Academic Calendar 2023-2024

Political Studies - Doctor of Philosophy

Candidates for the Ph.D. are required to

  • pass POLS 900 and five other one-term courses offered for graduate credit;
  • demonstrate translation proficiency in a language other than English;
  • pass examinations in two fields of concentration;
  • defend a thesis proposal; and
  • submit and defend a thesis.

Fields of Concentration

The fields of concentration offered by the department are

  1. Canadian politics;
  2. comparative politics
  3. gender and politics;
  4. international relations;
  5. political theory.

Candidates will choose two fields of concentration in consultation with the Graduate Chair.

Language Requirement

Candidates must demonstrate translating competence in a language other than English that is appropriate to their thesis research. French is mandatory for candidates writing theses in Canadian politics. The language requirement should be met as early as possible in the student’s program, and not later than one year after acceptance of the student’s thesis proposal. Graduate School regulations state that the language requirement must be fulfilled at least one year prior to the submission of the student’s thesis.


Each candidate must submit a thesis proposal, which will include a substantial review of the literature in the field. The proposal should normally be submitted in the fifth term after initial registration. The proposal must be accepted by a thesis committee before the candidate is permitted to proceed. The thesis will be examined by a committee as required by the general regulations.

Field Exams

Before proceeding to the thesis, students must pass qualifying examinations in their chosen fields. These examinations will be held each year at the beginning of term 4. For the first field, the student takes a written and oral exam.  For the second field, only a written exam is taken.  Only those students who have completed all work in six courses will be permitted to write the field examinations. Candidates who fail one field examination may rewrite that examination in January; candidates who fail any two attempts at field exams will be required to withdraw from the program.