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Political Science, Ph.D.

College of Arts and Sciences

Prepare for a top-level academic or public service career in this highly regarded doctoral program that produces leading scholars with sharp analytical skills and influence.

Gain knowledge, theoretical perspectives and methodological skills to conduct research and teach in the fields of political science and international relations. Conduct and publish original research with the mentorship and collaboration of a vibrant, growing faculty. Prepare to succeed in a competitive market with placement assistance and financial support packages.

Program Highlights

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    Research Focus

    Choose a focus from six major and seven minor fields of study to produce advanced scholarly work.

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    Bright Futures

    Be competitive in the academic job market thanks to outstanding faculty mentorship and teaching opportunities.

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    Growth Opportunities

    Enjoy our department's collaborative environment, in which students conduct and contribute to meaningful research.

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    National Network

    Benefit from an expansive and supportive network of alumni after graduation.

What You’ll Study

You'll choose two focus areas from American or comparative politics, international relations, political theory, public law, public administration/policy and research methodology. Acquire knowledge of the disciplines, then develop a project to examine an important question in political science and use your quantitative skills to conduct research.

Building Skills

Gain the professional and personal intelligence it takes to have a successful career.

  • Data Analysis

    Examining and interpreting information to uncover insights and inform decision making


    Gathering and analyzing information to increase knowledge or solve problems


    Foster learning by conveying knowledge, skills and concepts to students

  • Problem Solving

    Identifying, analyzing and resolving problems or challenges using creative and effective strategies

    Critical Thinking

    Analyzing and evaluating information to make informed decisions or judgments


    Exchanging information and ideas through speaking, writing or other means of expression

Using your degree

Make your college experience the foundation for a successful future.

Potential Careers

  • Professor
  • Researcher
  • Analyst
  • Consultant
  • Lawyer

Workplace Settings

  • Education
  • Government
  • Public and Private Business
  • Legal
  • Nonprofits
  • Academia

Political science provides a way to explore human behavior, the systems we create and their effects on the world. USC courses are rigorous yet highly rewarding. Faculty support extends beyond the classroom, from investment in research collaboration to mentorship for careers.

Gregory Nelson