PhD and MA/PhD students
Students who enter without a suitable master’s degree are admitted as “MA/PhD” students; this program of study is anticipated to take five years. MA/PhD students do not necessarily receive an MA degree (those wishing an MA degree must, once nine courses have been completed, submit a conference-quality paper). Students who enter having completed a suitable master’s degree are admitted as “PhD” students; this program of study is anticipated to take four years.
All students are required to take two courses: (1) a proseminar (MTS 501), in which students are introduced to a variety of interests within MTS, primarily through different MTS faculty visiting the course each week and (2) a second-year practicum course focused on learning how to write a publishable-quality, empirical social-scientific research paper (MTS 503). Not including these required courses, courses with at least four core MTS faculty at the 400 or 500 level are required. Students are also required to develop methodological expertise appropriate to their interests as specified by their committee.
Teaching is an essential element of the education and training experience of PhD students at Northwestern. The Graduate School (TGS) at Northwestern requires that all PhD students serve in some instructional capacity for at least one academic quarter during their graduate education at Northwestern. This teaching requirement is unique to American higher education, and is an integral aspect of professional development. The financial support provided to MTS students routinely includes teaching assistantship appointments that satisfy this requirement.
Other PhD Degree Requirements
Upon completion of coursework, a set of written comprehensive examinations, covering the student’s major and minor fields, must be successfully completed. Then a dissertation prospectus must be approved, and a completed dissertation approved.