Coursework Phase

Coursework Phase

A first year full-time doctoral student normally registers for six courses. However, this does NOT preclude students from taking more than three courses per semester during their first year if they have a strong preference or rationale for doing so. For example, some students might want to reserve the option not to take their twelfth course in their third year. The Quantitative Research Methods Requirement (POLS2580 or POLS2590) must be successfully completed in the first year. If you enter the program with advanced quantitative training, you may petition the DGS to satisfy the statistics requirement with an advanced statistics class.

During the first two years, you must take two of the four pro-seminars in American Politics, Comparative Politics, Political Theory, or International Relations. These courses are designed to provide you with a broad knowledge of contemporary political science by subfield, and they are an integral part of preparation for the preliminary examinations. Since pro-seminars are usually offered every other year (unlike POLS2000, POLS2580 and POLS2590), you should take your two pro-seminars when the opportunities first present themselves.

Students in their second year normally register for four courses. However, this does NOT preclude students from taking more than two courses per semester during their second year if they have a strong preference or rationale for doing so. For example, some students might want to reserve the option not to take their twelfth course in their third year. Students holding TAships in their second year are required by the Graduate School to register for no more than three courses per semester. The Stategies of Inquiry and Research Design Requirement (POLS2000) must be successfully completed in the second year.

Students must complete ten out of twelve courses before taking preliminary exams. These would include all core courses needed for exam preparation ie a minimum of two graduate seminars including the appropriate proseminar in each of the two subfields in order to take exams.

Students in their third year normally register for two courses; the POLS2050/POLS2051 sequence which counts as one course and an elective. Students holding TAships in their third year are required by the Graduate School to register for no more than three courses per semester. As a third year graduate student, you are required to register for POLS2050 (fall) and POLS2051(spring), a year long prospectus writing seminar worth one course credit. This course commences after students pass preliminary exams. Students will receive credit for this course only when they have successfully defended their prospectus, which in most cases will be at the end of their third year. Students who do not defend a prospectus by the end of the third year will receive a grade of incomplete until the prospectus has been defended. In such cases, the student will be asked to propose an alternative date for the defense with the full support of his/her dissertation committee, to be approved by the DGS. This date must correspond to official Graduate School rules and regulation, which stipulate that students must finish all incompletes within a year of the course end date in order to receive course credit.

To round out your course requirements, you may choose from among a variety of research seminars at the 2000 level. In consultation with individual faculty members, you may set up an independent reading/research graduate course (POLS2980). A complete list of graduate and undergraduate seminars is available on BOCA.

Please remember that you are required to achieve a B or better in each course in order to receive full department credit for the course. Sub-par grade performance (less than a B) may be grounds for termination in the program. For your best opportunities on the job market, grades of A are encouraged.

Students in their fourth year or above must register for POLS2990 every semester. This is a not for credit course and indicates active enrollment while preparing a thesis.

If you were admitted to the Ph.D. program at Brown without a Masters degree in political science, you will be awarded the A. M.  degree upon completion of eight courses with a grade of B or better. If you were admitted to the Ph.D. program with a Masters in political science from another university, you will not receive a second Masters degree from Brown on your way to the doctorate.

Deadlines

You are subject to the Registrar's deadlines for changing course registrations as published each year in the Course Announcement Bulletin. Changes after the deadlines are possible with a Dean's signature, but are to be avoided. Changing a grade option to S/NC in order to avoid a low grade is especially discouraged and may well not be allowed.

Incompletes

At some point during your first two years in the program, you may find it necessary to take an incomplete in a graduate course. Please be aware that faculty generally regard incompletes as a warning sign that a student is having trouble balancing the various responsibilities and demands associated with graduate study. An incomplete is also a mortgage on your future, with the potential to seriously undermine your ability to perform satisfactorily in the ensuing semester. Therefore, you should make every effort to avoid taking incompletes. If it becomes necessary to take an "I", please discuss the matter with the instructor and with the DGS so that it can be explained at the annual review. You should also create a time line for completion with the faculty member.

No student with an incomplete shall be allowed to take a preliminary examination.

Cross-Registration at Harvard University

Harvard and Brown have agreed to allow cross-registration of graduate students in courses without paying tuition to the host institution. You will find an internet listing of graduate course offerings (2000-level) in the Harvard Government Department. If you are interested, you should obtain the appropriate forms from the Registrar's office and acquire the signatures of the DGS and dean of the Graduate School (Dean Tyler at Brown). Then take the form to Harvard and acquire the signatures of the DGS and dean of the Graduate School there. Harvard will keep the form and mail it back to the Registrar's Office at Brown who will manually register you for POLS2450. 

Transfer Credits

Doctoral students who have completed graduate coursework elsewhere may apply to transfer up to 8 credits toward the tuition unit requirements for the Ph.D. You are encouraged to do this in your second semester. Forms are available through the Graduate School and should be returned to the Registrar's Office. As long as a copy of your old transcript is on file at the Graduate School, a new copy will not need to be provided.

Tuition units are not the same as course credits. Transferring tuition units will alleviate some of the financial burden on the Graduate School. It does not reduce the number of required 2000-level courses you must take in our Department.