The Catholic University of America

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Ph.D. in Politics

The Catholic University of America is one of the oldest research universities in the United States, and the Politics Department has a long tradition of doctoral scholarship.

The Ph.D. in politics offers concentrations in Political Theory, World Politics, and American Government.  Class sizes are small--generally under ten students per course--and feature traditional seminar-style environments and close working relationships with Politics Department faculty.  Our doctoral students achieve breadth of training with a minor as well as a major field and a required course sequence in political theory.  They deepen their expertise through seminar papers, a range of specialized elective classes, the opportunity for independent study courses with individual professors, and especially through the dissertation:  a rigorous culminating research project under the supervision of our faculty.  A limited number of merit scholarships and teaching assistantships are available on a competitive basis for highly qualified students.

Coursework and examinations are designed to be completed in three years of full-time study (three courses in each of six semesters, concurrent with comprehensive examinations at multiple stages).  Students with prior Master's degrees, or who take a more ambitious course load, are often able to meet these requirements more quickly.  Students who work full-time have the option to pursue coursework part-time (one or two classes per semester); our classes are generally scheduled in the evenings to facilitate this.  As an independent work of serious scholarship, the doctoral dissertation also requires a significant time commitment.  Overall, our median Ph.D. total time to degree (including time working towards the MA, if obtained in our department) is under seven years, which is very competitive with the national average in the field.

Graduates of our doctoral program have pursued a range of careers not only as scholars and teachers but also in other areas of higher education and in policy analysis, politics and advocacy, and government service. Several of our graduate alumni have gone on to publish scholarly books:  recent and forthcoming volumes analyze such themes as polarization in the U.S. Senate, human rights in Turkey, counterterrorism policy in Europe, the political thought of Peter Viereck, and the imagination of Ronald Reagan.

Program Details and Requirements
Course descriptions