
  • PhD students typically complete the 72-unit program in five years.
  • All students choose two areas of concentrated study from American Politics, Public Policy, and Methods.
  • Our graduates work in government and the private sector, at NGOs and international institutions; they are also found teaching at prestigious universities across the world.
  • Pursue your PhD in Political Science in conjunction with another degree, such as an MA in Psychology. You earn a diploma for each degree and  “double count” some units from one program to the other to decrease your required total units.

Program at a Glance

72 units

4 years (full-time) to 7 years (part-time)

*Actual completion times will vary and may be higher, depending on full- or part-time course registration, units transferred, and time to complete other degree requirements.

Fall | Spring | Summer

Division of Politics & Economics

PhD in Political Science

Featured Courses

PP 330
Public Policy Process

Examines how policy is formed, framed, and filtered in the American political system. Various theories and models of policy making are examined and compared.

PP 307
The Modern Presidency

Offers an overview and a framework for understanding the role the president occupies in contemporary American politics through different political science approaches to presidential research.

PP 338
Policy Design and Implementation

Explores how policy analysis can help us devise better public policies—and then make them work in practice.

PP 301
American Political Development

Provides a grounding in fundamental issues of American political development: citizenship, constitutionalism, party formation, state building, reform movements, and the construction of political identity.

ECON 382
Econometrics I

Explores the theory and application of simple and multiple regression analysis and the background needed for more advanced theoretical and applied econometrics courses.

Areas of Concentration


Research Spotlight


Faculty & Research

  • Mark Blitz profile image

    Mark Blitz

    Fletcher Jones Professor of Political Philosophy
    Field Chair, Political Philosophy
    Director, Salvatori Center for the Study of Individual Freedom

    Research Interests

    Political science, Philosophy, American politics

  • Heather E. Campbell profile image

    Heather E. Campbell

    Professor, Department of Politics & Government
    Director, Division of Politics & Economics
    Field Chair, Public Policy
    Thornton F. Bradshaw Chair

    Research Interests

    Public Policy, Urban Environmental Policy, Environmental Justice

  • Robert Klitgaard profile image

    Robert Klitgaard

    University Professor

    Research Interests

    Public Policy, Economic Strategy, Institutional Reform, Corruption

  • Javier Rodríguez profile image

    Javier Rodríguez

    Associate Professor

    Research Interests

    Public & Health Policy, Social Inequality, Quantitative Methods for Social Science Research

  • Jean Reith Schroedel profile image

    Jean Reith Schroedel

    Professor Emerita of Political Science
    Former Thornton F. Bradshaw Professor of Public Policy

    Research Interests

    Native American voting rights, American political development, women and politics, religion and politics, and congressional policy-making

  • Sallama Shaker profile image

    Sallama Shaker

    Senior Fellow of Middle East & International Studies

    Research Interests

    Power Politics, Religion, and Culture in the Middle East; Feminization of Poverty and Global Challenges; Globalization

Where You Can Find Our Alumni

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John Moore

Assistant Director of Admissions
T: 909-607-3925