University of Southern California
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Graduate Degrees

Degree Requirements

These degrees are under the jurisdiction of the Graduate School. Refer to the Requirements for Graduation section and the Graduate School section of this catalogue for general regulations. All courses applied toward the degrees must be courses accepted by the Graduate School.

Master of Arts in Political Economy and Public Policy

The graduate program in Political Economy and Public Policy does not admit students whose objective is a master’s degree. However, if a student accepted into the program does not have a master’s degree, it is strongly recommended that he or she complete the requirements for the M.A. in the process of work toward the Ph.D. degree. This involves 32 units of approved course work or at least 24 units of approved course work and completion of an acceptable thesis accompanied by registration in PEPP 594ab.

Doctor of Philosophy in Political Economy and Public Policy

Course Requirements
Applicants are no longer being accepted to this program. The minimum number of course credits required for the Ph.D. is 62 units (16 courses), exclusive of 794 Doctoral Dissertation. Each student must satisfy (a) core requirements and (b) area requirements.

A. Core requirements include 38 units (10 courses) as follows:
Economic Theory (3 courses, 12 units) — ECON 500 or ECON 503, ECON 501 or ECON 505, ECON 527.
Political Theory (1 course, 4 units) — POSC 530 or POSC 650 or POSC 652.
International Political Economic Theory (1 course, 4 units) — IR 500 or IR 501 or IR 541.
Methodology (2 courses, 8 units) — ECON 511 or ECON 513 and POSC 600 or equivalent.
Political Economy (3 courses, 10 units) — PEPP 539 and PEPP 695, ECON 634 or PEPP 538.

B. Area requirements: The Ph.D. candidate must select option 1, 2 or 3.

Option 1: Comparative and Developmental Political Economy (6 courses, 24 units from a and b)
a. Comparative/Developmental Economics (3 courses, 12 units) — PEPP 639 or ECON 541 or ECON 546 and two of the following: ECON 523, ECON 634 (if not taken above), ECON 538, ECON 541 (if not taken above), ECON 546 (if not taken above), ECON 604, ECON 639 (if not taken above), ECON 644.
b. Comparative/Developmental Politics
(3 courses, 12 units) — POSC 520 or IR 545 and any two of the following: POSC 520 (if not taken above), POSC 640; IR 545.
Middle East and North Africa — POSC 535; IR 581
Europe — POSC 630; IR 543
The USSR — POSC 633, POSC 637
Latin America — POSC 632; IR 556
Asia and the Pacific — POSC 633, POSC 634, POSC 637; IR 561, IR 563
Africa — POSC 636; IR 557

Option 2: Politico-Economic Institutions and Processes (6 courses, 24 units from a and b) a. Economic Analysis and Public Policy
ECON (3 courses, 12 units), selected as follows: PEPP 639 or ECON 537 or ECON 634 and any two of the following (may include an approved course not on this list):
ECON 523, ECON 537; PEPP 538 (if not taken above), PEPP 639 (if not taken above); ECON 657, ECON 671, ECON 680, ECON 681.
b. Politics and the Policy Process
POSC/IR (3 courses, 12 units), selected as follows: POSC 510 or IR 521 and any two of the following: POSC 510 (if not taken above), POSC 546, POSC 556, POSC 610, POSC 611, POSC 612, POSC 618, POSC 621, POSC 622, POSC 641, POSC 670; IR 506, IR 517, IR 521, IR 524, IR 543, IR 547, IR 599.

Option 3: International Political Economy (6 courses, 24 units from a and b)
a. International Economics
PEPP 639 or ECON 650 and any two of the following (may include one approved course not on this list): PEPP 639, ECON 523, ECON 541, ECON 546, ECON 634, ECON 644, ECON 650, ECON 651.
b. International Relations
IR 541* (if not taken above) and any two of the following (may include one approved course not on this list): IR 506, IR 542, IR 543, IR 544, IR 545, IR 547, IR 550, IR 553, IR 599; POSC 546, POSC 670.

*If this course has been taken to fulfill a core requirement, one or more of the courses listed should be taken.

Screening Procedure
The screening procedure, administered no later than the semester in which the student has completed 24 units of study, includes review of course grades and may also include a written examination. Normal preparation would include 24 units (six courses) drawn from the core requirements described above. If the student successfully completes the screening procedures, he or she continues toward the Ph.D. degree.

Foreign Language/Research Tool Requirements
The student is expected to complete the language/research tool requirement of the program. Normally, this is fulfilled by successful completion of the quantitative research method component of the core requirements. A knowledge of one major foreign language is required only if it is necessary for the student’s major area of specialization or research.

Guidance Committees
The guidance committee, established upon successful completion of the screening procedure, consists of five members: one representing economic theory and the history of economic theory; one representing political thought and the history of political thought; one representing the student’s major area of concentration from the Department of Economics; one representing the student’s major area of concentration from the Department of Political Science or the School of International Relations; and one serving as an outside member of the committee from an outside department. The guidance committee helps the student plan a program of study, recommends proper preparation for the qualifying examination, and administers the oral portion of the examination.

Qualifying Examination
Qualifying examinations are scheduled by the PEPP Office twice per year, once each in the fall and spring semesters, respectively. Successful completion of the screening procedure and establishment of a guidance committee are prerequisite to scheduling the qualifying examination.

The qualifying examination is composed of two written examinations, one in contending perspectives, and one in general political economy; one from applied political economy, history of economic and political thought, or general political economy, and an oral examination, normally including an initial dissertation proposal.

The written examinations presume that students have successfully completed at least five theory courses in political economy, as specified above, and at least four (out of six) courses in their designated applied field. These examinations, however, test the student in political economy as a whole, not merely in a particular course or set of courses. They presume familiarity with the literature, notably, the sources listed in “Basic Works in Political Economy,” available at the PEPP Office.

The oral component of the qualifying examination is conducted by the student’s guidance committee members, and must be scheduled to occur within 60 days following the written examinations. At the oral examination, the student may be given the opportunity to elaborate or clarify questions from the written examinations, including (since written examinations will normally provide some degree of choice) questions which the student chose not to answer. The student will also be expected to discuss his or her prospective dissertation topic with the guidance committee. The student is therefore expected to prepare a brief written dissertation prospectus in advance of the oral examination. In exceptional circumstances and with the concurrence of the chairperson of the guidance committee, the dissertation proposal requirement may be postponed for a period of up to three months.

The Ph.D. dissertation will typically constitute original research in political economy, including a critical review of the literature in the relevant area. Each student begins preliminary work on the dissertation in the semester in which the qualifying examination is scheduled. A dissertation proposal is presented at the time of the qualifying oral examination or within three months thereafter. The bulk of the work on the dissertation should be completed within the following two years.

Dissertation Committee
Upon passing the qualifying examination, a student is admitted to candidacy. After admission to candidacy, the student is expected to register for 794 Dissertation (two semester minimum). The student is expected to register in 794 each semester, until the dissertation and all other degree requirements are completed. In addition to the primary chair from one of the three departments, the dissertation committee is composed of a secondary chairperson from a second department and a third faculty member from the third department or an outside department, who will serve as outside member. A faculty member from the Economics Department must serve as either primary or secondary chair.

Defense and Submission of the Dissertation
When the dissertation committee agrees that the student has essentially completed the research and a satisfactory draft of the dissertation has been written, the oral defense is scheduled. If the dissertation committee agrees to pass the student, all suggested extensions, modifications and corrections are incorporated into the final draft which must be approved by all members of the committee.

See the Graduate School section regarding submission of the dissertation.