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For Future PhD's

A well known academic once quipped that life as a professor is paradise but to road to get there is hell. How true it this remark ? Many students join us to find out, and we try to show them that the road to paradise can actually be quite enjoyable. Their close interaction with professors inside and outside the classroom gives them a greater insight into mundane aspects of a professor’s teaching and research responsibilities. The mentoring of faculty and the option of writing an M.A. thesis allows students to assess what is expected of them to potentially succeed as a scholar/teachers.

 Students interested in continuing on to a Ph.D. program or with a desire to deepen their research skills can enroll in our research track and write an M.A. thesis. They enroll in the fall of semester of their second year for PSC 9078 Thesis Research Problems to work on and prepare their M.A. thesis proposal. The seminar discusses strategies for "discovering" interesting topics within the student’s area of interest, introduces students to useful research skills and tools and tries to develop an esprit the corps among students. The students will leave the seminar with a well developed thesis proposal. After successful completion of PSC 9078, students enroll in PSC 9079 Thesis Direction to complete their thesis for defense in the spring of their fourth semester.

Students interested in advanced quantitative methodologies can enroll in relevant graduate courses offered either in the department of Public Administration, Psychology or Statistics. Students can also earn a Certificate in Applied Statistics. They also can take a digital humanities courses offered through the history program if they are interested in text analysis, data visualization, geo-spatial mapping.

The Dean of Graduate Studies further supports the research endeavors of our M.A. students with summer research grants and support for conference travel. Our students regularly benefit from this support.

The Center for Research and Fellowship supports Villanova graduate students in applying for research opportunities, PhD applications, and Fullbright fellowships. They offer individual consultations, help finding funding, unlimited draft reviews, professional development workshops, and graduate program selection and application support. 

Graduate students interested in contemporary social theory an participate in the Critical Theory Workshop offered every summer in Paris by Professor Gabriel Rockhill from Villanova’s Philosophy Department. Professor Rockhill runs the Critical Theory Workshop help each summer in Paris. It brings to together students and faculty from the US and Europe for a two week workshop during which they explore contemporary social and political issues from different philosophical perspectives. Master’s students in political science interested are eligible to apply. The Critical Theory Workshop / Atelier de Théorie Critique is an intensive research program whose primary objective is to provide an international forum for trans-disciplinary and comparative work in critical social theory, in the most expansive sense of the term. Participants are exposed to the work of contemporary thinkers and engage with current debates in the Francophone world and beyond.



Colleen Dougherty

I have been a graduate student and Tuition Scholar in the Political Science Department’s M.A. program.  I began my studies at Villanova in 2011 after receiving a B.B.A. from the University of Notre Dame (2004), where my interest in social science research was sparked while working at ND’s Institute for Latino Studies, and an M.L.A from the University of Pennsylvania (2010), where I was employed as an analyst.  In 2013, I  entered the Political Science PhD program at Syracuse University.

I credit my experience at Villanova with enabling me to take this next step towards becoming a political science scholar.  At Villanova, I focused my studies on comparative political economy and social welfare.  Through challenging coursework and mentorship of the faculty, my experience in VU's M.A. program has helped me to refine my research interests and prepared me to perform the disciplined research required at the doctoral level. I thank Villanova for  an invaluable opportunity to successfully pursue my academic and professional goals.

For further insights on Colleen and other students and alumni, please visit the testimonials page.

Abigail Minor
Senior Administrative Assistant
Department of Political Science
Villanova University
Villanova, PA 19085-1699
Phone: 610.519.4710
Fax: 610.519.7487