The Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science is grounded in the core fields of the discipline—American government and politics, comparative politics, international relations, and public policy. Students identify a primary and secondary field as areas of emphasis. The curriculum introduces students to the core fields and also seeks to develop their research skills through a series of methods courses. Students may develop a traditional, academic focus in one of the fields, or they may combine it with public policy to highlight a policy orientation. The program focuses on preparing students to be academic scholars and teachers as well as practitioners in research and public service. The PhD degree includes completion of required courses, passing a written and oral comprehensive examination, and the successful defense of the dissertation before a faculty committee.