The department offers graduate programs leading to M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in Government and in Foreign Affairs. Each of the programs, while emphasizing a specialized study pattern, is based upon a curriculum composed of the following four major fields:
- American Politics
- Comparative Politics
- International Relations
- Political Theory
M.A. in Government
A Masters degree in Government requires 24 hours of course credit plus an additional 6 hours of non-topical research for a total of 30 credit hours. A thesis is required as well completion of a Research Methodology requirement and a Foreign Language/Research Tools requirement.
M.A. in Foreign Affairs
A Masters degree in Foreign Affairs requires 24 hours of course credit plus an additional 6 hours of non-topical research for a total of 30 credit hours. A thesis is required as well completion of a Research Methodology requirement and a Foreign Language/Research Tools requirement.
M.A.-J.D. in Government and Law
The Department of Politics, in cooperation with the School of Law, offers a combined program leading to the degrees of J.D. and M.A.
M.A.-M.B.A. in Government and Business
The Department of Politics in cooperation with the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, offers a combined program leading to the degrees of M.B.A. and M.A.
Before admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree, the student must have received the M.A. degree (either in the department or at another university); completed 54 credits of graduate courses at the 500 level and above (24 Masters credits and 30 Doctoral credits), and 24 credits of non-topical research, including one designated departmental research methodology course; demonstrated either a reading knowledge of one language or competence in a designated quantitative methods course; passed two comprehensive examinations (or equivalent); and secured approval of a dissertation prospectus. (Note that a foreign language is required for Political Theory majors.) Comprehensive exams are offered in the four fields of the Department. At the time of applying for each exam, students shall designate whether the field will represent the major or minor field of study. Students are expected to complete all pre-dissertation requirements, including coursework, qualifying examinations (or equivalent), and dissertation prospectus, prior to the start of their 7th semester of study. Students are also required to write and submit at least one proposal for funding from an outside source by the end of their seventh semester in the program.
Research Methodology & Foreign Language/Research Tools Requirements
- The Department views research methodology as an integral part of graduate studies. Students must develop necessary expertise in the methods appropriate for their master’s and doctoral level research. Therefore, M.A. and Ph.D. students must satisfy a Methodology requirement and a Foreign Language/Research Tools requirement.
- The Methodology requirement may be satisfied by taking either PLAD 7090 (Research Methods in Political Science) or PLPT 5010 (The Nature of Political Inquiry). Students are to take one of these courses early in their career in the Department, and preferably during their first year.
- The Foreign Language/Research Tools requirement may be satisfied by demonstrating proficiency in one foreign language OR completing PLAD 7100 (Political Research with Quantitative Methods). (Note that Ph.D. students who major in Political Theory must demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language.)
Proficiency in a foreign language is demonstrated by any one of the following:
- passing a test administered by the appropriate language department at UVa;
- presenting viva voce evidence to a person acknowledged by the department as capable of evaluating competence in the language;
- achieving a grade of “B” in a 2020 level language course (a grade of B- is not acceptable) taken at the University of Virginia.
Foreign students whose first language is not English may use their native language in order to fulfill this requirement.
- Students may count PLAD 7090, PLAD 7100, and PLPT 5010 towards their Methodology and Research Tool/Foreign Language requirements and also toward their overall course credit requirements for the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. Language courses taken in other departments at the University will count toward the Research Tool/Foreign Language requirement but NOT toward the overall course credit requirement for the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees.
White Burkett Miller Center of Public Affairs
White Burkett Miller Center of Public Affairs is described under Special Programs and Centers in the General Information for the School of Arts and Sciences.
The department participates in programs sponsored by interdepartmental committees on Asian, Latin American, and Russian and East European area studies.
Courses offered by the department are divided into the following fields: I. American Politics, II. Comparative Politics, III. International Relations, IV. Political Theory. Those listed in this catalog are all offered for graduate credit. Undergraduates may register for courses at the 5000 level if they have completed 12 credits of work in the department, or with the permission of the instructor. Courses at the 7000 or 8000 level are exclusively for graduate students.