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Department of Political Science

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Studying Political Theory at Vanderbilt

First-field political theory students must meet the following requirements:

  1. In keeping with the general requirements of the program, students must take a minimum of three graduate courses in political theory. Students should meet early with faculty to design a course schedule, and students are strongly encouraged to pursue independent study courses as well to supplement seminar work. For at least one of these courses, students should produce a research paper that demonstrates an ability to do sustained independent research and craft and support an argument.
  2. Students must demonstrate proficiency in at least one foreign language. Depending on planned course of study, fluency may be required in one or more languages, and students should consult with faculty early to plan language study.
  3. Students must take and pass a preliminary examination in political theory designed to allow students to demonstrate knowledge in the three areas mentioned above.
  4. Students must develop a dissertation proposal, to be defended orally, and complete a dissertation on a researchable question in political theory that will make a contribution to the field.

The political theory subfield mentors our students as a team through their development as academic researchers  and teachers

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