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School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs PhD in Political Science

Why WSU for your Ph.D.?


There are several features of our Ph.D. program that make it distinct from many of the others you might be considering:

A commitment to problem-driven research. The School is focused on “problem-driven research” that involves the analysis of national and international policy issues. At the heart of this approach are interdisciplinary research efforts to pursue scholarly activity that will solve the complex and “wicked” problems that democratic societies face. It is research that “speaks” to scholars, policy-makers and citizens. Our school’s research has focused on a variety of pressing problems: bio-ethics in medicine, political civility, environmental justice, gender equality, legal justice, democratic participation and representation, elite problem solving, terrorism, civil unrest, WMD proliferation, and disability policy, among others.

A commitment to methodological diversity. We promote, sustain and teach a multi-methods approach in order to contribute to large-scale problem solving through scientific inquiry. In a multi-methods approach, researchers marshal the full range of methodological tools, often in conjunction with one another, that cut across traditional boundaries, e.g. qualitative (process tracing, qualitative comparative analysis, case studies, discourse analysis) and quantitative tools (survey research, statistical analysis, experiments, etc.). We pursue projects that adapt our methods to our research agendas rather than being driven by a specific methodology. Our graduate and undergraduate training emphasize this methodological diversity.

An opportunity to pursue research with faculty members. WSU faculty are not just teachers; they are mentors, too. Most of our faculty members regularly publish research with their graduate students, and many of our graduate students enter the job market with at least one publication.

Because our faculty numbers are relatively small, we cannot offer training or faculty expertise in every field of political science. There are, however, several areas in which we specialize, including:

• Political Psychology
• Peace, Conflict and Security Studies
• Gender Policy
• Law and Courts
• Political Communication
• Environmental Ethics and Policy


Graduate Coordinator:

Diane Scott
Johnson Tower 801
Phone: 509-335-2545

Useful Links:

Graduate School
Schedule of Classes