Ph.D. Requirements

At Western Michigan University, the Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Political Science requires a minimum of 90 credit hours of work beyond the baccalaureate. Up to 30 hours of credit may apply from a recognized master's degree. The precise number that will apply will be at the discretion of the graduate director.

Core requirements, research methods and comprehensive exam

See the WMU course catalog for detailed information.


The doctoral dissertation is an original and substantive research requirement that serves as the capstone to the Ph.D. program.

In conjunction with their dissertation advisor, students select a topic and then, under the advisor's direction, prepare the dissertation. A doctoral dissertation committee approves the dissertation and administers the final oral examination in its defense.

Each committee consists of at least three members from the Department of Political Science and one additional member drawn from another department within or outside WMU. The student's major dissertation advisor serves as chair of the committee. The outside person serves as a bona fide, fully participating committee member.

Before students are awarded the doctoral degree, all doctoral committee members must approve the dissertation and its oral defense and the dissertation must be in a form acceptable to the department and the Graduate College. Committee approval of the dissertation is not final until students make all the required modifications, revisions and other changes as required by the committee.

Forms and deadlines

The Graduate College offers additional information including forms and submission deadlines.