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Indiana University Bloomington

Woodburn Hall facilities

Graduate Program

The establishment of the Graduate Program in the Department of Political Science at Indiana University, Bloomington, dates back to 1915. Since then, it has granted no less than 600 degrees at the masters and doctoral levels. Many of our graduates hold academic appointments at major research institutions and liberal arts colleges as well as prominent research positions in government and business.

Our Graduate Program is designed to train professional political scientists who wish to establish research careers in academic institutions. It is intentionally designed to provide broad and rigorous training in the six major sub-fields of political science, including American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Public Policy, Political Philosophy, Theory and Methodology.

Currently, the Department has two requirements related to substantive and methodological preparation. In terms of substance, all students are required to take Y570, Introduction to the Study of Politics, as well as completing two of the Approaches and Issues seminars in the students' two chosen fields of specialization. On the methodological front, students are required to complete a tool skill requirement, which means that they need to become proficient in either a method (i.e., qualitative/quantitative, or a blend of both) or a language. In addition to the substantive and methodological requirements, students must also complete a minor area of study in a program of study that is outside of the Department of Political Science. Since many of Indiana University's social science and humanities programs are nationally ranked among the best, students are often able to study areas that nicely complement their interests in political science while also introducing them to important theories and constructs in other fields.

In many respects, our graduate program is decentralized and relatively flexible. The subfields are responsible for designing the curriculum as well as the standards by which students, within them, are evaluated. While all subfields are expected to adopt procedures that are sound and also in-keeping with departmental programs, students work primary through two advisory committees to complete their program of study. The first is a pre-dissertation advisory committee, known as the Progress Review Committee, which assists students in developing a course of study that fits each student's particular interests. The second committee is established after students successfully complete the examination process, and it is known as the Research/Dissertation Committee that is responsible for guiding students through their research process at the dissertation level.

In addition to substantive course work, the Department equips students with the necessary professional skills. For example, we offer workshops and seminars focusing on teaching, writing research grants, and publishing journal articles, as well as balancing teaching, research and service requirements. We work hard to cultivate a real community between graduate students and faculty by hosting brown-bag sessions and workshops that expose students to various stages of the research enterprise, paradigmatic changes in the profession, and a host of speakers, including: Dr. Oscar Arias, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former President of Costa Rica; and Robert Dahl, former President of the American Political Science Association. We plan to introduce our graduate students to many more such prominent political leaders and scholars. Political Science graduate students are funded primarily through Associate Instructorships, which provide support for students to serve as graders in large undergraduate classrooms and, occasionally, as independent instructors. There is currently no general departmental funding for research assistants. The Department does, however, sometimes provide support for students to give papers at regional as well as national conferences.

The Department encourages graduate students to complete their degrees in five years. We offer a complimentary placement service in order to assist students in securing academic positions in major research institutions, in government, and also in business.