2014-2015 Graduate Course Catalog 
    Jun 12, 2024  
2014-2015 Graduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Social Science, PhD

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Vernon Greene
413 Maxwell Hall

The Maxwell School’s Social Science Ph.D. Program was established in 1946 as the nation’s first interdisciplinary doctoral program in the social sciences. It continues to be a leading center for creative scholarship for students whose intellectual interests do not easily fit within the confines of a single discipline. With guidance from their faculty advisers, drawn from departments throughout the Maxwell School, Social Science doctoral students develop their own programs of interdisciplinary study. The Social Science Ph.D. Program was founded in the conviction that a broad interdisciplinary education would often better prepare higher education faculty in the social and policy sciences than would narrower, more specialized training in one of the traditional disciplines. The founders of the program believed that many questions about the nature of society rested not just in one discipline, but required the integrated contributions of political science, geography, sociology, anthropology, history, international relations, economics, and public administration. This conviction is today being even further reinforced by the growing complexity and interdependence of societies in the modern world. A large majority of graduates take up professorial careers and colleges and universities, though some enter professional and leadership positions in the nonprofit and public sectors.

Social Science Ph.D. Degree Requirements

Coursework requirements for the Ph.D. in Social Science are met by completing 72 credit hours of approved graduate work. Students normally enter the program with an accredited masters degree, from which up to 30 credit hours can be applied towards the Ph.D., leaving 42 credit hours to be earned in residence. Up to 12 of these credit hours may be for dissertation credit.

All students must complete four approved seminars in Social Theory and four in Social Research Methods, which may be taken in any of the social science departments or disciplines. For this purpose, a Theory seminar is one whose primary topic is social theory as such, and a Methods seminar is one whose primary topic is research methods as such. As a practical matter, any seminar that is part of the required doctoral theory core for the offering department will nearly always also qualify towards satisfying the Social Science theory requirement, and similarly for research methods seminars. Once coursework is completed, students defend their dissertation proposal and take their comprehensive examinations - after success in these, they are advanced to candidacy and begin or continue their dissertation project. The Ph.D. is granted after a successful defense of the dissertation.

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