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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 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, craft and support an argument. That essay serves as the basis for the second year paper.
  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 the preliminary examination in political theory.
  4. Students must develop a dissertation proposal, to be defended orally, and complete a dissertation on a researchable question in political theory, one 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