The Department of Government
The Department of Government

PhD Requirements

Basic Requirements

A doctoral degree candidate must fulfill the following general requirements:

  1. Complete three foundation courses in political science and more specialized coursework in two fields of study
  2. Demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language or competence in research methods
  3. Pass written preliminary examinations in two separate examination fields
  4. Complete a total 17 organized courses before advancing to candidacy
  5. Prepare and orally defend a dissertation proposal
  6. Write an original dissertation and successfully defend it in oral examination

Program of Work

The Department offers specialized instruction in seven fields:

  1. American Political Institutions and Processes
  2. Comparative Politics
  3. International Relations
  4. Methodology and Formal Theory
  5. Political Theory
  6. Public Law
  7. Public Policy

Students are required to designate two of these fields as preliminary examination fields, and take and pass at least four courses in each of their two exam fields. Specific course requirements vary by field. Certification in the two exam fields is achieved through coursework and written examinations, followed by an oral examination of the dissertation proposal.

Program forms, rules, and related documentation can be found here: https://utexas.box.com/UTGOVgradprogram


  • Department of Government

    The University of Texas at Austin
    158 W 21st ST STOP A1800
    Batts Hall 2.116
    Austin, TX 78712-1704
    512-471-5121