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Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions:

-Can I transfer credits from another university?

Transfer of credit from another university is limited to six semester hours of graduate-level courses, approved by the department’s Director of Graduate Studies and the Dean of Graduate Studies; such courses must have been taken within five years of CWRU matriculation, passed with grades of B or better, and must be applicable to a program of study offered by the department. No transfer of thesis or dissertation credit is allowed.

-Can I be a part-time student?

Yes, but because nearly all Political Science courses meet during the day, our graduate programs are most appropriate for full-time students.

-What are the graduate courses offered?

The graduate courses offered each semester vary. Each semester they are posted on our website along with descriptions. For a full listing of the graduate courses available, see the course catalog.

 

M.A.

-How do you suggest preparing for the graduate exams?

  • Review the Department Guidelines. These guidelines describe the objectives and structure of the exams.
  • Select Courses Carefully. Courses with regular faculty members, instead of visitors, and courses with a variety of faculty members will be useful in preparing for the exams. A comparison of M.A. Reading Lists and course descriptions may also indicate which courses will be most helpful for examination preparation. Moreover, students may design an independent study, POSC 601, to assist them in preparing for the exams. In most cases, students should work with a faculty member who is a specialist in the subfield in which the student is least prepared. (For comparative, students have the option of attending POSC 160: Introduction to Comparative Politics, as part of their POSC 601 program of study.)
  • Establish a Schedule. At the beginning of their graduate career, students should think about in which semester they plan to take their exams. After having taken a few courses, all graduate students should review the M.A. reading lists to begin to evaluate how much study outside of coursework will be necessary for successful completion of exams. Students should set aside time for this independent work. Doctoral students need to set aside additional time to develop their own reading lists for their primary and secondary subfields.
  • Take Notes. To facilitate studying for the exams, students should take notes on course and reading list materials. M.A. students should take notes to help them explain, critique, integrate, and apply the arguments of the leading works in American Politics & Government, Comparative Politics, and International Relations. Ph.D. students should take notes to help them explain, critique, integrate, and apply the arguments of the leading works in the subfield of focus, to describe the evolution of the subfield, and to propose new directions for research in that subfield. One approach to note-taking is to document the argument, the type of evidence used, the relationship to other key works in the field, and one’s own criticisms.
  • Form a Study Group. Students may want to form a study group with other graduate students in preparation for the exams. The Director of Graduate Studies can provide students’ exam schedules and contact information.
  • Meet with Faculty. Students should consult their advisors, the Director of Graduate Studies, and other faculty for advice about each of the topics above. Faculty can be particularly helpful in offering suggestions about course selection. Students should also meet with faculty from the subfields to discuss substantive questions that may arise in the course of studying for exams.

-Do I have to live on campus?

No.

 

Ph.D.

-Do I have to take all of my graduate courses in the Political Science Department?

No. A maximum of 15 hours may be taken outside the Department of Political Science, with prior approval of the Graduate Studies Director. These courses may include research methods or specialized work related to the student’s research interests. 

I have an M.A. from another institution. Can I transfer my Masters and be admitted directly into the Ph.D. program at CWRU?

Yes, you can, if your M.A. degree is certified by the Graduate Studies Committee. You will need to complete only an additional 18 credit hours of graduate course work to advance to comprehensive Ph.D. field exams and ABD status.

-I am pursing an M.A. in Political Science at CWRU. How can I pursue the Ph.D. as well?

Students who are accepted into the department’s M.A. program and then decide they would like to earn a Ph.D. are expected to apply to the Ph.D. program and meet those admission requirements.

-What are the options for non-Political Science Research Methods Courses?

http://politicalscience.case.edu/graduate-programs/about-graduate-program/non-political-science-research-methods-courses/

-How do you suggest preparing for the graduate exams?

  • Review the Department Guidelines. These guidelines describe the objectives and structure of the exams.
  • Select Courses Carefully. Courses with regular faculty members, instead of visitors, and courses with a variety of faculty members, will be useful in preparing for the exams. A comparison of M.A. Reading Lists and course descriptions may also indicate which courses will be most helpful for examination preparation. Moreover, students may design an independent study, POSC 601, to assist them in preparing for the exams. In most cases, students should work with a faculty member who is a specialist in the subfield in which the student is least prepared. (For comparative, students have the option of attending POSC 160: Introduction to Comparative Politics, as part of their POSC 601 program of study.)
  • Establish a Schedule. At the beginning of their graduate career, students should think about in which semester they plan to take their exams. After having taken a few courses, all graduate students should review the M.A. reading lists to begin to evaluate how much study outside of coursework will be necessary for successful completion of exams. Students should set aside time for this independent work. Doctoral students need to set aside additional time to develop their own reading lists for their primary and secondary subfields.
  • Take Notes. To facilitate studying for the exams, students should take notes on course and reading list materials. M.A. students should take notes to help them explain, critique, integrate, and apply the arguments of the leading works in American Politics & Government, Comparative Politics, and International Relations. Ph.D. students should take notes to help them explain, critique, integrate, and apply the arguments of the leading works in the subfield of focus, to describe the evolution of the subfield, and to propose new directions for research in that subfield. One approach to note-taking is to document the argument, the type of evidence used, the relationship to other key works in the field, and one’s own criticisms.
  • Form a Study Group. Students may want to form a study group with other graduate students in preparation for the exams. The Graduate Coordinator can provide students’ exam schedules and contact information.
  • Meet with Faculty. Students should consult their advisors, the Graduate Coordinator, and other faculty for advice about each of the topics above. Faculty can be particularly helpful in offering suggestions about course selection. Students should also meet with faculty from the subfields to discuss substantive questions that may arise in the course of studying for exams.

-Do I have to live on campus?

 No. However, students must be in residence in Cleveland to complete the program.

 

Joint J.D./M.A. in Political Science

-Where do I apply?

Students interested in the JD/MA program need to apply to both the School of Law and the School of Graduate Studies separately. It is highly encouraged that students apply to and be admitted to the School of Law first before applying to the Political Science MA program.

-Do I need to take the GRE as well as the LSAT?

The Department of Political Science will accept the LSAT if the student is first accepted into the law school with a minimum score of 155.  If the student chooses to apply to the MA program first, they must submit GRE scores.

-How many credit hours are required?

A total of 97 credit hours is required for the completion of the JD/MA joint degree. The distribution is as follows:

                * 76 credits in the School of Law for the JD

                * 21 credits in Political Science for the MA

In essence, 12 of the Political Science hours are counted as outside work towards the 88 required for the JD, and 9 of the Law hours are counted as outside work towards the 30 required for the MA.

-How long does the JD/MA joint program take to complete?

Typically, 3-4 years.

-Does the MA require a thesis or field exams?

M.A. students have a choice between Plan A (thesis) and Plan B (two exams).  Please see http://politicalscience.case.edu/graduate/program-information/ for further information.

-How much does it cost and is there financial aid?

The program costs and financial aid are determined by the school of original enrollment. If you plan to apply first to the School of Law, please contact their financial aid department for more information. If you plan to apply first to the School of Graduate Studies, please contact their financial department for more information.

Page last modified: October 20, 2015