The interdisciplinary PhD program in Political Science focuses on the development of political institutions over time and the ways in which they facilitate or impede adaptation to rapidly changing circumstances under the impact of globalization. The formation of political institutions, their evolution, their sources of change, their distributional effects, how they organize cooperation, and how they resolve or fail to resolve conflict have stimulated some of the most prominent theorizing in the study of politics. The emphasis on the development of political institutions invites multidisciplinary approaches. By their very nature political institutions affect the organization of the economy, the distribution of life chances in society, and cultural values; which are, of course, the concern of economics, sociology and anthropology. Because political development has a time dimension and its conceptualization and normative orientation are open to contestation it is of great interest to historians and philosophers.
Based on the strengths of the faculty in the Department of Political Science, and in collaboration with faculty from other units, the PhD program will train students in two broad, integrally connected areas of research: the quality of government institutions and the policy process more generally in the search for solutions to pressing public policy issues; and the design of political institutions for the protection and exercise of rights and the politics that go into their making, including pressure from civil society.
The program will develop these skills in two core substantive fields: (1) the political economy of political development; (2) the politics of the institutionalization of rights.
The PhD in Political Science offers rich opportunities for collaboration with faculty from other units. They will be critical resources for the specialization of students in the graduate program.
The PhD curriculum builds on Tulane’s outstanding resources and tradition of scholarship on Latin America, embodied in the Stone Center for Latin American Studies and the Center for Inter-American Policy and Research. The Murphy Institute's seminars with an emphasis on political economy, rights and policy will enrich our students’ experience and vice versa. Students interested in urban politics can draw on the recently established interdisciplinary PhD program in City, Culture and Community (CCC) with its focus upon “interdisciplinary research aimed at understanding the causes and consequences of urban social problems, relationships between global processes and local change, and the challenges of sustainable development” as well as its concern with urban policy and the post-Katrina recovery of New Orleans. Students interested in global community health and global environmental health may work with faculty from the Institute for Global Health. Our PhD program's examination of political institutions in the rule of law and institutional organization also offers opportunities for interaction with the Law School and the Business School.