Loyola University Chicago

Department of Political Science

PhD in Political Science (Specialization of Global Politics)

To graduate with a PhD in Political Science students must complete 48 hours of course work (16 courses) in the Department of Political Science, 6 hours (2 courses) of which can be in a related discipline.  The PhD program revolves around the theme of “Global Politics,” which combines the subfields of Comparative Politics and International Relations, including specializations in Comparative Social Policy, Foreign Policy Analysis, Global Governance, or Political Development.  Students are required to take 7 courses in the subfields of Comparative Politics and International Relations (4 in one subfield and 3 in the other), including the core courses of Comparative Politics (PLSC 520) and International Relations (PLSC 430).  Students are also required to take 3 methods courses (PLSC 401, 475, and 476), 2 core courses in the subfield of American Politics, 1 core course in the subfield of Political Theory, and 1 directed readings course (PLSC 499) to develop a dissertation proposal.  Students must take PhD comprehensive exams, and write and defend a dissertation proposal and a dissertation.

Learning Outcomes and Professional Success

The PhD in Political Science is designed to achieve the following learning outcomes:

  • Acquire an in-depth understanding of the theories and scholarly literature devoted to the specialization of “Global Politics,” which combines the subfields of Comparative Politics (study of political processes in various regions of the world, such as Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East) and International Relations (study of global processes throughout the international system).
  • Acquire an in-depth understanding of the theories and scholarly literature devoted to two of the following four specializations: Comparative Social Policy, Foreign Policy Analysis, Global Governance, and Political Development.
  • Provide an introduction to the theories and scholarly literature devoted to the subfields of American Politics (study of U.S. institutions and political processes) and Political Theory (study of political philosophy ranging from Ancient to Modern and Contemporary political thought).
  • Obtain extensive methods training, including research design and statistical analysis, that will enable the successful candidate to effectively design and conduct research.
  • Obtain research and teaching training by serving as both a research assistant for department faculty and professor of record for at least one class during the period of the PhD student’s funding.
  • Enhance the ability of students to express their thoughts in writing (all Political Science graduate classes include a significant writing component).
  • Prepare PhD students for careers in research and teaching at colleges and universities or work in the government, non-profit, and private sectors.

We as a Political Science department also encourage our PhD students to take advantage of additional learning opportunities through numerous Political Science-sponsored programs that will enhance learning outcomes:

  • Acquire advanced methodological training, including taking advanced statistics courses at Loyola, as well as participating in specialized programs outside of Loyola, such as the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)
  • Pursue advanced language training/proficiency in a language other than English by taking language courses at Loyola, as well as by participating in specialized language programs outside of Loyola, especially if the student is planning on conducting field research outside of the United States.
  • Gain international, cross-cultural experience by participating in study abroad opportunities led by Political Science faculty or more broadly offered through Loyola’s Office for International Programs (OIP).

Strengthen class-based learning by attending Political Science-sponsored events, most notably our endowed Hartigan (fall semester) and Covey (spring semester) lecture series that bring prominent scholars and political figures to Loyola every semester to share their ideas and to meet with students.



1. Completion of the Master's degree (those students who did not come to Loyola with an M.A. will take the MA comprehensive exam after having completed 10 courses, including PLSC 401, 475 and 476).

2. Forty-eight semester hours (16 courses) of work, six hours (2 courses) of which can be in a related discipline. Required coursework includes (See Appendix A):

a. Methodology (475 must be taken in the first fall semester):

                        - PLSC 401: Research Design                   

                        - PLSC 475: Techniques of Political Analysis I

                        - PLSC 476: Techniques of Political Analysis II

b. Global Politics area of focus (comparative politics and international relations): Students must take at least seven courses; at least four in one field and three in the other. As part of the seven courses, all students must take the core courses in comparative politics (PLSC 520), and the core course in international relations (PLSC 430)

c. Two core courses in American Politics

d. One core course in Political Theory

e. One Directed Readings course (PLSC 499) to develop a dissertation proposal. This course should be taken in the last semester of that the student takes courses.

f. Two elective courses (these courses can be in a different discipline if appropriate for the students research focus)

Note: Students may be required to develop language proficiency to conduct research for their doctoral dissertations. The Graduate School can offer tuition credit for PhD students who need to take language courses that are necessary for dissertation research.

3. Comprehensive Exams: Candidates must pass comprehensive examinations. The comprehensive examinations have both written and oral components. All course requirements, including removal of all existing incompletes, must be fulfilled before students can take the written comprehensive exam.

4. Dissertation Proposal and Dissertation: Candidates must complete and successfully defend both a dissertation proposal and the completed dissertation.

Note: Students may transfer up to 12 semester hours (4 courses) of graduate credit from another university program based on an evaluation of their transcript. Students must complete four semesters of residence, including at least two consecutive semesters at Loyola. At least one academic year (two consecutive semesters) must be spent as a full-time student.



The average time-frame nation-wide for students to earn the PhD is between six and seven years. Completing the course work and passing the comprehensive exams normally takes two-and-a-half to three years, the remainder of the time to degree is principally up to the student. Some of our students have completed the PhD in just under five years.

Graduate School regulations require students entering the program with a Bachelor's Degree to complete all Ph.D. requirements, including the dissertation, within eight years of taking their first course in the degree program. Students admitted to the doctoral program with a Master's degree must complete all Ph.D. requirements, including the dissertation, within six years of the start of their program. A student failing to meet these deadlines may submit a petition to the Graduate Studies Committee requesting an extension of the relevant deadline. The final authority to extend the time limits resides in the Graduate School.

For further information, please contact Professor Molly Melin, Graduate Program Director, at mmelin@luc.edu or 773.508.8647.