Graduate Programs in Political Science
The Department of Political Science offers MA and PhD degrees. Our primary goal at the PhD level is to educate scholars who will contribute to the development of political science through careers in teaching and research. The MA can be taken in either of two tracks, one requiring the completion of a thesis; the other a comprehensive exam. Either track provides graduates with advanced training suitable for policy analysis, journalism or other professional careers. Our graduates leave Binghamton University prepared for employment in academia, research institutes, government or private industry.
The organization of the program is based on two convictions:
- that political science is a unique subject matter that requires specialization
- that in the next generation all social sciences, including political science, will rely increasingly on systematic evidence and quantitative analysis
Foreseeing this as our future, we have designed our program to help students successfully participate in it.
Our program emphasizes a broadly-based theoretical understanding of political behavior and institutions, coupled with the ability to carry out systematic empirical analysis. PhD students choose a primary and secondary substantive focus on American politics, comparative politics or world politics; MA students need only develop a specialization in one substantive area.
Program Size Brings Opportunities
Our program’s size allows for extensive interaction between graduate students and faculty and our graduate students frequently co-author conference papers and articles with the faculty. Our size also has allowed us to develop and maintain a strong alumni network, which allows us to consistently place our graduates. Recent graduates of our PhD program currently teach at institutions including Vanderbilt University, University of Georgia, Kansas State, University of California (Irvine), LSU, University of Mississippi, Old Dominion University, University at Buffalo (SUNY), University of Maryland and the University of North Texas.
While our program’s size has clear and certain benefits, it also requires that students plan carefully plan their programs of study. For instance, we take great care in course sequencing, and therefore do not normally admit students at mid-term (i.e., for the spring semester). Also, our size carries with it a restriction on the variety of student interests we can accommodate, so we look most favorably on applications from prospective students whose substantive interests match our faculty expertise. We ask that prospective applicants review our faculty’s research interests and consider how well our substantive interests coincide.
There often exist opportunities to work with other departments or other interdisciplinary units as well. For example, the Evolutionary Studies program offers opportunities to take graduate courses leading to a certificate.