The Rutgers' program in political science is directed primarily toward the Ph.D. The Ph.D. is a research and scholarship degree. Exceptional applicants are admitted to this program directly upon completion of the B.A. Others enter after completion of M.A. work at another institution. Students take their qualifying doctoral examinations after the equivalent of two years of full-time study. Writing a doctoral dissertation then requires about two additional years. The typical total time for the Ph.D. degree is five or six years from the time of first enrollment, with a maximum of seven years. Extensions in completion of the dissertation are allowed under exceptional circumstances.
The Rutgers Graduate Program in political science is divided into six substantive areas or fields: American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory, public law and women and politics. For the Ph.D., preparation in at least two, and in most cases three, of these fields is necessary, as well as demonstration of competence in quantitative analysis. A language requirement exists in the fields of comparative politics and political theory.
- Students will select a major area of study from among the six concentrations in political science and complete required course work in that area.
- To qualify in the major field a student must, further, pass a written exam and an oral exam. (See Examinations for further details.)
- In addition to the major field, a Ph.D. student must complete work in two additional fields.
- To qualify in the first minor field (to be selected from the six fields in political science), a candidate must pass a written minor field exam. (See procedures for exams below).
- To qualify in the second minor field, a candidate must complete a series of at least three courses with an average of better than B+ (3.5+). Individual fields may establish more detailed requirements (see field descriptions below).
- Courses may be taken from either: (a) the existing six fields or (b) areas not generally available within the department. Courses selected under option "b" must be approved in writing by the field chair in the student's major field and then submitted for approval to the vice chair for graduate studies.
- Whatever group of courses is chosen to constitute the second minor field, those courses should be justified in terms of the following general criteria: (1) the coherence of the proposed course of study, (2) the relevance of the course work to the research and/or teaching of the student, and (3) the relevance of the course work to the student's future job placement, recognizing that most of our students will be asked to teach a broad range of courses within a political science department.
- Ph.D. students are required to complete 48 credits of course work and research prior to taking exams and embarking on the dissertation. Students will distribute their course work among their chosen fields, meeting the requirements of those fields as set forth below.
- In addition, a student must complete a "significant" research paper, generally in the major field.
- All students are required to participate in the Second Year Graduate Student Conference in which they present a major research paper.
- Candidates who have successfully passed all exams must submit a dissertation prospectus and organize their dissertation committee of four faculty within six months followed by a formal, oral presentation of the dissertation prospectus (Forms are available at the graduate office). In addition to the chair, two additional members must be members of the Rutgers Department of Political Science faculty. Students must also include an outside reader from another institution at the time they form their committee.
REQUIREMENTS, REGULATIONS, PROCEDURES
Admission to Rutgers
Administration of admissions is handled by the Graduate Admissions Office, 18 Bishop Place, New Brunswick, N. J. 08901. The actual decisions are made by the Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid in political science. Confidentiality is maintained in the consideration of applicants.
The credentials to be submitted are the formal application, obtained through the Graduate Admissions website @ http://gradstudy.rutgers.edu/, transcripts of all undergraduate work, recommendations of three persons (preferably Professors with whom the applicant has studied), and the verbal, math and writing scores on the Graduate Record Examinations. Students should, in addition, submit a sample of their written work which they believe to be indicative of their ability to do graduate work in political science. Decisions on admission will normally not be made until all of these materials are in hand.
Early application is urged. Persons seeking financial aid and persons seeking to transfer directly into the Ph.D. program are particularly advised to apply early, in any event, no later than January 10th. For everyone else, the deadline is February 10th.
Budgetary restraints on enrollment mean that all qualified students cannot be accepted. As rough rules, applicants are more likely to be accepted if they have an A- average or better, particularly in social science work, a combined verbal and math score of 1350 or more and a writing score of 5.0 or better in the Graduate Record Examinations, and strong letters of recommendation. However, each case is considered individually. Rutgers desires to attract students from varied backgrounds, including women, members of minority groups, and foreign students. Therefore, the standards listed are rough rules only.
Experience has taught us that graduate school in the United States can be a particularly difficult experience for students whose native language is not English, and we therefore like to see TOEFL scores (Test of English as a Foreign Language) for such students at the 90th percentile or above. (This is 110 or higher on the new internet-based test.)
Admitted students who come to Rutgers from another institution may transfer up to 24 credits of their previous work towards the Ph.D., after they have successfully completed one semester (12 credits) at Rutgers. Please visit http://gsnb.rutgers.edu/resources/graduate-students-forms. However, there is no prior guarantee of the number of credits which will be transferred. Credits will normally be transferred only for courses comparable in length, quality and content to those offered in the political science program in New Brunswick. Credits are usually not transferred for undergraduate courses or independent study programs. Applications for transfer credits, available at the Graduate School and the Department, must be submitted along with grade and syllabi.
A variety of financial aid is available to graduate students in political science at Rutgers. Included are:
- Excellence Fellowships and Special Graduate School Fellowships are national awards for students of exceptional ability seeking the Ph.D. Several of these awards provide five-year packages ranging from $22,000 per year plus tuition remission. In each of the last several years the Department has offered six of these awards to outstanding applicants regardless of field and geographical origin. In addition to the usual credentials, applicants for these awards should send a sample of their written research.
- Teaching Assistantships. Approximately 18 Teaching Assistantships are awarded, offering beginning salaries of approximately $24,000 plus full tuition and health benefits. These provide an opportunity for close work with faculty, and require about 15 hours of work weekly. The assistants are selected by the Admissions and Financial Aid Committee of the Graduate Faculty. Most of the Assistantships are reserved for students who have completed 24 credits of graduate work at Rutgers by the beginning of the position. The positions are awarded for one year, with re-appointment for a second year considered upon satisfactory performance. A third-year appointment is possible for students showing excellent performance. Applications for Assistantships are circulated in February among enrolled students. In addition, 8 to 10 senior graduate students in political science (ABD) serve as teaching assistants in the English department. Students teach basic expository writing courses which, among other things, stress the importance of "writing across the curriculum."
- Various opportunities for research assistantships and part-time employment are available at the Eagleton Institute of Politics and its Center for American Women in Politics and with other Centers and Institutes and individual faculty holding outside grants. The Eagleton Institute also offer offers fellowship opportunities for graduate students who wish to further their understanding of the practice of politics and public affairs. Please visit http:/www.eagleton.rutgers.edu/ for more information.
- The William and Mary Porte Peace Dissertation Fellowship is funded by a gift from William and Mary Porte. It supports dissertation research that promises to make a significant intellectual contribution to the understanding of conditions that contribute to world peace. Students in any field may apply in an annual competition for an award of up to $2,500.
- Students are also encouraged to apply for external dissertation support from organizations such as the National Science Foundation, Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowships, Fulbright and, The Resource Center for Graduate Student External Support, which serves the Graduate School-New Brunswick community @ http://chaser.rutgers.edu/gsnb.html.Our students have had notable successes in each of these areas in recent years.
When registering for courses, students should keep in mind the following principles, regulations and advice. In all cases, students should see their advisers before registration.
- All students must submit in writing their major and minor field choices at the end of their first year. Students should consult with their advisor or the field chair of their proposed major field regarding the selection of major and minor fields and obtain the signature of their adviser on the standard form (available from the graduate office).
- Each Ph.D. student must take the proseminar and core courses for his or her major and minor fields, and should then build on this preparation in more specialized work. A minimum of three courses (including the core course) is required in each field. As much as possible, students are well-advised to diversify their courses among their three fields.
- All Ph.D. students must demonstrate competence in research methods by completing 790:532-533 Research Design in Political Science (normally in their first year) and submit at least one significant research paper which addresses a theoretically interesting topic and/or an analytically important controversy.
- Comparative politics and political theory students must pass a foreign language examination. Students in American Politics and International Relations have additional requirements in research methods.
The graduate proficiency exams are organized by the Language Institute information about the exam, the schedule, and how to register are located at their website http://languageinstitute.rutgers.edu/students/81 or
20 Seminary Place
New Brunswick NJ 08901
Ph.D. students will select a major area of study from among the six concentrations or fields. To qualify in the major, a student must pass a written exam and an oral exam that takes the written exam as its point of departure. The written exam in the major field is a take-home, open-book exam which each student has 12 hours to complete.
Ph.D. students must also pass a written (but not an oral) exam in their first minor field. See the department’s revised Rules and Guidelines for Comprehensive Field Exams for more details.
Both the major and minor examinations are given twice a year, usually over a week's time in November and April. The dates of examinations are announced at least two months in advance, at which time students are asked to inform the Graduate Department of their intention to take these tests, along with a statement of the field and sub-field to be taken. They must also make an appointment to meet with the Graduate Director. In announcing their intentions, students are responsible for adhering to the following regulations:
- Both examinations (major and minor field) must be taken in the semester following the completion of the 48th credit of course work. Following completion of the 48 credits of coursework and passing the comprehensive examinations students are required to complete an additional 24 research credits. Students must complete a total of 72 credits in order to receive their Ph.D. degree.
Qualifying Examination Workshop
- All students are urged to join a Qualifying Examination workshop in the semester of the completion of their required course work or in the following semester. Groups may be formed according to shared areas of concentration. These workshops provide a loose structure within which students may come together to form small, self-directed study groups to help in preparing for the Qualifying Examination.
- A student may retake an unsuccessful examination in any field once. All examinations must be successfully completed before the formal appointment of the student's dissertation committee and to be considered ABD. Beyond course work in the various fields, and mastery of the literature for each field examined, students are expected to demonstrate mastery of the general concepts, data, and methods of the discipline of political science.
The written examinations are constructed by all faculty in the field and graded anonymously by three-person committees. Grades will be available within two weeks of the hand-delivery of Xerox copies of the examinations to the grading committee. Students successfully passing both major exams may apply to the graduate school for a Masters degree in political science. There are no additional requirements for obtaining this degree, and while it is not particularly useful, no additional university fees are incurred.
Terminal Masters Degree
Occasionally, students decide to end their graduate studies before writing the dissertation. In such cases students who do not already have a masters degree from another institution may apply for a terminal masters degree from Rutgers. To receive a terminal masters degree, students must (1) complete 30 credits of graduate coursework from Rutgers, and (2) either a) pass the minor exam in their field of specializations; or b) write a master's thesis, which must be read and approved by a thesis adviser and one other reader from the major field of specialization.
Guidelines for Pre-Dissertation Research Papers:
All Ph.D. students shall submit at least one significant research paper which addresses a theoretically interesting topic and/or an analytically important controversy. The research will generally be in the student's major field and may grow out of work begun in a previously completed course and may be continued in an independent study course.
The paper should be of very high quality. Indeed, students should strive to submit these projects for presentation at major professional meetings and/or journals for publication, though others may be "trial runs" of dissertations.
The paper is to be evaluated by a committee of at least two faculty members to be approved by the student's major field advisor (in consultation with other fields when the paper is not in the major field). Satisfactory completion of the paper must include revisions requested by that committee. Students are encouraged to complete these papers before the Ph.D. examinations, but in any case they must satisfactorily complete the paper before being admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D.
All students are required to participate in the Second Year Graduate Student Conference in which they present a major research paper. This is also a requirement for admission to candidacy in the Ph.D.
The Doctoral Dissertation
Upon completion of his or her qualifying examinations, a doctoral student will commence the serious individual research which culminates in the doctoral dissertation. The dissertation provides evidence of the student's ability to perform a significant and extensive individual work that merits his or her acceptance into the community of scholars. To this end students should consider their dissertations as leading to significant publication in the form of professional journal articles or books.
Assistance and direction are provided by a supervisor and dissertation committee, appointed by the Vice Chair for Graduate Studies, after consultation with the student and relevant faculty members. While this assistance is vital and freely given, completion of the dissertation ultimately depends on the individual's own research, imagination, preparation, and simple persistence.
The dissertation committee consists of four persons, three political scientists and a relevant outside faculty member, from another university or from another discipline at Rutgers. The chair of the dissertation committee is the person with whom the student will work most closely on his or her dissertation. The chair is not appointed unless both the faculty member and the student agree to work together.
After the student has prepared an elaborate statement (perhaps ultimately a first chapter) of the purposes, scope, methods and sources of the dissertation research that is satisfactory to the chair of the dissertation committee, the committee is then convened to evaluate this initial dissertation prospectus. The formal dissertation prospectus should be presented to the committee within six months of the completion of the qualifying examinations. See Dissertation Prospectus: Guidelines for Political Science Graduate Students. At this stage, any member of the dissertation committee has the right to insist that the student revise his or her thinking along specified lines; but once the dissertation committee approves the prospectus, its members are no longer entitled to insist on major revisions in the purpose, scope or methodology of the dissertation. Their role thereafter is rather one of assessing whether the student has effectively carried out the research project to which they had given their approval.
Each field will make available formal guidelines regarding the design of the proposal, its structure and substantive content.
Academic Standing, Grades, and Time Limits
The general expectation of the department is that students will proceed effectively and directly toward the completion of degrees. A number of Graduate School and departmental regulations are intended to help fulfill these objectives. They deal with the following subjects:
1) Course grades are as follows: A -- distinguished; B -- good; C -- passing; and F --failure. Intermediate grades of B+ or C+ also may be awarded.
An Incomplete grade is available only on a limited basis. No more than one cumulative grade of Incomplete is permitted, and must be removed within one year. Students with more than one Incomplete will not be allowed to register for classes.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR INCOMPLETE GRADES?
Any student incurring grades of Incomplete will have one year to complete the course. Requests for waiver of this one year limit must be made by the student, recommended by the course instructor and graduate director, and approved by the Office of the Dean. This waiver should be sought prior to the one year expiration date, as it will not be routinely granted. Students who have more than one Incomplete will be allowed one semester to reduce the number to one (or none), after which they will not be allowed to register for additional courses until these are completed or "abandoned."
WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR PERMANENT INCOMPLETE GRADES?
a. In order to continue to register, a student may choose to "abandon" a course. ("Abandoned" refers to a situation in which students have agreed that the course may no longer be completed and the program has agreed to allow them to continue with Permanent Incompletes on their records.) In such cases the student requests a change from IN (Incomplete) to PIN (Permanent Incomplete). The PIN is not regarded as an outstanding incomplete and does not hinder further registration, unless it represents part of a pattern which could warrant, from faculty, a warning or dismissal for unsatisfactory progress. Responsibility for the monitoring of this process resides with the graduate program.
b. Incompletes not removed in favor of a letter grade may be converted to a PIN to indicate that the option to complete the course has expired.
c. Requests for conversion of IN to PIN may be recommended with reasons stated by the graduate program director, either by forwarding a letter or submitting a Change of Grade form to at the Office of the Dean. The request for this action should originate from the student. PIN's are not to be assigned to final grade rosters.
2) Time Limits. From the time of first registration, three years are permitted for completion of the M.A. and a total of seven years for completion of the Ph.D. The time for completion of the Ph.D. may be extended annually, under exceptional circumstances, for up to three additional years, by the Graduate Director, with the approval of the Rutgers Undergraduate School, and thereafter only by special annual action of the Graduate Faculty. These time limits are enforced, and students failing to make continuing progress will have their studies terminated. Transfer credits are included proportionately in these limits.
3) A year's full-time residence at Rutgers is normally required of all doctoral students.
4) Students' graduate studies may be terminated if they fail to maintain satisfactory academic or professional standards. Their records are reviewed periodically and termination generally will be recommended for students receiving more than two grades of C or worse in one semester, or four grades of C or worse in their cumulative record at Rutgers. A maximum of nine credits with a grade of C is permitted for the M.A., and a maximum of twelve credits with a grade of C toward the Ph.D.
Students will also be terminated if they fail to pass their major and/or minor qualifying exams after taking them twice.
5) Because individual cases are not always met by general rules, special exemptions to any departmental regulations may be granted by action of the faculty (with a minimum quorum of ten). Appeals for such action are made simply by a written request of the student submitted to the Graduate Director. After an appeal is considered, it may be reconsidered only if such action is requested by the Graduate Director or written request of any five faculty members.
6) The Graduate Diploma application, obtainable from the Registrar or the Graduate School Office, must be completed and submitted by each candidate before April 2 for a diploma bearing the date of the May commencement, by October 2 for a diploma dated October, and by January 2 for a diploma dated January. Unless the application is filed by the appropriate time, the degree will not be conferred and graduation will necessarily be delayed, in some cases by as much as one year. There is no fee for the MA diploma.
7) Academic degree requirements, including the completed application for admission to candidacy, must be completed and fees for microfilming and thesis binding paid by April 2, for a May degree; for October, requirements and fees should be taken care of by October 2, and for January, by January 2.
8) A candidate who is unable to complete the academic degree requirements by the latest date allowed by the department offices and the office of the Dean, and who must therefore apply for a later diploma, must complete a new diploma application.