Political Science Program Information
The Department of Political Science currently offers two graduate degrees: Master of Arts (thesis or nonthesis option) and Doctor of Philosophy. The political science–international relations program currently offers the Master of Arts (thesis or nonthesis option). Requirements for these degrees are given in the Graduate Degrees Section of this catalog. For further information about international relations, please contact the Political Science Department or visit their departmental page in this catalog.
Admission to graduate study in the Department of Political Science normally requires the completion of an undergraduate major in political science or its equivalent. Students without this preparation may be required to make up deficiencies early in their graduate work. The core sequence begins in the fall term, providing basic knowledge that students need in later semesters. In evaluating candidates for admission, the Department considers
- Prior academic achievement
- GRE scores
- Letters of recommendation from three faculty members or others familiar with the academic potential or work habits of the applicant
- A statement of purpose that conveys intellectual ambitions, indicates how the program of study satisfies the student’s interests and goals, and tells how the student would contribute to the program.
Fields of specialization offered by the Department include American government and politics, comparative politics, international relations, public policy, political theory, political behavior, and political methodology.
Master of Arts: The M.A. curricula are designed to serve students who want to pursue goals of an advanced general education, to gain skills and knowledge suitable for various types of public or private employment, or to prepare for further work at the doctoral level. M.A. students are required to complete POS 6736: The Conduct of Inquiry and STA 6126: Statistical Methods in Social Research I . Students may complete their M.A. degrees with or without writing a thesis. Students pursuing the thesis option must complete 30 hours of graduate course work. The thesis is expected to be of length and quality comparable to papers presented at professional academic conferences or published in academic journals. Students pursuing the nonthesis option must complete 36 semester hours of graduate course work and defend two qualifying papers. For both M.A. options, course work in political science, exclusive of core courses, must include a minimum of two graduate-level courses in one field of political science.
The M.A. degree may be taken in conjunction with the following certificate programs:
- Political campaigning
- Public affairs
Students in these certificate programs pursue the nonthesis option.
Public affairs: This program trains students for leadership positions in state, local, and national governments as well as for careers in nonprofit organizations by providing students with knowledge and skills in the areas of organization behavior, public budgeting and finances, public management, policy analysis, program evaluation, and computer applications. The curriculum consists of seminars in political science, public administration, public policy, process, state and local politics, and research methods. Supervised internships in selected agencies in Florida are arranged by the Department of Political Science as an integral part of the training program. This specialization requires 39 hours of course work plus satisfactory completion of a 3-hour internship at the discretion of the Department. Students must also defend a final management-policy paper that incorporates analytical and substantive expertise. Graduates of the program serve in a variety of professional positions, including city managers, heads of municipal departments, directors of nonprofit organizations, analysts for the state legislature, and budget analysts for the federal government. In addition to the M.A. degree in political science, students receive the Certificate in Public Affairs.
Political campaigning: The program is designed to provide students with the basic political skills, insights, and experience that are critical for success in the rapidly changing profession of politics and political consulting. The program combines an awareness of the academic literature on mass and elite behavior with exposure to the increasingly sophisticated techniques used by campaigns. Students take a total of 39 hours from four major areas:
- Courses required of all M.A. students
- Courses oriented to practical aspects of political campaigning and governmental affairs (lobbying), including a 3-credit campaign-related internship
- Courses placing campaigns and elections in the broader context of American politics
- Related courses offered by the College of Journalism and Communications
Entry-level jobs have included such positions as legislative aide, campaign (or deputy campaign) manager, polling analyst, state party political coordinator, general campaign consultant, and media relations. With additional experience, some former students have gone on to become state legislator (and later, member of the U.S. House of Representatives), deputy chief of staff to the governor of Florida, partner in a major Washington area polling firm, assistant to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and head lobbyist for a nationwide restaurant chain. In addition to the M.A. degree in political science, students receive the Certificate in Political Campaigning.
Law/Public Affairs joint degree program: This program culminates in the Master of Arts in political science and Juris Doctor degrees. A joint degree program culminating in the Master of Arts in political science international relations and Juris Doctor degrees is also available. The joint program enables students to earn both the J.D. and the M.A. in less time than would be required to earn both degrees consecutively. Full-time students who make satisfactory progress can usually earn both degrees in 4 years. Candidates for the joint degree program must meet the entrance requirements for, and be admitted to, both the College of Law and the Department of Political Science. These requirements include both the LSAT and the GRE. Students are encouraged to announce their intent of seeking a joint degree as soon as possible. The Department of Political Science will allow 12 hours of appropriate law school courses to be credited toward the M.A. degree. The 12 credits selected from the law curriculum must be approved by the Political Science graduate coordinator on the recommendation of the student’s supervisory committee. The College of Law will permit 12 hours of credit earned in political science graduate courses to be credited toward the J.D. degree. Students in the joint degree program are permitted, but not required, to pursue a companion certificate program in public affairs, political campaigning, or international development policy and administration.
Combined bachelor’s/master’s degree program: This combined program is designed for superior students who have the ability to pursue an accelerated program leading to the Bachelor of Arts and the Master of Arts degrees in political science or political science international relations.
Up to 12 semester hours of approved graduate-level political science courses may be used as credit for both the undergraduate and graduate degree. Applicants to the program must present
- Acceptable scores on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing portions of the GRE
- Completion of at least 24 semester hours at the University of Florida (including at least 12 semester hours of political science) with a GPA of 3.7 or higher
- Letters of recommendation from two faculty members in the Department of Political Science
The combined program is not recommended for students considering a Ph.D. program in political science at UF but is appropriate for those considering one of the M.A. degree plus certificate programs described above. Further information concerning this program is available from the departmental undergraduate and graduate coordinators.
Doctor of Philosophy: The Ph.D. program emphasizes preparation for academic careers through seminars, independent work with faculty, and professional development experiences including graduate paper readings, placement workshops, and a distinguished lecture series. The Ph.D. prepares students for teaching and research in either an academic or governmental environment and opens doors to other career opportunities in both the private and public sectors. The Ph.D. program emphasizes the development of strong analytic skills and sophisticated research methods. As resources permit, the Department provides students with funding for travel expenses to scholarly meetings and professional (methodological) training support. As part of the preparation for careers in academia, doctoral students are also generally expected to contribute to the teaching mission of the Department. All Ph.D. students must complete the following:
Fields of study open to Ph.D. students include comparative politics, American politics, public policy, international relations, political behavior, political theory, and political methodology. Applications are particularly welcome from students whose intellectual interests traverse these fields, including those with interests in religion and politics, state political institutions and policy, environmental politics, international development, and minority and ethnic politics.
University of Florida Ph.D. students benefit from associations with faculty in numerous other departments and centers. The Centers for Latin American Studies, African Studies, and European Studies, and the Asian Studies Program complement department faculty strengths in comparative politics and international relations. Students in the public policy concentration benefit from substantive expertise of faculty in the Institute for Child Health Policy, the Shimberg Center for Affordable Housing, and the Center for Gerontological Studies. Several faculty in the College of Journalism and Communications have interests in media and politics. For more information on these graduate programs, visit http://www.clas.ufl.edu/polisci/.