Comprehensive Examinations

Prior to taking comprehensive examinations, students should complete all course work and earn a 3.4 GPA for graduate Political Science courses taken at GSU. Additionally, students must register for 3 hours of POLS 8900 in the semester in which they elect to stand for comprehensive examinations.

The graduate faculty of the Department of Political Science adopted the following procedures for Ph.D. comprehensive examinations. The goal of these procedures is to develop a usable system that can accurately assess the student's ability in each area.

Major Area Paper [for students admitted Fall 2013 and later]

·         Within 90 days of successfully passing their written comprehensive exams, students will write a major area paper. Major area topics must be related to the student’s proposed dissertation interests and must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies as well as a member of the faculty from the student’s primary field.

·         Major area papers will be read and reviewed at a set date each semester (90 days after the last comprehensive exams were returned) by committees composed of three members of the graduate faculty of the Political Science Department. Two members of the field paper committee will be specialists in the chosen topic area or in a related field; the third field paper committee member will be someone whose primary research is in a separate field. Outside readers will be selected by the graduate director at the outset of each academic year. The other two committee members will be chosen by the student in consultation with the graduate director and their major adviser; the major adviser may serve as one of the committee members.

·         Students must defend their dissertation proposals no later than 90 days after their major area papers are approved.