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Learning Goals

Graduates from the Doctoral Program in Political Science will demonstrate that they have achieved the Graduate Center’s Learning Goals as indicated by the following program-specific objectives and assessment measures:
 
1)  GC Objective:  Demonstrate broad and specialized knowledge of the discipline.

Learning Goals:  Students are required to complete core courses in both their major and minor subfields, as well as three additional courses outside those areas of specialization, so that they may learn to describe, explain, and evaluate political institutions, processes, and policies.
 
Assessment:  Students must achieve a grade of B or better in each of the courses described above; at least one course in both the major and minor fields must be at the 700-level (i.e., culminating in a final examination). Doctoral students must pass written comprehensive exams in both their major and minor areas of study.  These examinations test students’ understanding of major scholarship and of their ability to use key concepts. 
 
2) GC Objective:  Oral and written communication skills, other skills and experience appropriate to the discipline as required for career success.

Learning Goals:  Students are required to complete five 800-level graduate seminars which require major research papers and are designed to test their written communication, analytical, and rhetorical skill.  Such research projects provide students an opportunity to hone their data collection skills and to comprehend and synthesize the interrelatedness of economic, cultural, social, psychological, historical and political phenomena. 
 
Assessment:  The first examination measures students’ written communication skills and is administered in two sections:  major (3-questions, 6-hours) and minor (2-questions, 4-hours). The second examination, a defense of the dissertation proposal, as well as the dissertation defense provide an opportunity to assess students’ oral communication skills. The program’s language exam (a translation exercise), allows an additional opportunity to test students’ written competence in a language other than English.
 
3) GC Objective: A grounding in professional ethics

Learning Goals:  All students who are not specializing in Political Theory must take one course in that field; all students are required to take a course in either qualitative or quantitative methods.
 
Assessment:  Each of the required courses listed above assigns readings and exercises that allow faculty to assess students’ understanding of professional ethics and research protocols in addition to those requirements included in IRB training. 
 
4) GC Objective: A substantial and original contribution to their field

Learning Goals:  In order to demonstrate original research and scholarly contribution to their fields of expertise, students are required to write and defend a dissertation.
 
Assessment:  Students draft and revise their dissertations in close consultation first with their dissertation sponsors, then with the other members of the dissertation committee.  These exchanges insure that the written project makes an original and substantial contribution to the field.  The oral defense of the finished product allows faculty a final opportunity to evaluate the student’s contributions and communication skills.