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Statistics: Number of Years to complete a PhD in Political Science


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I am not really sure how many of us here care about the time you need to complete the degree, but I guess even if you are very young and can well afford the time, financing may still be an issue if it takes too long. And schools do vary quite a bit on this variable.

Here are the data for a number of schools. I've looked at the 'cv's of their PhDs on the market to deduce the time they have spent on the degree. The time, to be sure, also depends on the research (quantitative modeling stuff usually takes less time). Also, quite a number of 'cv's do not reveal this stat, so for some schools the sample isn't that large. Nonetheless, hopefully they provide a rough guide for those who are concerned.

Please feel free to add those schools I haven't mentioned.

(School) (Number of years)

Columbia 6-7,7,7,8,9,7,7

Ohio State 6,6,7.5

Berkeley 5,6,6.5,7,7,7,8,8,8,10

Wisconsin Madison 6.5,7,7,7,8

George Washington 5,5,5,6,6,5-6,7,8

Michigan State 5,5,6,6,6,6,7,7

Brown 5,5,5,5,6,6,6

UCSD 6,6,6,6-7,7,7,7,8,8,9

Cornell 6,7,7,7,7,8,8,8

UCLA 6,6,6-7,7,7,7-8,8,8

Harvard 5,6,6,6,6,7,7,7,7

MIT 5,5,6,7,7,7,7,7,7,7.5,10,11

Penn State 5,5,5,6,6,6,6,8

UNC 4,5,5,5-6,6,6,9

Emory 5,6,6,6,6

Northwestern 4,4,5,5,5,6.5,7,8

Notre Dame 5,5,6,6,7

Princeton 5,5,6,6,6,6,7

Georgetown 7,7,7,7

WashU 5,5,6,6,7,7

Yale 5,6,6,7,7,7,7

NYU 5,5,5,5,5,5.5,6,6,6,6

Duke 6.3 (published stat)

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This might offer more complete and useful data for the following schools:




  Notre Dame

  Ohio State

  Penn State







 (and also shows where people got their first placement, and how many people dropped out early or otherwise never graduated): https://sites.google.com/site/honestgraduatenumbers/

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Average time to degree for Polisci is around 7.5 (? going from memory) years nationwide. APSA released a report on this last year if you want to google search. Also, note that most people will be "on the market" more than one year, so pulling data from people's CVs that are on the "for hire" page isn't especially useful. Often, candidates will go on the market on the early side (say, after year 5 or 6) to a couple "dream schools" only to go out "for real" in year 6-7. It's not uncommon at my program for most students to be "on the market" for at least two years. Also, time to degree varies by subfield. Americanists are more likely to get out in 5. IR and Comparative are closer to 6-7 years. I'm not sure about theory....

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