Graduate Student Questions to Ask

The Graduate Student Questions to Ask (GSQ) Program invites political science doctoral departments to voluntarily indicate their willingness to answer specified questions from inquiring students concerning the goals of the doctoral program, how they prepare students for careers, and what they do to facilitate the placement of students in jobs.  The following lists the current set of questions that participating departments have volunteered to answer.

Data on Graduate Recruitment and Admissions and Placement

 1. What data does the department have on the number of applications, admissions and   placement of doctoral students in their programs?

Note: Rostered departments are asked to agree to make public the data submitted to APSA. 

 2. What is the placement experience of the department? How is placement assistance handled? 

 3. What is the actual availability of faculty of different specialties in specific departments? 

 4.  What is the average time to degree? 

 5.  What are the funding options available for graduate study in the department? How long is  funding usually provided, and how much? 

 6. What is the nature and quality of faculty involvement with students as evidenced by which faculty members have chaired dissertations, published joint articles, etc.? 

 7. Does the department have an explicit methodological focus? Are there any divisive departmental cleavages on disciplinary issues, such as views toward "science", behavioralism, quantitative/qualitative methods, formal modeling, rational choice or other political science perspectives? 

 8. Are there any departmental or institutional resources for students with spouses, children or significant others?

 9. How does the department assess student progress? 

 10. What is the climate for women and other minorities in a department, its university, and the local community? 

 11.  How accurate, and regularly maintained, is the department’s course catalogue? 


Preparation for Professional Employment

1. Who advises students on curricular and career issues and how is it done?

2. How does the department prepare students to assume teaching responsibilities as teaching assistants and as teachers after graduation

3.  How does the department prepare students to pursue scholarly interests leading to professional presentations and publications?

4. How does the department inform students about professional ethics and responsibilities as teachers, researchers, and members of a scholarly profession?

5. Does the university have a teaching and learning center for doctoral students and faculty? If so, how does the department use it to enhance professional preparation for professional employment?

6. How does the department assist in preparing students to enter the job market?

7. Does the department make any special efforts to prepare graduate students for professional employment outside of the standard faculty roles in political science departments, such as:

  • International relations
  • Interdisciplinary programs
  • Professional schools
  • Community colleges or other educational institutions
  • Research or administrative positions in think tanks, business, government or non-profit organizations?

See Also: 
Miller, Julie and Jennifer Furlong. "Asking the Right Questions," Chronicle of Higher Education Online.  Wednesday, January 11, 2006.

Graduate Student Connection - resources for students considering graduate study in political science

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