Programme Requirements

Candidature, Coursework & Thesis

M.Soc.Sci students are required to read six modules, including PS5111 Research Design in Political Science and PS6770 Graduate Research Seminar and core modules in two of the four subfields offered by the Department (Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Theory, and Governance and Public Policy). One of these core modules will be in their major subfield.
Ph.D students are required to read ten modules, including PS5111 and PS6770 and core modules in three of the four subfields—one in their major subfield, one in the minor subfield, and one chosen from the two remaining subfields. For more information with regard to credit transfer/module exemption, please click here.
Students normally read three modules per semester. In special circumstances, such as concurrent enrolment in an English language module or an imminent Qualifying Examination, and with the permission of his or her supervisor and the Graduate Coordinator, a student may read fewer than three substantive modules in a given semester.
For Masters students, at least 75% of the total modular credit (MC) requirements must be at level 5000 or 6000. Up to 25% of the total MC requirements may be at level 4000, subject to the approval of the Department.
For Ph.D students, at least 75% of the total MC requirements must be at level 5000 or 6000, one of which is the Graduate Research Seminar module (PS6770). Up to 25% of the total MC requirements may be at level 4000, subject to the approval of the Department.
M.Soc.Sci and Ph.D students must also complete a thesis based on their research.
The maximum periods of candidature for both full-time and part-time candidates, the coursework requirements and word limit for thesis are reflected in the table below:






36 Months

6 Modules

Max. 30,000 words


60 Months

10 Modules

Max. 80,000 words

For more information, please click Brief Programme Requirements

Ph.D. Qualifying Exams

The Qualifying Examination (QE) for Ph.D students consists of a written comprehensive examination and an oral defence of the Ph.D thesis proposal. The length of the thesis proposal should be 30 - 50 double-spaced pages. The candidate must submit the proposal to his/her thesis committee (and a copy for the Department’s record) at least a week before the oral defence.
All Ph.D candidates must satisfy the following conditions before taking the Ph.D QE:
  • Pass the English course, where applicable; and
  • Complete a minimum of five modules, at least two of which at level 6000, with a minimum CAP of 3.50.
The written comprehensive examination consists of a field exam and a topic exam or paper. The field exam tests the competence of the candidate in a primary field of political science; and the topic exam or paper assess the student's expertise in his or her proposed area of research. The oral defence of the Ph.D thesis proposal ensures that the candidate is prepared to embark on his/her thesis research.
The QE must be passed before the end of the second year of the Ph.D candidature. However, the candidate may take the comprehensive examination earlier, subject to the approval of the Thesis Committee (TC), Graduate Coordinator, and Head of Department. Approval may be sought via email. Within this period a second Ph.D QE may be attempted should the candidate fail at the first attempt. This schedule applies to both full-time and part-time Ph.D candidates.
*For Programme Requirements from AY2008-2009 till AY2011-2012, please click HERE.
*For Programme Requirements prior to AY2008-2009, please click HERE.