Research Skills Requirement

The skills necessary to conduct original research are essential for any professional political scientist.  Recognizing that members of the discipline employ varied techniques, however, the Department’s research methods requirements are flexible, allowing students to tailor their training to include those skills most suited to their own future career plans.

All Ph.D. students must:

1. Fulfill the methods requirement by taking PSCI 6800 (Statistical Analysis for Political Science; previously PSCI 692), or, with the approval of the Graduate Chair, another course on comparable topics.  Students taking PSCI 6800 will normally enroll in this course in the fall of their first year in the program, though this timing can be adjusted with the approval of the Graduate Chair.

2. Demonstrate proficiency in a second language

3. In both the first and second summers, students will be expected to develop a plan with their advisor to develop research skills.

Research Paper Requirement

Students will write a research paper in their primary field. The paper will reflect a significant, original research project. Further, students may use a paper previously written for a course, but only if they conduct extensive revisions of said paper. Students will submit this paper by September 30th of their third year.

Additional Methods Training

The Department offers two additional methods courses after the introductory course PSCI 692, including Statistical Analysis for Political Science II (PSCI 697) and Applied Statistics III (PSCI 798).

Students are encouraged to take courses in other departments and schools within Penn to further their research goals. Methods courses commonly taken outside of the department include:

  • STAT 520 Applied Econometrics
  • STAT 921 Observational Studies 
  • SOCI 662 Panel Data Analysis 
  • BSTA 632 Statistical Methods for Categorical and Survival Data