The Master of Arts program is designed for students who do not anticipate continuing their education beyond the master’s degree, or who do not plan to continue their education at Kent State.
The M.A. curriculum includes four required core courses, plus several proseminars and electives. Proseminars and electives are organized into three areas of specialization: American Politics and Policy; Policy Administration and Analysis; and Transnational and Comparative Politics and Policy.
MA students complete the degree by fulfilling either the Non-Thesis or Thesis Option.
If the Non-Thesis Option is chosen, students earn an M.A. by completing coursework. Students must take the same twelve courses (four core courses; one proseminar plus three electives in the student's first field; one proseminar plus two electives in student's second field; and one research tool) that doctoral students must take. Students do not have to write and defend a Thesis (36 credits).
If the Thesis Option is chosen, students earn an MA by completing coursework, plus writing and defending a thesis. Students must take nine courses (four core courses, two proseminars and three electives [one each from the first and second field, plus and additional course chosen in consultation with the student's advisor]). Students must write and defend a thesis in addition to completing the coursework.
Students may elect to complete a minor in a related discipline, which involves the successful completion of 9 credit hours of coursework in that discipline. Students not electing a minor in a related discipline are permitted to submit as many as 6 credits from related departments. Note that taking courses outside of political science will probably require additional coursework above the minimum hours required for an M.A. All credits from outside the department must be approved by the student’s M.A. committee.
Ph.D: The Doctor of Philosophy prepares students for research and teaching careers in higher education and for research-based careers in other fields. The program’s primary focus is on public policy. As with the Master of Arts degree, the doctoral curriculum includes four required core courses, plus several proseminars and electives. Proseminars and electives are organized into three areas of specialization: American Politics and Policy; Policy Administration and Analysis; and Transnational and Comparative Politics and policy. In addition to coursework, the program requires that students pass two field exams in their two areas of specialization, complete a research tool requirement, and write and defend both a dissertation prospectus and dissertation.
The normal program for full-time students is as follows:
- Year 1—Students complete four core courses, plus two proseminars (one from each field of specialization)
- Years 2-3—Students complete five electives (three from first area of specialization; two from second area of specialization) and fulfill the research-tool requirement in consultation with their Ph.D. advisory committee. After completing the necessary coursework, students must pass two field exams. Field examinations are completed before the second semester of a student’s third year. After passing the examinations, the students must defend a prospectus, create a dissertation committee and begin preparatory work on the dissertation. Students are expected to defend a prospectus by the end of their third year.
- Years 4-5—Students write dissertation and present a public, oral defense.
All full-time Ph.D. student must take the teaching course (POL 71094, College Teaching in Political Science) in the spring of their first year. Part-time PH.D. students take the teaching course in the first spring after they have completed 9 units.