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Department of Political Science Simon Fraser University Calendar | Spring 2018

Political Science

Doctor of Philosophy

The doctor of philosophy program (PhD) offers specialized research resources in five fields: political theory and methodology; Canadian government and politics including political behaviour and political economy; comparative government and politics; international relations, including foreign policy analysis and international political economy; public policy, public administration, local governance and administration.

Admission Requirements

In addition to the minimum admission requirements (see Graduate General Regulations), a completed political science MA is required, normally with a minimum 3.67 GPA. Any background deficiencies must be met by completing appropriate courses in addition to normal PhD work.


Supervisory Committee

In accordance with Graduate General Regulation 1.6.4, upon program admission, the departmental graduate studies committee assigns a senior supervisor.

Program Requirements

Graduate course work beyond the MA requirements is required. In addition, proficiency in a second language, two comprehensive exams, a proposal, and a thesis are required.

Course Work

The course work requirements for the PhD program in Political Science are determined on an individual basis. Upon admission, the graduate program committee will review a student's previous coursework and set specific course requirements. Except in extraordinary cases, PhD students will be expected to take a minimum of five courses and more typically will be expected to take six courses. All courses are approved by the supervisory committee and reflect areas of specialization within the five fields of the department.

All PhD students must complete

POL 801 - Epistemological and Theoretical Perspectives in Political Science (5)

Students with credit for POL 813 may not take this course for further credit.

and one of

POL 802 - Political Research: Design and Analysis (5)

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 Mark Pickup
Fr 1:30 PM – 5:20 PM
BLU 11911, Burnaby
POL 803 - Qualitative Research Methods in Political Science (5)

A survey of the principles and techniques of qualitative research design, methods, and data collection tools needed to conduct systematic qualitative political science research.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 Clare McGovern
We 1:30 PM – 5:20 PM
AQ 4115, Burnaby

Language Requirement

Students must demonstrate a reading ability in a language other than English that is acceptable to the supervisory committee. Those studying subjects related to Canadian politics must demonstrate an ability to read French, determined by successful completion of a time limited exam consisting of a dictionary aided translation of a political science literature passage written in the language selected.

Comprehensive Examinations

Prior to thesis research, students must successfully pass two comprehensive exams that are administered by the Department of Political Science.


Candidates successfully completing both comprehensive exams will complete POL 890 which culminates with the presentation as a seminar to the department outlining his/her draft research proposal.

After the seminar, and in consultation with the supervisory committee, the candidate prepares a final proposal for graduate studies committee approval. The research proposal will state the thesis title, topic, general intent, methodology and bibliography and will be accompanied by a detailed research plan and completion timetable of each thesis chapter.

The proposal should normally not exceed 5000 words in length, excluding bibliographic references.

The thesis normally should not be more than 300 pages and must represent an original contribution to the development of the discipline. The completed thesis must be successfully defended at an oral defence established in accordance with the Graduate General Regulations.

Performance Evaluation

In accordance with the Graduate General Regulations, the student’s progress is reviewed periodically by the graduate studies committee. At least once a year, the supervisory committee submits a written report on the student’s progress to the graduate studies committee to aid its deliberations. Students judged to have maintained unsatisfactory progress may be asked to withdraw.

Time Limits

Although Graduate General Regulation 1.12 establishes an eight year time limit for PhD completion, the department expects the PhD program will be completed within four to five years.

Academic Requirements within the Graduate General Regulations

All graduate students must satisfy the academic requirements that are specified in the Graduate General Regulations, as well as the specific requirements for the program in which they are enrolled.