PH.D in Government

The mission of the Government Department Ph.D. program is to provide students with the analytical skills and substantive knowledge needed to both generate and evaluate research in political science, preparing them for careers at the highest levels of scholarship and teaching. A Georgetown Ph.D. in Government signifies theoretical, methodological, and substantive expertise in various topics of political significance, as well as the research and communication skills necessary for productive scholarship.

The degree indicates that the recipient has acquired extensive knowledge in at least two fields, both typically drawn from the four major subfields of political science, but which may also include related fields such as history, security studies, or public policy. A Georgetown Ph.D. in Government is granted only to students who have demonstrated the ability to synthesize large quantities of information and rigorously evaluate the merits of competing theoretical and empirical arguments. The degree indicates that its holder has obtained the analytical and methodological skills to design and conduct original research of the highest quality. It further certifies that its holder has the written and oral communication skills necessary to engage with debates at the leading edge of the field. Individuals holding a Georgetown Ph.D. in Government are also equipped with the knowledge and skills to teach political science at the university level in both survey courses and specialized seminars.

Doctoral-level seminars taken during coursework are designed to familiarize students with the scholarly literature in at least two fields of study. Students gain a broad understanding of the development and major topics of research within these fields, as well as expertise in several more specialized areas. Students learn to evaluate and engage with the major scholarly debates in their fields of study, both in classroom discussion and in written work. All students learn the methodological skills needed to carry out original research in their respective fields.

Ph.D. students are required to take comprehensive examinations in one major and one minor field. The purpose of comprehensive examinations is to demonstrate a student's broad familiarity with the literature in his or her fields of study. This prepares students both as professional members of a scholarly community and as future teachers at the university level. Our doctoral students write dissertations that consist of rigorous original research that contribute to our understanding of a topic of empirical importance and theoretical significance to the field of political science. Once a dissertation of high quality is complete, there is a dissertation defense at which the student presents the results of his or her research and is questioned about the implications of the work for the field of political science by the dissertation committee.

In addition to the formal requirements of the doctoral program, students are encouraged and expected to participate in opportunities for professional socialization and development. All four subfields of the department organize speaker series to host scholars from other universities and promote intellectual exchange. Doctoral students are also encouraged to attend our seminars on various aspects of the academic profession, including teaching, publishing, and the job market.

Students acquire teaching skills in a number of settings. Many serve as teaching assistants for the larger undergraduate courses offered by the department, while others may have the opportunity to teach their own undergraduate-level seminars. Students may also take advantage of training seminars offered by the department, as well as the certification offered through the Apprenticeship in Teaching Program run by the Center for New Designs in Teaching and Learning.
Doctoral students engage with the political science community outside of Georgetown by attending specialized seminars and presenting their research at academic conferences.

For students admitted with a Fellowship, we provide tuition and a stipend of $25,000. Students also have teaching opportunities, in addition to regular chances to be a teaching assistant or research assistant.

Our Ph.D. graduates have tenure-track jobs at many excellent institutions, including:

  • Cornell University
  • University of Wisconsin at Madison
  • LBJ School of Public Policy at the University of Texas at Austin
  • George Washington University
  • George Mason University
  • University of California at Riverside
  • Villanova University
  • Carleton University

In addition, our Ph.D.s have been winning prestigious fellowships, including ones from Harvard, Princeton and Brookings.

Part of our placement success is due to our strong record of working closely with students, including producing jointly authored articles.