Course Requirements, Transfer Credit/Advanced Standing
What are the course requirements for the PhD?
Course requirements vary by field; please see the PhD Program Handbook for full details. All PhD students, however, must complete 48 course credits (typically 16 courses) with a grade of B or better.
What are Transfer Credit and Advanced Standing?
Students who have done graduate work (either in an MA or PhD program, or who have taken PhD-level courses during undergraduate studies) may apply for advanced standing or transfer credit. The process and benefits are mostly identical; but students receive “advanced standing” if they have earned a degree for work done in a prior graduate course (typically an MA), and “transfer credit” if they have taken graduate-level courses, but have not completed a graduate degree. In both cases, students will be granted a certain number of course credits that count toward fulfilling the 48-credit course requirement for the PhD.
How may advanced standing/transfer credits be used? How many advanced standing/transfer credits can I receive?
Students are not permitted to receive more than 12 (out of 48) required course credits through advanced standing/transfer credit. Typically, students seeking advanced standing for having completed an MA in political science or a closely related field will receive 9 advanced standing credits; while students seeking transfer credits will receive 3 credits for each graduate-level course they have successfully completed (conditional on demonstrating that the course is comparable to the sort of courses they would take in the PhD program and that they have received a satisfactory grade in the course).
Advanced standing/transfer credits may be used to fulfill course requirements except for the field seminars in your major (and optional minor) field(s)
What are the procedures for receiving transfer credit/advanced standing?
Students must wait until they have completed four courses before requesting advanced standing/transfer credit; typically, they apply for advanced standing/transfer credit during their second semester in the program. If you wish to know earlier than this how many credits you may be eligible for, and which PhD program requirements may be satisfied through advanced standing/transfer credits, you should meet with the DGS early in your first term.
In order to initiate the request for advanced standing/transfer credits, you should submit 1) a memo, listing the courses you wish to have considered for transfer credit, or listing the courses taken in the program for which you have received a degree, 2) syllabi for these courses, and 3) a transcript (which may be unofficial) showing that you successfully completed the courses, to the faculty member who is Field Chair for the field in which the courses for which you are requesting transfer credit/advanced standing fall. In the case of methods courses, you should contact the Methods Coordinator. Once you have received approval from the faculty member, you should complete the “Student Petition to Change Program” form, available here, and submit this, along with all materials submitted to the Field Chair/Methods Coordinator and the Field Chair/Methods Coordinator’s approval, to the DGS, who will review and, if approved, submit the application to the Graduate School.