Resources for Current Students

Campus Offices & Resources

McBurney Disability Resource Center

Partners with students, faculty, and staff to design accessible environments and to provide academic accommodations so that students can engage, explore and participate in the Wisconsin Idea. Whether you are new to campus or are already quite familiar, have a long history of accommodations or are just exploring disability-related accommodations for the first time, we invite you to learn more about the Center and to contact McBurney with any questions you may have.

Gender and Sexuality Campus Center

The Gender and Sexuality Campus Center provides education, outreach, advocacy, and resources for UW-Madison student communities and their allies to improve campus climate and their daily intersectional experiences.

University Veteran Services

Serves military-connected students in three key focus areas: education benefits, student success, and education and advocacy.

Bursar’s Office

The Bursar’s Office provides information and resources on student account billing and payments, refunds, remissions, and loans serviced by UW-Madison.

Student Activity Center

The Student Activity Center is located on the third and fourth floors of the University Square building (333 East Campus Mall). The SAC is the only student-run space on campus. ASM funds, manages, and allocates the space, including offices ranging from 50 to 750 square feet, conference rooms, a rooftop deck, study areas, and a multipurpose room.

International Student Services

International Student Services (ISS) serves UW-Madison students on F and J visas by providing holistic support through advising on immigration, personal, and cultural matters, and by organizing events and activities to support students’ engagement and development within the campus community.

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.

University Health Services

University Health Services is the UW–Madison student health center. Read more about services offered to students.

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.

Multicultural Student Center

The primary mission of the Multicultural Student Center is to collaboratively strengthen and sustain an inclusive campus where all students, particularly students of color and other historically underserved students, can realize an authentic Wisconsin Experience.

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.

SAFEwalk

SAFEwalk is a free walking companionship service available to all students, faculty, staff, and UW visitors. To request a SAFEwalk, call or text (608) 262-5000. SAFEwalkers can accompany you throughout campus and to/from near-campus locations! (Service boundaries do not include far west campus, such as UW Hospital and Eagle Heights.)

Graduate School Office of Professional Development

Provides graduate students with professional development opportunities, and assists students in building skills needed to succeed academically and thrive in their career. Students are encouraged to build an Individual Development Plan (IDP), which helps you to reflect, plan, and discuss in order to achieve your academic and professional goals.

Mental Health Resources

Graduate and Professional Student Assistance Specialist

The Graduate School and the Dean of Students Office jointly support a staff position focused on graduate student needs. Elaine Goetz-Berman serves in this role, which includes support, advocacy, and resource referral for graduate students.  Elaine’s approach to working with graduate students centers on her specialized knowledge about the unique academic and personal challenges they face.

University Health Services – Mental Health Services

UHS offers a safe and confidential environment with a variety of support services available free of charge and open to all graduate students living in Wisconsin. These include individual, couple/partner, and group counseling, as well as stress management and psychiatry services. Those living out of state may access specific workshops, crisis support, Let’s Talk services, and Access providers for connection with care and resources in local communities or at UHS. Mental Health Services are currently being offered virtually (via phone or Zoom), plus some in-person outreach programs.

An Access Appointment is the entry point to services at Mental Health Services and is typically done over the phone. To schedule an Access Appointment, students should call Mental Health Services at 608-265-5600 (option 2) or log on to MyUHS for 24-hour appointment booking. In person appointments are available by request. This appointment will last about 20 minutes.

In addition, UHS hosts a variety of group counseling opportunities: (Times listed below are for the Spring 2022 semester)

Dissertators’ Group (Wednesdays 12:00-1:30pm) – A supportive group environment focused on the emotional, behavioral, and organizational challenges associated with the dissertation process.

Graduate Students’ Support Group (Mondays 1:00-2:30pm) – This group examines the sources of stress, ways of coping, and the role of peer support in adjusting to a role that often feels like it’s 24/7 as a graduate student.

Graduate Students of Color Group (Thursdays 3:00-4:30pm) – For graduate students who identify as people of color, who may experience unique challenges, microaggressions, and lack of supports compared to their White peers and undergraduate counterparts.

The groups listed above are just a few examples. Additional groups address LGBTQ support, relationships, depression, anxiety, and other topics. Groups typically meet one to two hours weekly, and may run from four to 12 weeks per semester. These groups fill up very quickly, so students should enroll in these groups at the beginning of the semester.

Additional UHS Resources Include:

Grad Resilience (Thursdays 12:00-1:00pm) – This is a series of rotating 1-hour virtual lunch discussions for current graduate students. Each section presents strategies to navigate a feature of graduate culture with the opportunity for participants to share experiences and ask questions.

Let’s Talk – These confidential and informal 20-minute consultations with a mental health provider are available every weekday. Sign-up is available.

SilverCloud – This online, self-guided, interactive mental health resource provides students with accessible cognitive behavioral interventions 24 hours a day. SilverCloud is not designed to replace in-person mental health treatment for many complex concerns but may be an effective option for students with mild to moderate symptoms to help manage day-to-day stresses and anxiety; improve resilience; learn skills to understand thoughts, feelings, and behaviors; and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Wellness Initiatives – UHS’s interdisciplinary program is designed to assist students’ pursuit of healthy mind, body, and spirit. Programs address healthy living, nutritional counseling, mindfulness, exercise consultation, yoga, massage, stress management, and more.

Sexual Violence Prevention Program – UHS provides an online sexual violence and misconduct prevention program, which all incoming graduate students at UW-Madison are required to complete.

Survivor Services – Survivor Services provides confidential support for students who have experienced sexual assault, sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, and/or stalking. Services include information and referral, individual and group counseling, and advocacy and accompaniments.

Additional support and resources on campus include:

UWell – This is a comprehensive wellness initiative aiming to advance the health and wellbeing of the entire campus community by promoting existing resources.

Dean of Students Office – This office is a primary resource for connecting students who are navigating personal, academic, or health issues, to supportive campus and community resources. They are committed to fostering a caring environment for all students. Responsibilities include the Student of Concern Report, the Bias Reporting Process, addressing Sexual Assault, Dating, and Domestic Violence, as well as many other issues affecting student wellbeing. Drop-in hours are Monday through Friday 8:30am-4:00pm, room 70 Bascom Hall.

University Veterans Services – Student veterans transitioning to civilian life face unique challenges. The mission of University Veterans Services is to support military-connected students by fostering personal transitions and pursuit of academic success.

Ombuds Office – University employees, including graduate students, can seek guidance regarding workplace concerns without fear of reprisal and at no cost to them.

Employee Assistance Office – Graduate students who hold assistantships are eligible to utilize the Employee Assistance Office. This is a confidential resource that provides counseling and consultation at no cost.

In addition to utilizing UHS’s services, graduate students who hold assistantship appointments may seek mental health services covered by their health insurance plan.

Methods Coursework

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.

Methods Subfields

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.

Formal Theory

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
Studies 900

*Does not count towards graduate credits

TA Resources

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.

Introduction to TAing in the department

UW–Madison Graduate Assistant Policies and Procedures Handbook

Graduate Assistants Equity Workshops

Sample Syllabi, Section Activities, and Resources for Helping Students

Political Science TA Resources Dropbox

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 2021-2022, Marcy Shieh)
  • Concerns about your TA assignment or the general structure of how assignments work: Erin Pankow, Graduate Program Coordinator

For concerns about a specific student…

­Online Resources

Food assistance for students

Sample syllabus statement on inclusivity for disabled students

Support for undocumented students

University Health Services mental health support groups

The Writing Center

For further instruction in teaching

Delta Program events

Graduate School events

UW Teaching Academy events

Professional Workplace Environment

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.

Department Chair

Jon Pevehouse, jcpevehouse@wisc.edu

Associate Chair

Nadav Shelef, shelef@wisc.edu

Department Administrator

Faye Lux, flux@wisc.edu

Graduate Program Coordinator

Erin Pankow, erin.pankow@wisc.edu 

GPC Representatives

Rochelle Snyder, rsnyder4@wisc.edu 

Thomas Worth, tsworth@wisc.edu

Research Funding

Internal Sources

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/.

External Sources

General Study 

Language Study

Pre-dissertation Field and Archival Work 

Field and Archival Work

Peer Mentorship

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.

Non-Academic Job Resources

Alumni Profile

Jared Knowles is the president of Civilytics Consulting, LLC. He founded Civilytics in 2016 to pursue his passion of providing high-quality public performance metrics for government services. Knowles completed his PhD in political science at UW–Madison in 2015.  Click here to read more of Jared’s alumni career profile.

Alumni Connections

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.

Non-Academic Job Sample Resume and Cover Letter

Current graduate students can access here a sample resume and cover letter from an alum of our program who is currently working in the private sector.

To access the documents on this page you will need to sign in to your UW Box Account.

Minors

As you plan out your courses, you will need to be thinking about when to take courses to satisfy your Minor requirement. Many students focus on the Minor in the fall of their third year. You should think of the Minor as a chance to add some additional research skills, concentrate in an area in which you’d like some teaching competency, or focus on an area that you believe might be beneficial for your dissertation research. The minor requirement can be met in three ways: Option A, “External Minor”, Option B, “Distributed Minor”, or Option C “Graduate/Professional Certificate”.

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Option A, "External Minor"

An Option A, “External Minor” requires a minimum of at least nine credits in a single department other than the Political Science department. This option requires the approval of the department in which the Minor is done, and that department might add specific criteria to meet. Your Political Science faculty advisor also needs to give his/her approval. You can find the full list of doctoral minors here. Students completing the Option A External Minor should send their completed approval form to the Graduate Program Coordinator at erin.pankow@wisc.edu.

Option B, "Distributed Minor"

An Option B, “Distributed Minor,” requires a minimum of nine credits that can be taken in multiple outside departments or across subfields within the Political Science department. These credits should provide an intellectually coherent theme within an area of study. One possible path for the Distributed Minor is an “Internal Minor” in which all nine credits are taken in the Political Science department. The purpose of the Internal Minor is to broaden a student’s perspective beyond the specific fields which constitute the student’s preliminary examination fields. However, if a student can demonstrate to the Associate Chair and his or her advisor that a course within a tested field but outside a tested subfield fits within an intellectually coherent theme that complements and broadens a student’s perspective and would constitute a legitimate Distributed Minor or Internal Minor, the student may petition to count that course toward the requirement. In all cases, such an exception will be limited to one course only. A student will not be allowed to count required courses (e.g., PS 812 or PS 817) toward a Minor. All Option B Minors require the approval of the student’s advisor and the Associate Chair. Students completing the Option B Distributed Minor should send their completed approval form to the Graduate Program Coordinator at erin.pankow@wisc.edu.

Option C "Graduate/Professional Certificate"

Option C, “Graduate/Professional certificate”, Requires successful completion of a Graduate/Professional certificate in a program outside of the student’s doctoral major program. Coursework must be graded courses numbered 300 or above for which graduate credit is available; coursework may not be double counted for major requirements; research and thesis courses (e.g., 790, 890, 990) cannot be used to satisfy the minor or Graduate/Professional certificate requirements; no more than 3 credits of independent study may be used (e.g. 999); no more than 5 credits of coursework completed more than 5 years prior to admission to the doctoral program may be used; coursework taken 10 years ago or more may not be used to fulfill this requirement. MAs completed less than 5 years before admission to the doctoral program can be used to fulfill this requirement.

Doctoral Minor in Political Science for Students in other Degree Programs

Students in other degree programs who wish to pursue a Political Science doctoral minor will complete required to complete 9 credits of graduate-level political science coursework resulting in a cohesive theme of study with grades of B or better. The coursework may include courses that have the “Counts toward 50% graduate coursework requirement” attribute, if taken at the graduate level. Students seeking an Option A minor in Political Science should meet with the associate chair following completion of the first course to discussed a proposed course list. The associate chair will approve the minor upon completion of the coursework. Students completing the doctoral minor should send their completed approval form to the Graduate Program Coordinator at erin.pankow@wisc.edu.

Political Science Graduate Workshop

The Political Science Graduate Workshop (PSGW) focuses on personal and professional development for current graduate students in the political science department. The PSGW’s mission is to “foster communication and information-sharing among the grad students and faculty members of the political science department and to promote professional development opportunities for the grad students.” The topics covered in PSGW range from topics in graduate life (health and balance, financial life) to discipline professional development (publishing, communications). This workshop convenes several times per semester each academic year.