Ph.D. in Politics

The politics Ph.D. program is distinguished by its relatively small size, and thus a very low student to faculty ratio, close and fruitful mentoring relationships between faculty and students, a methodological emphasis on qualitative methods, and comparative case analysis, rather than formal or statistical analysis, although expertise in the latter approach is also required.

We are a department geared toward the publication of books, and rank fifth in the publication of books in the most recent survey of the published scholarship of political science graduate programs, normed for size of faculty.

Above all, we are determined to produce excellent teacher-scholars, and our students have been increasingly successful in recent years, gaining jobs and post-doctoral positions at a number of research institutes, research universities and liberal arts colleges, including Dickinson College, University of New Hampshire, James Madison College, Michigan State University, the Council on Foreign Relations, Princeton University, Willamette University and the Brookings Institution.

Why Earn an Ph.D. in Politics?

  • Academic opportunities: The Ph.D. is of course a requirement for any permanent academic position in higher education.
  • Nonacademic careers: The doctoral degree enhances your qualifications for nonacademic careers (and higher salaries) in public and private organizations, from service in the federal government to the private sector.
  • Transferable skills: The emphasis on research, writing and public speaking will give you skills that are critical for every career path.

Why Brandeis?

It is certainly possible to earn a Ph.D. at many fine institutions, but there are compelling reasons why you should consider studying at Brandeis:

  • First-class training: The politics program is a highly selective program that trains students in the broad field of politics.
  • Dedicated mentoring: Brandeis is a small research university with an emphasis on small classes and genuine mentorship; each student has the opportunity to work closely with a distinguished scholar.
  • Intellectual diversity: Brandeis has an array of graduate programs that complement and overlap with the graduate program in politics, including history, Near Eastern and Judaic studies, sociology, and English and American literature.
  • Career support: The Office of Career Services helps to identify opportunities, design an effective resume and prepare for interviews.
  • Library resources: Library resources include our own Goldfarb Library. In addition, the Boston Library Consortium allows graduate students to use books in major libraries throughout the area. Graduate students have full access to many nearby manuscript repositories. Brandeis is within easy commuting distance of some of the very best public and private libraries in the United States, including the Boston Athenaeum, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Boston Public Library and the American Antiquarian Society.
  • Boston: Brandeis students partake of the rich intellectual and cultural environment of the Boston area — from a plethora of events at area universities to the array of museums and other institutions in metropolitan Boston.

Ph.D. Curriculum and Requirements

  • Full-time residence at the university for three years
  • Minimum of 12 term courses
  • Five required core courses plus a Special Area of Competency Independent Study
  • Participation in departmental graduate proseminar, a yearlong, noncredit course focused on professional development, including teaching competency
  • Reading knowledge of a foreign language demonstrated by passing a written translation examination
  • Passing of a formal oral and written examination
  • Completion and defense of the doctoral dissertation