Political Science

Program Overview

The Master of Arts program is designed to satisfy the diverse interests of students who wish to pursue a year of graduate study in political science. Students admitted to the MA program may choose from three fields: Political Economy of International Development; Political Science; and Political Theory. Students whose interests are primarily normative and philosophical may choose the field of Political Theory.

The combined degree program in Law, Juris Doctor / Political Science, Doctor of Philosophy (JD/PhD) program enables students to acquire a PhD in Political Science as well as a Juris Doctor (JD) in Law.

The Doctor of Philosophy program offers courses in the fields of Canadian Politics; Comparative Politics; Development Studies; International Relations; Political Theory; and Public Policy.


Quick Facts

Domestic International
Application payment deadline MA, PhD:

TBA

MA, PhD:

TBA

Supporting documents deadline MA, PhD:

TBA

MA, PhD:

TBA

Minimum admission average MA:

Cumulative grade average of B+

PhD:

A– or better in their most recent degree

MA:

Cumulative grade average of B+

PhD:

A– or better in their most recent degree

Direct entry option from bachelor's to PhD? PhD:

Yes

PhD:

Yes

Program length (full-time only) MA:

3 sessions

PhD:

4 years; 5 years for direct-entry PhD

MA:

3 sessions

PhD:

4 years; 5 years for direct-entry PhD


Master of Arts​

Program Description

The MA program is designed to satisfy the diverse interests of students who wish to pursue a year of graduate study in political science. Students admitted to the MA program may choose from three fields: Political Economy of International Development; Political Science; and Political Theory. Students whose interests are primarily normative and philosophical may choose the field of Political Theory.

The MA program may be taken on a full-time or part-time basis.
 

Field: Political Economy of International Development (PEID)

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Department of Political Science's additional admission requirements stated below.

  • Cumulative grade average equivalent to a University of Toronto B+ or better in an appropriate bachelor's degree program. Preference will be given to applicants with outstanding academic records and a strong background in political science.

  • Applicants must provide evidence of a satisfactory background in political science and a second social science. Applicants intending to enrol in a master's-level economics course must meet undergraduate prerequisites in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and statistics. A satisfactory background in political science means a minimum of five well-distributed courses including at least one relating to development.

  • Admission is competitive. Enrolment in the program is limited, and meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. All applicants are considered on their individual merit by a departmental admissions committee. Applicants lacking an adequate background in political science may be required to complete additional undergraduate courses before being considered for admission. Such work should be undertaken in consultation with the MA supervisor.

  • Applicants must submit a complete application according to instructions on the department's website.

Program Requirements

  • Coursework. Students must complete a minimum of 4.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs) as follows:

    • POL 2408H Political Economy of International Development (0.5 FCE)

    • either POL 2345H Politics of Growth in Developing Countries or POL 2400H Theories and Issues—The Politics of Development (0.5 FCE)

    • 0.5 FCE in anthropology, geography, or economics, selected from an approved course list

    • 1.0 FCE taken from the approved political science course list

    • a research essay in the political economy of international development within the context of the MA Research Seminars, POL 2810Y MA Research Seminar I or POL 2811Y MA Research Seminar II (1.0 FCE). Students enrolled in a collaborative specialization with a similar requirement are exempted.

    • 0.5 FCE from either list of approved courses.

  • The equivalent of 1.0 FCE may be taken in a cognate discipline with the approval of the department.

  • Programs in which additional requirements or prerequisites must be met may take longer than three sessions to complete.

Program Length

3 sessions full-time (typical registration sequence: F/W/S)

Time Limit

3 years full-time; 6 years part-time
 

Field: Political Science

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Department of Political Science's additional admission requirements stated below.

  • Cumulative grade average equivalent to a University of Toronto B+ or better in an appropriate bachelor's degree program. Preference will be given to applicants with outstanding academic records and a strong background in political science.

  • Admission is competitive. Enrolment in the program is limited, and meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. All applicants are considered on their individual merit by a departmental admissions committee. Applicants lacking an adequate background in political science may be required to complete additional undergraduate courses before being considered for admission. Such work should be undertaken in consultation with the MA supervisor.

  • Applicants must submit a complete application according to instructions on the department's website.

Program Requirements

  • Coursework. Students must complete a minimum of 4.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs) including:

    • At least 0.5 FCE in Political Theory, which can be either POL 2040H Horizons of Political Reflection or any other theory course

    • At least 0.5 FCE in statistics or research design. POL 2503H Thinking Through Research Design and POL 2504H Statistics for Political Scientists are among the courses currently offered by the department which meet this requirement.

    • The equivalent of 1.0 FCE may be taken in a cognate discipline with the approval of the department.

    • A research essay (1.0 FCE) within the context of the MA Research Seminars, POL 2810Y MA Research Seminar I or POL 2811Y MA Research Seminar II. Students enrolled in a collaborative specialization with a similar requirement are exempted.

  • Programs in which additional requirements or prerequisites must be met may take longer than three sessions to complete.

Program Length

3 sessions full-time (typical registration sequence: F/W/S)

Time Limit

3 years full-time; 6 years part-time
 

Field: Political Theory

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Department of Political Science's additional admission requirements stated below.

  • Cumulative grade average equivalent to a University of Toronto B+ or better in an appropriate bachelor's degree program. Preference will be given to applicants with outstanding academic records and a strong background in political science.

  • Admission is competitive. Enrolment in the program is limited, and meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. All applicants are considered on their individual merit by a departmental admissions committee. Applicants lacking an adequate background in political science may be required to complete additional undergraduate courses before being considered for admission. Such work should be undertaken in consultation with the MA supervisor.

  • Applicants must submit a complete application according to instructions on the department's website.

Program Requirements

  • Coursework. Students must complete a minimum of 4.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs) as follows:

    • 2.0 FCEs in Political Theory

    • At least 1.0 FCE in an area outside Political Theory

    • The equivalent of 1.0 FCE may be taken in a cognate discipline with the approval of the department

    • All courses must be chosen in consultation with the MA supervisor.​

  • Programs in which additional requirements or prerequisites must be met may take longer than three sessions to complete.

Program Length

3 sessions full-time (typical registration sequence: F/W/S)

Time Limit

3 years full-time; 6 years part-time

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Description

PhD students will declare two fields:

  • Field 1 will be one of:

    • Canadian Politics

    • Comparative Politics

    • International Relations

    • Political Theory

    • Public Policy

  • Field 2 will be one of:

    • Canadian Politics

    • Comparative Politics

    • Development Studies

    • International Relations

    • Political Theory

    • Public Policy

Applicants may be admitted to the PhD program via one of three routes:

  1. With an MA: excellent students who have completed an MA degree in political science (or its equivalent) by the time of enrolment.

  2. Transfer: in exceptional cases, on the initiative of the Director of Graduate Studies, MA students may be transferred to the PhD program. Such transfers will occur only where a full assessment of an applicant's bachelor's record (or equivalent) was impossible and where that student's instructors concur that the student in question has excelled in the first half of the MA program.

  3. Direct-entry: exceptional students who have completed an appropriate bachelor's degree with a concentration in political science by the time of enrolment. Students admitted to the PhD from a bachelor's degree who receive less than an A– average in their first four courses will be recommended to SGS to transfer to the MA program. If the transfer is approved, these students will graduate with a terminal MA, provided their grades meet the requirements for the MA degree.
     

PhD Program

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Department of Political Science's additional admission requirements stated below.

  • Applicants must have completed an MA degree in political science (or its equivalent) by the time of enrolment.

  • Applicants are expected to have achieved grades averaging A– or better in their most recent degree.

  • Applicants must submit a complete application according to the instructions.

Program Requirements

  • Coursework. Students must complete 2.0 to 5.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs) depending on the student's relevant background in the fields or areas of choice:

    • Most students entering with an MA take the equivalent of 4.0 FCEs to satisfy program requirements; students must take a minimum of 2.0 FCEs with the department after entering the PhD program.

    • Graduate courses taken at the MA level at the University of Toronto or elsewhere may be counted, with the department's permission, towards meeting some course requirements.

  • Students will declare two fields:

    • Field 1 will be one of Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Theory, or Public Policy. The normal course requirement for Field 1 will be 2.0 FCEs, including a core course.

    • Field 2 will be one of Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, Development Studies, International Relations, Political Theory, or Public Policy. The normal course requirement for Field 2 will be 1.5 FCEs, including a core course.

  • The Director of Graduate Studies may exercise discretion to waive the Field 2 requirement for students enrolled in collaborative specializations.

  • Students who do not designate Political Theory as Field 1 must complete 0.5 graduate-level FCE in Political Theory.

  • Students must complete 0.5 FCE in qualitative methods. This requirement may be waived on the basis of MA work.

  • Students who do not designate Political Theory as Field 1 must complete 0.5 FCE in quantitative methods. This requirement may be waived on the basis of MA work. Students who designate Political Theory as Field 1 will substitute a non-waivable 0.5 FCE intensive reading requirement for the quantitative methods requirement.

  • Students must complete POL 2812Y PhD Research Design (1.0 FCE), normally during Year 3; students who have designated Political Theory as Field 1 are exempted.

  • Field examinations.

    • Students must complete field examinations in Field 1 and Field 2 by the end of Year 2.

    • The Field 1 examination should be taken in May or August of the year in which the core course is taken as long as all assignments in the core course have been completed.

    • The Field 2 examination must be taken no later than Year 2.

    • A student who fails to achieve a grade of at least A– is permitted one opportunity to retake a field examination. After failing the examination once, the student is permitted two attempts to pass the examination in a new field.

  • Thesis proposal, thesis committee, and thesis schedule. Students should assign a high priority to defining a thesis topic and choosing a thesis committee. By December of Year 3, students must have:

    • established a thesis committee of three faculty members including a thesis supervisor and

    • completed a draft of a thesis proposal of approximately 25 pages for submission to the thesis committee. Final revisions of the proposal must be approved by the end of Year 3. The research and writing of the thesis will follow the acceptance of the thesis proposal. The work schedule should permit the student to complete the thesis by the end of Year 5.

  • Language requirement. Students must demonstrate competence in the language that is appropriate to the nature of the graduate work in which they are engaged. Students whose Field 1 is Canadian Politics are strongly encouraged to demonstrate competence in French.

  • University policy requires that students complete all their non-thesis requirements (coursework, thesis proposal, Field 1 and Field 2 qualifying exams, and language requirements) by the end of Year 3.

  • Students must achieve an A– average in coursework and an A– in their field examinations to remain in good standing.

  • Minimum of three sessions in residence, whereby students must be on campus full-time and consequently in geographical proximity to be able to participate fully in the University activities associated with the program.

  • Although the program has been designed for completion in four years, some students may require longer to complete all the requirements.

Program Length

4 years full-time; 5 years transfer-from-master's

Time Limit

6 years full-time; 7 years transfer-from-master's
 

PhD Program (Direct-Entry)

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies.

  • Applicants must also satisfy the Department of Political Science's additional admission requirements stated below.

  • Exceptional students who have completed an appropriate bachelor's degree with a concentration in political science by the time of enrolment. Such students who receive less than an A– average in their first four courses will be recommended to SGS to transfer to the MA program. If the transfer is approved, these students will graduate with a terminal MA, provided their grades meet the requirements for the MA degree and provided they meet the course requirements of one of the three MA fields

  • Applicants are expected to have achieved grades averaging A– or better in their most recent degree. Applicants from the BA level will apply to the MA program but indicate on the MA application that they wish to be considered for direct entry to the PhD program.

  • Applicants must submit a complete application according to the instructions.

Program Requirements

  • Coursework. Students must complete 6.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs) with at least an A– average in their first four courses in order to continue in the PhD program. In selecting courses, students should ensure that they satisfy the following field requirements.

  • Students will declare two fields:

    • Field 1 will be one of Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Theory, or Public Policy. The normal course requirement for Field 1 will be 2.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs), including a core course.

    • Field 2 will be one of Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, Development Studies, International Relations, Political Theory, or Public Policy. The normal course requirement for Field 2 will be 1.5 FCEs, including a core course.

  • The Director of Graduate Studies may exercise discretion to waive the Field 2 requirement for students enrolled in collaborative specializations.

  • Students who do not designate Political Theory as Field 1 must complete 0.5 graduate-level FCE in Political Theory.

  • Students must complete 0.5 FCE in qualitative methods. This requirement may be waived on the basis of MA work.

  • Students who do not designate Political Theory as Field 1 must complete 0.5 FCE in quantitative methods. Students who designate Political Theory as Field 1 will substitute a non-waivable 0.5 FCE intensive reading requirement for the quantitative methods requirement.

  • Students must complete POL 2812Y PhD Research Design (1.0 FCE), normally during Year 4; students who have designated Political Theory as Field 1 are exempted.

  • Field examinations.

    • Students must complete field examinations in Field 1 and Field 2 by the end of Year 2.

    • The Field 1 examination should be taken in May or August of the year in which the core course is taken as long as all assignments in the core course have been completed.

    • The Field 2 examination must be taken no later than Year 2. A student who fails to achieve a grade of at least A– is permitted one opportunity to retake a field examination. After failing the examination once, the student is permitted two attempts to pass the examination in a new field.

  • Thesis proposal, thesis committee, and thesis schedule. Students should assign a high priority to defining a thesis topic and choosing a thesis committee. By December of Year 4, students must have:

    • established a thesis committee of three faculty members including a thesis supervisor and

    • completed a draft of a thesis proposal of approximately 25 pages for submission to the thesis committee. Final revisions of the proposal must be approved by the end of Year 4. The research and writing of the thesis will follow the acceptance of the thesis proposal. The work schedule should permit the student to complete the thesis by the end of Year 6.

  • Language requirement. Students must demonstrate competence in the language that is appropriate to the nature of the graduate work in which they are engaged. Students whose Field 1 is Canadian Politics are strongly encouraged to demonstrate competence in French.

  • University policy requires that students complete all their non-thesis requirements (coursework, thesis proposal, Field 1 and Field 2 qualifying exams, and language requirements) by the end of Year 4.

  • Students must achieve an A– average in coursework and an A– in their field examinations to remain in good standing.

  • Minimum of six sessions in residence, whereby students must be on campus full-time and consequently in geographical proximity to be able to participate fully in the University activities associated with the program.

  • Although the program has been designed for completion in five years, some students may require longer to complete all the requirements.

Program Length

5 years

Time Limit

7 years

Kristen Pue

“U of T houses some of the country's best academics.”

Kristen Pue
JD/PhD Candidate, Political Science
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