Jun 16, 2024  
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Department of Political Science and International Relations

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Political Science and International Relations (MA, PhD)

Telephone: (302) 831-2355
Faculty Listing: https://www.poscir.udel.edu/people/faculty

Program Overview

The Department of Political Science and International Relations offers both MA (Master of Arts) and PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) degrees.  The graduate program is a PhD focused program consisting of coursework during the first six semesters followed by dissertation research and writing.   A limited number of students interested in a terminal MA degree may be admitted.  The MA degree is a two-year, 38 credit program.   Students admitted for the MA but who wish to pursue the PhD degree may apply to the PhD program during their second year of the graduate program. The PhD program is a 62 credit program.  

Graduate study in the Department is organized around four of the major subfields within the discipline of Political Science: American Politics, International Relations, Comparative Politics, and Political Theory. Students are required to pick one of these major subfields within the discipline as their primary field and must select a second as their secondary field. Alternatively students may construct their secondary field in consultation with a faculty member and with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies. Examples include Gender and Politics, Methodology, Political Psychology, etc.

Admission Requirements

Those seeking admittance and possible financial assistance should submit a completed application by January 15 for
admission effective the following September.

To be accepted into the program students are evaluated on several criteria:

  1. Performance on the GRE. The GRE General Test has recently been revised. While the program does not have strict cut-offs for scores, competitive scores for admissions are 155 or above for the verbal section, and 150 or above for the quantitative section.
  2. Undergraduate grade point averages. Competitive GPA’s for admission are a 3.00 overall, 3.25 in a major field, and 3.5 in any prior graduate work in political science.
  3. Three letters of recommendation.
  4. For international students, a TOEFL score. Competitive scores for admission are at least 600 paper-based or 100 internet-based.

Applicants are encouraged to submit examples of written work.

Admission to the graduate program is competitive. Those who meet stated requirements are not guaranteed admission, nor are those who fail to meet all of those requirements necessarily precluded from admission if they offer other appropriate strengths.

For Students with Previous Graduate Education:

Students arriving with an MA degree, in political science or another discipline, must nonetheless begin anew in our program and complete all its requirements, including core and track course work.

According to University policy up to nine credits from previous graduate coursework - credits NOT used to obtain a degree elsewhere, however - may transfer in to UD. These must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies after reviewing relevant syllabi, and generally transfer in as elective credits.

Normal Progress Toward Degree

  1. According to University policy, to be considered in “good academic standing” a student must maintain a minimum cumulative graduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale each semester. To be eligible for an advanced degree, a student’s cumulative grade point average shall be at least 3.00 and a student’s grades in courses counted toward the degree requirements of the program shall equal at least a 3.00. A grade below a B will not be counted toward the course requirements for a degree but is calculated in the student’s cumulative grade point average.
  2. Students should avoid accumulating grades of Incomplete. A student who fails to remove an Incomplete from his or her record by the end of the sixth week of the semester following that in which it was awarded will be considered no longer making normal progress toward the degree.
  3. An assessment of each student’s performance and progress is undertaken at the end of each fall semester by the Director of Graduate Studies in conjunction with other Department faculty. The purpose of this assessment is to identify any academic problems that may impede progress toward a degree as early as practicable in a student’s graduate career, and to make recommendations for appropriate courses of action.


  1. Funding is available to graduate students in the form of graduate assistantships (for teaching and/or research), tuition scholarships, and University fellowships. These awards are merit based.
  2. Students who receive graduate assistantships or fellowships must achieve a grade of B or higher in every course while taking a minimum of nine credit hours per semester (unless fewer than nine credits are needed to complete the credit requirements for the degree). Retention of funding from the Department normally requires a student to maintain a GPA of above 3.50. Occasionally there is a re-allocation of funding if new resources have come available. In general, all funding allocations are reviewed each February by the Graduate Admissions and Funding Committee, to make funding decisions for the following year. If a student is in jeopardy of losing funding, the Department will follow University procedures and give written notice of this, and a time frame in which a student may improve their performance.
  3. Students who receive graduate assistantships or fellowships are expected to work 20 hours per week and must satisfactorily fulfill the requirements of their positions. Work may consist of teaching or research.
  4. Any student who, in the judgment of the Director of Graduate Studies, with the advice of the graduate faculty, fails to demonstrate sufficiently strong performance in his or her studies, research, and teaching (as applicable) will be subject to the suspension of his or her graduate assistantship, fellowship or tuition scholarship, as per University procedures.
  5. Funding is awarded on an annual basis. Students entering the PhD program with funding may anticipate funding for up to four years, depending upon academic performance, faculty evaluations, and performance as graduate assistant. Funding for the spring semester of the fourth year is contingent on successful completion of the dissertation proposal defense. Per Section 10.b of the Graduate Handbook, all dissertation proposal defenses must be held at the end of the spring semester of the student’s third year or the beginning of the fourth year (but not later than October 1 of the student’s fourth year). Funding for the spring semester of the fourth year is contingent upon having passed the dissertation proposal defense. Unfunded students who do not meet this deadline will not be offered teaching opportunities.


  1. Students will be assigned an advisor by the Director of Graduate Studies. Students who wish to change advisors are free to do so, but must fill out a change of advisor form available in the Department office, obtain the necessary signatures, and return the form to the Graduate Administrative Assistant in the Department office.
  2. Students are encouraged to have their programs reviewed each semester by their advisors. More frequent consultation with the advisor is encouraged to ensure satisfactory progress towards the degree.
  3. Students must keep the Department and their advisors informed of their current contact information.



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