Jul 06, 2020  
School of Graduate Studies Calendar, 2014-2015 
School of Graduate Studies Calendar, 2014-2015 [-ARCHIVED CALENDAR-]

Comparative Public Policy, Ph.D

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Ph.D. Degree

The Department of Political Science at McMaster University offers the Ph.D. degree in the fields of Comparative Public Policy and International Relations.

The public policy specialization will include courses and comprehensive examinations in:

  • Approaches and methods for policy analysis
  • A Policy field
  • and at least two political systems (one of which may be Canada)

The international relations specialization will include courses and comprehensive examinations in:

  • International Relations Theory
  • International Political Economy
  • Globalization and Transnationalism

Graduands can expect to be qualified to conduct research and teach at the university level in comparative public policy or in international relations and in one other field of political science in Canada.

A. Admission Procedures

Admission to the Ph.D. program normally will require an M.A. degree with an average of at least an A- from a recognized university. Applicants must complete the required online McMaster Admission Form, arrange to have 3 academic references submitted to the Department, submit one original transcript(s) from all universities and evidence of English proficiency where required, i.e., TOEFL, and submit a 500 word statement of their research interests and reasons for choosing McMaster University for their Ph.D. degree in Political Science. The deadline for submission of applications is February 1.

B. Degree Requirements

Normally, candidates for the Ph.D. will:

  1. Complete 18 units (6 half courses) of course work beyond the M.A. level
  2. Demonstrate reading and research competence in an approved language other than English.
  3. Complete the required comprehensive examinations in Public Policy or International Relations and one other field; and
  4. Submit a thesis on an approved subject and defend it by oral examination.

Required Courses

Additional Information

Other approved courses will be drawn from other departmental courses, and courses offered by other departments and schools. At least three of these selected units should be from Major Field 2.

All courses are half courses (three units) unless otherwise specified.

C. Supervisors and Supervisory Committees

Successful applicants will be assigned a temporary supervisor of studies upon admission. Not later than six months following arrival, a supervisory committee for each Ph.D. student will be appointed by the Graduate Committee, on the recommendation of the student and a willing thesis supervisor. This committee will consist of at least three members: a thesis supervisor, one other member of the Department and a third member, whose scholarly interests include the area of the student’s main interest, and who may be from outside the Department.

D. Comprehensive Examinations

Students in the Ph.D. program will write comprehensive examinations in two fields:

E. Other Regulations

Applicants should consult the Graduate Calendar for a complete listing of Regulations for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy.

For Students in Comparative Public Policy

Students will write comprehensive examinations in two fields - public policy and a second field drawn from one of Canadian politics, comparative politics, international relations or political theory.

Major Field 1

In the Public Policy field, students will write an examination covering the three subfields of public policy:

  • Theories and approaches to comparative public policy
  • Public administration
  • International dimensions of public policy

In addition to these examinations but still part of the major field, students must write a major paper that provides a review of current literature on the politics of a specialized policy area. This paper will provide a basis for evaluating substantive knowledge of a policy area in at least two political systems. Normally, this paper must be submitted prior to the written comprehensive examinations.

Major Field 2

To be selected from:

  • Canadian Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • International Relations
  • Political Theory

Students are normally required to have completed at least three units beyond the M.A. level at McMaster in this area prior to writing their comprehensive examination.

Normally, students will write their Major Field 1 exam in August of their first year and their Major Field 2 exam in December of their second year. Accordingly, the major paper that comprises part of the Comparative Public Policy field will be due in December of that year.


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