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updated 6/3/2009

Political Science

Daniel R. Sabia, Chair

Professors
Shahrough Akhavi, Ph.D., Columbia University, 1969
John F. Hsieh, Ph.D., University of Rochester, 1982
Robert W. Oldendick, Ph.D., University of Cincinnati, 1977, Director of the Institute for Public Service and Policy Research
Jerel Rosati, Ph.D., American University, 1982
Gordon B. Smith, Ph.D., Indiana University, 1976, Director of the Walker Institute of International and Area Studies
Donald R. Songer, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, 1975
, Olin D. Johnston Professor of Political Science
Harvey Starr, Ph.D., Yale University, 1971, Dag Hammarskjold Professor in International Affairs
Kenny J. Whitby, Ph.D., University of Iowa, 1983
, Vice Chair
Laura Woliver, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 1986
, Graduate Director

Associate Professors
Katherine Barbieri, Ph.D., Binghamton University, 1996
Jill Frank, Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley, 1992
Daniel R. Sabia, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1978,
Department Chair
Mark E. Tompkins, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1980
, M.P.A. Director
David P. Whiteman, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, 1981

Assistant Professors
Anuradha Chakravarty, Ph.D., Cornell University, 2008
David D. Darmofal, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2003
Charles J. Finocchiaro, Ph.D., Michigan State University, 2003
Matthew C. Fuhrmann, Ph.D., University of Georgia, 2008
Heather Getha-Taylor, Ph.D., Syracuse University, 2007

Andrea McAtee, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, 2005
Kirk A. Randazzo, Ph.D., Michigan State University, 2003
Todd Shaw, Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1996, Undergraduate Director
Lee D. Walker, Ph.D., University of Florida, 2003
Wen Wang, Ph.D., Syracuse University, 2006
Neal Woods, Ph.D., University of Kentucky, 2003


Overview

The department offers advanced programs leading to the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in political science and international studies. In addition, the Master of Public Administration is also offered.

Admission

The general regulations of The Graduate School of the University of South Carolina regarding admission, residency, and degree requirements are applicable to all graduate students in the Department of Political Science. In addition to The Graduate School's application (available online at www.gradschool.sc.edu), the department requires that applicants submit materials that will provide evidence of their ability to successfully pursue and complete graduate work.

Admission is open to students with baccalaureate degrees in any field, but it is recommended that students take undergraduate course work in such areas as international studies, political science, history, economics, geography, or public administration. All applicants to the international studies, political science, and public administration degree programs must submit official transcripts of their undergraduate (and graduate) degree programs; scores on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical sections of the GRE; three letters of recommendation; a personal statement; and a resume or curriculum vitae. Applicants whose native language is not English must also submit a TOEFL or IELTS score. Detailed guidelines for all programs can be found at www.cas.sc.edu/poli/grad/index.html.

Degree Programs

Master of Arts, Political Science

The Master of Arts degree with a major in political science is specifically designed to provide a knowledge of political science and the professional skills necessary to pursue successful careers in governmental, quasi-public, private, and political organizations. The candidate for the M.A. must pursue a course of study that will normally include a minimum of 27 semester hours of course work, and 6 hours of thesis credit. Competency in one foreign language or in the use of quantitative methodologies, as well as a thesis, is required for the M.A. degree. Students must also complete one graduate course in statistics or demonstrate equivalent competence. For more detailed information on this degree, visit our Web site at www.cas.sc.edu/poli/grad/gradintroMA.html.

Doctor of Philosophy, Political Science

The doctoral degree program with a major in political science is specifically designed to prepare students for academic and top-level public service careers. Students acquire a general knowledge of the discipline of political science, its history, its subject matter, its relationship to other disciplines and professions, and the aspirations and obligations of political scientists.

Admission is based on an evaluation of the applicant's potential for successful graduate work. It is expected that applicants to the political science doctoral program will demonstrate a strong potential for advanced scholarly study. Admission will be based on a holistic evaluation of the candidate's complete academic background, including grades, test scores, past research accomplishments, and the evaluations contained in letters of reference. The admission decision depends in part on the qualifications of the total pool of applicants. There are no formal minimums since strength in one area may offset relative weakness in another area. However, the admissions committee uses the following indicators as rough benchmarks of the probability of success in our graduate program: scores of at least 600 verbal, 600 quantitative, and 4.5 analytical on the three sections of the GRE, an undergraduate GPA of 3.50 or above, and a TOEFL score of 620 (if applicable) or a comparable score on the IELTS Intl. Academic Course Type 2 exam. The admission deadlines for political science and international studies are January 15 for fall admission with departmental financial support and June 1 for fall admission.

Distribution of Fields

Students will choose a first field and a second field from the following list:

American Politics
Comparative Politics
International Relations
Political Theory
Public Administration and Public Policy
Public Law
Research Methodology

Distribution of Hours

First Field: 15 credit hours (including Gateway Proseminar)
Second Field: 9 credit hours (including Gateway Proseminar)
Core Courses: 21 credit hours
Electives: 6 credit hours
Dissertation: 12 hours
Total: 63 credit hours

Core Courses

POLI 502 Methods of Political Analysis
POLI 700 The Teaching of Political Science/International Studies (1 credit; to be repeated 3 times)
POLI 701 Theories of Political Inquiry
POLI 706 Advanced Methods of Political Analysis
POLI 711 Directed Research in Political Science (3 credits only; may not be repeated)
One political theory seminar chosen from the following:
POLI 707 Classics in Political Theory
POLI 703 Democratic Theory
or an alternative political philosophy course approved by the student's program committee

Field Requirements

Students are required to take the "Gateway Proseminar" in each of their fields, with the exception of the research methodology and political theory fields. The majority of courses taken to satisfy a field requirement must be taken within the political science department. Students choosing either research methodology or political theory as a second field cannot count required courses (e.g., POLI 502 Methods of Political Analysis) toward their fulfillment of field requirements.

Electives

Elective courses must pertain to the student's substantive area of research interest or strengthen necessary research skills.

Research Skills Requirement

Any special skills needed by the student to conduct dissertation research (e.g., a foreign language, additional econometric skills, etc.) must be acquired before taking comprehensive exams.

Examinations

Qualifying: A qualifying examination must be taken for formal admission to candidacy in the Ph.D. program in political science.

Comprehensive: Students will be required to take written examinations in both their first field and second field. Following completion of their written exams, students must take an oral exam.

Dissertation and Defense: The final phase of the doctoral program is the development, writing, and public defense of a dissertation, which is expected to represent a substantial contribution to the study of political science.

Master of Arts, International Studies

The Master of Arts degree with a major in international studies provides students with a strong foundation in the theory and practice of international studies. Normally, the master's candidate will complete 27 hours of substantive course work plus either 6 hours of thesis credit or an additional 6 hours of course work in lieu of writing a thesis for a total of 33 hours. The program may require more hours in the event of deficiencies. Each student will select one major field in which to complete 12 hours of graduate work and one minor field in which to complete 9 hours. The available fields are international relations theory and practice, foreign policy analysis, international law and organization, and comparative politics/studies. A full-time load for students is three courses per semester (not including foreign language courses). All M.A. candidates must pass a comprehensive examination. Competency in one foreign language or in the use of quantitative methodologies is required for the degree. For more detailed information on this degree, visit our Web site at www.cas.sc.edu/poli/grad/gradintroMA.html.

Doctor of Philosophy, International Studies

The doctoral degree program with a major in international studies is specifically designed to prepare students for academic and top-level public service careers. Admission is based on an evaluation of the applicant's potential for successful graduate work. It is expected that applicants to the international studies doctoral program will demonstrate a strong potential for advanced scholarly study. Admission will be based on a holistic evaluation of the candidate's complete academic background including grades, test scores, past research accomplishments, and the evaluations contained in letters of reference. The admission decision depends in part on the qualifications of the total pool of applicants. There are no formal minimums since strength in one area may offset relative weakness in some other area. However, the admissions committee uses the following indicators as rough benchmarks of the probability of success in the graduate program: scores of at least 600 verbal, 600 quantitative, and 4.5 analytical on the three sections of the GRE, an undergraduate GPA of 3.50 or above, and a TOEFL score of 620 (if applicable) or a comparable score on the IELTS Intl. Academic Course Type 2 exam.

The admission deadlines for international studies are:

  • January 15: fall admission with departmental financial support;
  • June 1: fall admission.

Students in the international studies doctoral program pursue a coherent course of study that will normally include a minimum of 72 semester hours, including 12 hours of dissertation credit. All students must complete 15 hours of required core courses. Each student will complete 21 hours of graduate course work divided among four fields: international relations theory and practice, international law and organization, foreign policy and analysis, and comparative politics/area studies. Students are also required to complete 12 hours of graduate course work from other, related disciplines, in order to obtain a solid interdisciplinary focus in their fields of study. In addition, all students in the international studies Ph.D. program must take a minimum of four elective courses (12 credit hours) to round out their graduate work. Advanced language or advanced statistics courses can be used to fulfill these elective requirements.

A qualifying examination must be taken for formal admission to candidacy into the Ph.D. program in international studies. This exam should be taken at the beginning of the fourth semester in the program, or after the completion of 24-27 credit hours. During the course of their studies, students must also demonstrate appropriate foreign language and methodological skills for conducting research in the respective fields of inquiry. Upon the completion of all course work, students must pass a comprehensive examination, and successfully defend a dissertation prospectus. The final phase of the doctoral program is the development, writing, and public defense of a dissertation, which is expected to represent a substantial contribution to knowledge within the broad area of international studies.

Master of Public Administration

The Master of Public Administration degree program strives to provide a broadly focused professional degree in the essential management and analytical elements of public administration and public policy analysis. The program attracts a sizable number of both pre-career and mid-career students with a variety of academic and professional backgrounds. Moreover, the program draws students who want to pursue a diverse range of professional careers in both the public and nonprofit sectors, as well as those who are interested in finding employment at the local level, in state agencies, in federal regional offices, and in Washington, D.C. The program gives students the requisite skills and knowledge to become more intelligent consumers of policy issues and more capable actors in their chosen professional careers.

Applicants to the M.P.A. program are expected to have combined GRE verbal and quantitative scores of 1000, an undergraduate grade pont average of at least 3.00, and a TOEFL score of 600 (computer score of 250) or a comparable score on the IELTS Intl. Academic Course Type 2 exam, if applicable. The M.P.A. program admits new students for the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Prospective students are encouraged to submit their applications early. This will enable the M.P.A. Admissions Committee and the USC Graduate School to process all materials in a timely fashion so that students can be considered for admittance during the requested academic terms. The deadlines for completed applicant files to be received at USC are:

April 1: Admittance and departmental assistantships/internships for the fall semester;
August 1: Admittance (without departmental aid) for the fall semester;
November 30: Admittance for the spring semester;
May 1: Admittance for the summer session.

For more detailed information on the M.P.A. program, visit www.cas.sc.edu/poli/grad/gradintroMPA.html.

The M.P.A. degree requires 39-48 semester hours of credit, depending on the prior preparation of the student. The program curriculum can be broken down into five components.

1. Prerequisites. Students must possess a basic proficiency in statistics and a basic understanding of American government. Students who lack such skills/expertise are required to take prerequisite courses in one or both of these areas, preferably at the beginning of their program of study.

2. Core courses. All students must take classes in organizational theory and practice, human resource management, public finance, public policymaking, public data analysis, and public ethics and accountability. Taken together, these courses give students a comprehensive overview of the major elements of public administration and public policymaking.

3. Electives. All students must take a set of elective courses that will further their knowledge of, and administrative competency in, a particular area. The electives must constitute a coherent set of courses. But this component of the curriculum is left flexible so that students can pursue more specialized interests in a variety of relevant fields of study.

4. Internship. An internship in a public organization or nonprofit agency is required of all students who lack significant administrative experience. The internship is an integral part of the curriculum, as it gives students an opportunity to experience the real world of public service.

5. Capstone seminar. The capstone seminar is taken by all students, preferably during their last semester in the program. In the capstone seminar, students complete a project in which they integrate the material from other M.P.A. courses in their analyses of contemporary public problems. The M.P.A. program participates in two dual-degree programs with other academic units at the University of South Carolina, and two joint degree programs with other institutions in the state.

Master of Public Administration/Master of Social Work. This combined degree program enables students to earn two complementary, but distinct, graduate degrees. Core course requirements in one program are used as electives in the other, thus reducing the total number of hours required to complete both degrees to 87 credits. To be eligible, students must apply to, and be accepted by, both programs.

Master of Public Administration/J.D. This degree program is offered in cooperation with the School of Law. It allows M.P.A. and J.D. students to receive "dual credit" for 21 semester hours of course work and acquire both a J.D. and a M.P.A. degree with fewer total credit hours than it would take to receive each degree independently. To be eligible, students must apply to, and be accepted by, both programs.

Joint M.P.A. Degree with the College of Charleston graduate-level programs. Together, the University of South Carolina and the College of Charleston offer a joint M.P.A. degree for students in the Charleston area. Faculty and staff from both institutions are involved in student admissions, curriculum development, course instruction, and graduation certification, but the College of Charleston assumes primary responsibility for program administration. All inquiries about program admittance should be directed to the College of Charleston.

Course Descriptions (POLI)

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