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Department of Political Science

  • Two students talking while sitting on comfy chairs in Russell House

Doctoral Program

The Ph.D. program provides advanced scholarly understanding of political science including international relations. You will develop the knowledge, theoretical perspectives, and methodological skills necessary for conducting research and teaching in these fields. Most students pursuing a Ph.D. anticipate employment at a university or research institute.

Fields of Inquiry

Students in the Ph.D. program in Political Science will first choose a field from American Politics; Comparative Politics; International Relations; Public Law; Political Theory; or Public Administration and Public Policy. Students will also choose a second field from those listed above with the addition of Research Methodology. These fields determine the courses doctoral students take, as well as the likely topic of their dissertations.

Students have the opportunity to publish articles during their time at USC. Some recent student article titles include, "How voters hold the European People’s Party accountable in European Parliament elections," and  “Power concentration or parity? The conditional influence of power distribution in regional economic integration.” Journals where student work has been featured include Social Science Quarterly, Justice System Journal, Journal of International Relations, and Journal of Law and Courts, International Studies Quarterly, and Political Research Quarterly, Public Administration Review.


Career Placements

USC Political Science Ph.D.s have done well in the highly competitive academic job market. Listed below are the initial positions secured by our recent Ph.D.s.

Jobs secured:

  • Post-doc
  • Lecturer
  • Assistant Professor

Sampling of institutions:

  • University of Chicago
  • National Taiwan University
  • University of Texas, El Paso
  • Georgia State University
  • Oberlin
  • College of Charleston
  • Yale University

Sampling of organizations:

  • United Nations
  • US Government
  • US Air Force Academy
  • US Department of Energy
  • SC Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services

Sampling of organizations:

  • SC Migrant Education Program
  • Greenville Hospital
  • Republic of Korea Navy

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.