- Planning Tools
- Grad Guide
- Methods Coursework
- TA Resources
- Professional Workplace Environment
- Research Funding
- Peer Mentorship
- Alumni Connections
Campus Offices & Centers
Dean of Students Office – Student Assistance Provides resources to students struggling with a variety of issues and seeks to be the “go to” spot for student assistance on campus.
Division of Information Technology (DoIT) Offers help desk user support, computer repair (including certified Apple support), an open computer lab, consultations and trainings, and educational discounts at three Tech Store campus locations.
Office of Child Care and Family Resources Offers a range of services for student parents, including subsidized daycare and limited, though free, in-home childcare.
Ombuds Office Did you know that as a graduate student employee you have access to the services of the UW-Madison Ombuds Office? Ombuds are available to help all employees that are dealing with work related challenges. It is a safe place where you can seek guidance regarding workplace concerns at any time. The Ombuds Office employs five retired faculty and staff who work part-time as a team of consultants. Some of the current Ombuds had ties to graduate students during their careers. Learn more about the office by watching this video .
Mental Health & Wellness
PoliSci U Courses (formerly known as ITV)
Political Science graduate students are required to take three credits of statistical methods instruction. While PS 812 (Introduction to Statistical Methods in Political Science) is the course most frequently used to satisfy this requirement, these credits may be taken in another department. If you are unsure whether a particular course in department would be considered acceptable, you should check with the chair of the Methods field and with the Associate Chair.
Research Design and Data Collection
This subfield concentrates on how social scientists make inferences from observation through the design, conduct, and interpretation of empirical analyses. Methods of observation and data collection are central considerations. Topics include concept formation, measurement, research design, historical, observational, experimental, and survey data collection.
Relevant Courses: PS 817, PS 919. See also related courses in Anthropology, Educational Psychology, History, Psychology, and Sociology.
Statistical Methods and Computation
This subfield includes statistical models such as regression, maximum likelihood, Bayesian models, time series and dimensional analysis. Statistical models allow estimation and inference from a coherent theoretical base (classical or Bayesian). Students should master both basic and advanced elements within this subfield, with at least one course beyond multiple regression and preferably two such courses.
Relevant Courses: PS 812, PS 813, PS 553, PS 818, PS 917, PS 919. See also related courses in Sociology, Economics, Psychology, Educational Psychology, and Statistics if this will be an area of particular emphasis.
This subfield includes game theory, social choice, and considers the behavior of rational actors in political settings of all kinds. Students doing work in this subfield should include technical classes such as PS 835 (Game Theory and Political Analysis) and PS 836 (Formal Models in Political Science) and the application of these methods to substantive problems such as those covered in 840 (Political Economy) and others.
Relevant Courses: PS 835, PS 836, PS 837, PS 840. See also related courses in Economics and other fields.
Methods courses from outside the department
In addition, because the scope, objects, and methods of comparative politics are so broad, students may find it useful to consider some of the following courses as possible supplements to the department’s courses in fulfilling their methodology requirements.
Please note: the courses listed below may not be offered every semester. Please check the Course Search & Enroll app for an updated catalog of current and upcoming semester course offerings.
Anthropology 909 Research Methods and Research Design in Cultural Anthropology
History 774 Methods for Historical Research in Non-Literate Societies
History 795 Quantitative Methods for Historical Research
History 875 Applications of Quantitative Methods to Historical Research.
Sociology 357* Methods of Sociological Inquiry
Sociology 358* Design and Analysis of Social Research
Sociology 359* Statistical Analysis of Social Research
Sociology 360* Statistics for Sociologists I
Sociology 361 Statistics for Sociologists II
Sociology 365* Computing in Sociological Research
Sociology 375* Introduction to Mathematical Sociology
Sociology 544* Introduction to Survey Research
Sociology 545* Ethnomethodology
Sociology 674 Elementary Demographic Techniques
Sociology 676* Applied Demography: American Demographics
Sociology 693* Practicum in Analysis and Research
Sociology 750 Research Methods in Sociology
Sociology 751 Survey Methods for Social Research
Sociology 752 Measurement and Questionnaires for Survey Research
Sociology 753 Comparative and Historical Methods in Sociology
Sociology 754 Qualitative Research Methods in Sociology
Sociology 755 Methods of Qualitative Research
Sociology 759 Mathematical Sociology
Sociology 964 Seminar–Design and Process of Survey Research
Sociology 974 Seminar–Demographic Methodology
Gender & Women’s Approaches to Research in Women’s Studies
*Does not count towards graduate credits
The UW–Madison Political Science Ph.D. Program offers students the opportunity to work as teaching assistants. Teaching assistants work with an instructor to gain experience in leading discussion sections, as well as grading papers and exams. The following information is intended to help new TAs prepare for teaching, pursue further training, and address any issues that arise while teaching.
Sample Syllabi, Section Activities, and Resources for Helping Students
Whom to Contact for Help
For questions specifically about the course you are TAing…
- Start with your head TA, if you have one.
- If not, check with a more experienced TA for the same course, if you are not TAing alone.
- Then, ask the faculty member for whom you are TAing.
For questions about TAing in the Political Science Department…
- General questions about TAing: the Department TA Mentor (for 2020-2021, Andrew McWard)
- Concerns about your TA assignment or the general structure of how assignments work: Erin Pankow, Graduate Program Coordinator
For concerns about a specific student…
- Contact Amy Gangl, Director of Undergraduate Engagement for the Political Science Department, at email@example.com
- Or, if the issue goes beyond the Department, contact the Dean of Students Office during their drop-in office hours (M–F, 8:30–4 p.m., 70 Bascom Hall), by phone (608-263-5700), via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or via live chat: https://doso.wiscweb.wisc.edu/live-chat/
- Student of Concern reporting system: https://doso.students.wisc.edu/services/student-of-concern/
For further instruction in teaching
The Department of Political Science is committed to creating a professional and welcoming workplace environment for men and women of every background, including race, ethnicity, creed, sexual orientation, and ideological perspective. The department is committed to promoting academic freedom and intellectual discourse. At the same time, the department expects an environment of mutual respect and consideration for colleagues. The primary means for this to occur is for all individuals to use common sense, decency, and respect for others as their guide to interacting with others in the workplace. Thus, this statement does not include any effort to codify speech. The need to create a professional and welcoming workplace environment extends to all of North Hall.
For situations in which problems regarding the working environment arise, the department encourages the concerned parties to discuss the problem among themselves and seek resolution together. In situations in which this may not be advisable (for example instances involving a power differential), or if this strategy has not been successful, they are welcome to seek additional assistance from the Chair, the Associate Chair, or the department liaisons. These department representatives will make reasonable and timely efforts to help resolve the issue. The department encourages the concerned parties to meet together, or to have the department representative meet separately with each party with full information. At the same time, the department recognizes that there will be cases that call for a different approach. All concerned parties should make every effort to keep communication channels open throughout the process. The department representatives will report back verbally to the participants at the conclusion of the department-level process. There will be no department record of this process.
This informal department process is designed to assist faculty, staff, and students in the Department of Political Science to maintain a professional and welcoming workplace environment. While the department does not have the authority to require participation or to impose sanctions, it encourages the parties to participate in this problem-resolution process. This informal process is not a substitute for the established university policies or public law on sexual harassment, nor is it a prerequisite for pursuing any claims under such policies or laws.
Scott Straus, email@example.com
Nadav Shelef, firstname.lastname@example.org
Faye Lux, email@example.com
Graduate Program Coordinator
Erin Pankow, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rochelle Snyder, email@example.com
Thomas Worth, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ronald Rapoport Summer Research Collaborative Program
Funded by a generous gift from the Rapoport Family Foundation, this program aims to foster early-career graduate students’ research and publication by funding summer collaborations with faculty.
The award provides graduate students with a $5000 summer scholarship to work on a collaborative project with faculty that is intended to result in a co-authored publication.
PhD students who have not yet advanced to candidacy and faculty in Political Science are invited to submit joint proposals for summer research in the fields of American politics and policy or comparative political behavior. Preference will be given to 1) proposals in the field of political behavior; 2) collaborations involving first or second year students; 3) collaborations where faculty contribute 20% of the award amount. Calls for proposals will be sent out in the spring.
Summer Research Initiative
Each spring the Political Science Department invite graduate students to submit proposals to fund research and training projects during the summer. Eligible activities include but are not limited to conference travel (including the APSA annual meeting), travel to conduct research, purchase of software or data, and tuition for courses or workshops. Projects in the early phases of dissertation research and those leading to publication will get higher priority. Seniority and standing in the graduate program are also considerations. Budgets may not include direct salary. Calls for proposals will be sent out in the spring.
Elections Research Center
The Elections Research Centers provides funding for graduate students for summer fellowships, conference travel, and research. Additional details: https://elections.wisc.edu/research-funding/
Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS)
The IRIS Awards Office manages its own funding opportunities (Scott Kloeck-Jenson Fellowships, IRIS Graduate Fieldwork Awards, Incubator Grants), coordinates the campus component of a number of external programs (Boren Fellowships, Fulbright US Student Program, Fulbright-Hays DDRA, Luce Scholars Program), and assists students in exploring other funding options: https://iris.wisc.edu/funding/students/.
Peer mentorship is a critical component of success in graduate school. A good mentor displays the the following qualities:
Willingness to share knowledge, skills, and expertise
A good mentor is willing to teach what he/she knows and accept the mentee where they currently are in their professional development. Good mentors can remember what it was like just starting out in the field. The mentor does not take the mentoring relationship lightly and understands that good mentoring requires time and commitment and is willing to continually share information and their ongoing support with the mentee.
Provides guidance and constructive feedback
One of the key responsibilities of a good mentor is to provide guidance and constructive feedback to their mentee. This is where the mentee will most likely grow the most by identifying their current strengths and weaknesses and learning how to use these to make them successful in the field. A good mentor possesses excellent communication skills and is able to adjust their communication to the personality style of the mentee. A good mentor will also provide the mentee with challenges that will foster professional development and a feeling of accomplishment in learning the field.
Personal interest in the mentoring relationship
Good mentors do not take their responsibility as a mentor lightly. They feel invested in the success of the mentee. Usually this requires someone who is knowledgeable, compassionate, and possesses the attributes of a good teacher or trainer. Excellent communication skills are also required. A good mentor is committed to helping their mentees find success and gratification in their chosen profession. Overall good mentoring requires empowering the mentee to develop his/her own strengths, beliefs, and personal attributes.
Values the opinions and initiatives of others
A mentor who values others is also someone who works well in a team environment and is willing to share his/her success. A good mentor appreciates the ongoing effort of the mentee and empowers him/her through positive feedback and reinforcement.
Motivates mentees through setting a good example
A mentor is usually highly motivated, dedicated, and has a strong work ethic themselves and by exhibiting these qualities, sets a good example for mentees.
Looks for ways to improve mentoring skills
A mentor strives to improve her or his skills by keeping up with best practices. Fortunately, at UW–Madison there are a number of resources that can help with this. For instance, programs like Delta offer mentor training opportunities. The Institute for Clinical and Translational Research offers resources for research mentors. Finally, faculty such as Prof. Angela Byars-Winston research quality mentoring habits and want to help more people take up these habits. These and many other efforts have led UW–Madison to be a leader of the National Research Mentoring Network.
You can find more resources on mentorship here.
Current graduate students can access here a list of Department of Political Science alumni who can serve as resources, sounding boards, and a network for students who are interested in pursuing nonacademic careers of various kinds.
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