A. Coursework 

14 courses are required, 10 of which must be taken at UMCP.

A student can petition to transfer up to 12 credits (4 courses) from another program into their current Ph.D. program.

Coursework can be no older than 4 years from admission into the program with a grade of B or better. A syllabus for each course must be included.

Form(s): Petition for Transfer Credit


B. Comprehensive exams

Both Comprehensive Exams in Primary and Secondary Field must have been taken and successfully passed at the Ph.D. level (exams are given in January and August each year).

Students have at times designated their own self-designed secondary field. A request along with a field description must be submitted for approval.

Form(s): Self-Designed Field Exam Request


C. Pre-prospectus meeting

Usually within six months of passing the primary field comprehensive exam, students should meet with their mentorship committee to discuss their idea or multiple ideas for the dissertation.

Students should write a short description of their proposed project(s) and submit a copy to Elaine Rudder (erudder [at] umd.edu).


D. Defense of dissertation prospectus

It is expected that at least 4 committee members must be in attendance for defense of the dissertation prosecptus, unless prior arrangements have been made with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.


Listing of Coursework for ABD Status

Prospectus Defense Planning Memo

Prospectus Defense Sign-Off Sheet


E. Research paper

The research paper is a paper of a size and quality sufficient to make it publishable as an article in a political science journal.

The procedure for the acceptance of the research paper mimics the procedures of refereed journals.

The paper can be a rewrite of a seminar paper, or in some way closely related to the student's dissertation. A student will not be admitted to candidacy without completing the research paper requirement.

Once a student's advisor has indicated support for submitting the paper, the student should email the field chair in their primary field with the paper and an indication of who the advisor is (the advisor will be excluded from being considered as a reviewer). Please also cc the Director of Graduate Studies.


Initial Review Sheet

Second Review Sheet


F. Candidacy

Once all of the above (A through E) has been completed you will Advance to Candidacy.

Form(s): Application for Advancement to Candidacy

Once you advance, you will be automatically registered by the Office of the Registrar every Fall and Spring semester for dissertation credits with your chair (GVPT899).

If the above is not accomplished within the five-year time frame, then a Request for Time Extension must be submitted.

Form(s): Request for Time Extension

If approved, this will give you from 3 months to a year to complete all requirements in order to Advance to Candidacy (ABD – all but dissertation).

The request should provide details to explain the delay and the case for more time must provide evidence to support the claim that remaining work will be completed within the time requested. You will also need a letter of support from your advisor.

After you have become ABD, you are given four additional years to write, defend the dissertation, complete revisions, submit, and graduate. Prior to holding the dissertation defense you must apply for graduation (online via Testudo) and officially nominate your dissertation committee.

Form(s): Nomination of Dissertation Committee

The committee consists of five people who are members of the University Graduate Faculty. At least three must be from the department. Your fifth member, the Dean’s Representative must be a tenured faculty member (Professor or Associate Professor) who is physically located here at UMCP but outside of the Department of Government and Politics.

From time-to-time students request that someone outside of the University of Maryland serve on his/her committee. This person must be officially nominated for Special Membership to the Graduate Faculty. This should be done in advance of submitting the official Nomination of Dissertation Committee.

Form(s): Nomination of non-UMD Committee Member


Other Helpful Information:


A. Travel

There are three opportunities for graduate students to receive travel funds in an effort to offset the cost of travelling to and presenting at academic conferences:

  • GVPT Departmental Travel Funds
  • Goldhaber Travel Funds 
  • International Conference Student Support Award (ICSSA)

See below for details on how to apply for each.


GVPT has revised the amounts provided to graduate students to be in line with the Goldhaber funding. 

Region 1:  U.S. East of the Mississippi River - $250

Region 2:  U.S West of the Mississippi River, Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico - $400

Region 3:  International - $600

GVPT graduate students are eligible to receive departmental travel funding once per year (fiscal year July 1 to June 30) for presenting papers at conferences. 

In order to receive this funding, students must fill out a request for funding BEFORE the trip. If you do not fill out a form prior to the trip, you will only be eligible to receive 50% of the above-mentioned amounts.

Form(s): GVPT Departmental Travel Funding Request

This form will allow you to upload the conference paper submission acceptance letter/email, as well as the approval email from your advisor.



The Goldhaber Award is a matching grant and requires that students secure funding from an internal (departmental funding) or external source (sponsored award) prior to submitting an application. 

Students may receive the Goldhaber Travel Funding twice during their graduate education at UMD; once before the achievement of candidacy and a second time after the achievement of candidacy (ABD status).

Application to the Goldhaber travel funds must be done in conjunction with application for the Departmental travel funds.

TIP:  Apply well in advance for the Goldhaber award as this is a pot of money dispersed campus-wide to grad students each semester. There is a finite amount of funding available each year and once it's been awarded, you'll need to wait until the following year to apply again.



The ICSSA pays the registration fee for conferences located outside of the United States. The maximum award is $500.

Applications and all supporting materials must be received in the Graduate School prior to the travel date. You must also send Elaine Rudder (erudder [at] umd.edu) a scanned copy of your application. 

These awards are reimbursement awards. You may request that the SMART Center pay this fee on your behalf - this is done through the TAR (Travel Approval Request). More on this down below. Otherwise, you will need to keep your receipt and submit for reimbursement upon your return.   

Application Process:

Once your request for funding has been approved, you will receive an email letting you know that you may now fill out a Travel Approval Request (TAR). A TAR is required for all travel that is paid for in part or in full by the University. 

The TAR can be found on the SMART Center's website:  https://bsos.umd.edu/faculty-staff/forms.  The KFS account number is 1115200.  Please only enter expenses totaling the maximum amount that you have been awarded.  Once the TAR has been approved, Stefanie will send you an email letting you know your trip number (you'll need this number when filling out the expense statement upon your return).  It is at this point that you may go ahead and finalize your travel arrangements.  If you would like the SMART Center to pay for expenses on your behalf (airfare, hotel reservations, conference registrations fees), please indicate this in the comment section when filling out the TAR.  If you would like the SMART Center to pay for your plane ticket you will need to use one of our travel agencies.  BSOS' preferred travel agency is Globetrotter and all information regarding the travel agencies and the procedures can be found on the SMART Center's webpage:  https://bsos.umd.edu/faculty-staff/links.  I also strongly recommend you review the travel tips and FAQ page as there is a lot of helpful information here: https://bsos.umd.edu/faculty-staff/travel-tips-and-faqs.  

Please keep in mind the following Department specific requirements:

Travel funds are intended for students who are traveling to scholarly, scientific, or professional conferences to present papers. 

In order to receive the travel funds, students must have either co-authored the paper with a faculty member or have presented the paper elsewhere at another conference or workshop, with preference given to those presenting at GVPT Field workshops.

Students are provided funds for one trip per fiscal year - you may not "carry forward" any unused amounts for future trips.

For additional information on the Goldhaber and International Conference Student Support Award, and for the link to the application, please visit the Graduate School Travel Grants Website:



B. M.A. Degree conferral

You are eligible to apply for the M.A. degree (non-thesis option) once you have completed 10 courses (transfer credits do not count) and have successfully passed one of the two required comprehensive exams.

1. You will need to apply for graduation via Testudo (this will not affect your status as a Ph.D. student).

2. Fill out an M.A. Approved Program Form (lists 10 courses you have taken that fulfill the M.A. requirements).

Form(s): M.A. Approved Program Form

3. Fill out a Certification of Non-thesis Option Form.

Form(s): Certification of Non-Thesis Option Form

Lists two papers that you have written that faculty approve and one comprehensive exam that you have passed).

Form(s): Certification of Masters Degree Without Thesis


C. Waiver of Regulation Form

Any time you have a special request (i.e., waiver of mandatory fees or request for anything to be done retroactive), you must submit a petition form.

Form(s): Petition for Waiver of Regulation

For waivers of mandatory fees: if you will be away from the university and not making any demands on the university then you can apply for a waiver of payment of mandatory fees. This must be done every semester that you are eligible for.

Please note: if you are defending the prospectus or defending the dissertation during this particular semester then you cannot petition for a waiver of fees. This should be done early as it takes at least six to eight weeks to clear.


D. Request for a Leave of Absence

Graduate students may request a Leave of Absence (which stops the time to degree clock) for up to 2 consecutive semesters for any of the following reasons: childbearing, adoption, illness, and dependent care (children, ill or injured partners, or aging parents).

Form(s): Request for Leave of Absence


E. Waiver of Continuous Registration

Pre-Candidacy students who plan to be away from the University and do not plan to graduate nor make use of any University resources (libraries, labs, recreation facilities, faculty time, etc.) are eligible for waiver of continuous registration for up to two semesters. Doctoral candidates (students who are ABD) are not eligible.

Form(s): Petition for Waiver of Continuous Registration


F. Request for Time Extension

Must be submitted prior to timing out of program either pre-candidacy or after becoming ABD. Extensions are limited. An explanation, Plan of Action and letter of support from advisor must be submitted.

Form(s): Request for Time Extension


G. Graduate Student Overload request

Students who are on Graduate Assistantships in order to work additional hours (overload) during either the Fall or Spring semester must fill out an overload request form. This should be done well in advance of scheduling additional work as it can take up to three weeks to be approved by the Graduate School and Main Administration. A student on funding can work no more than 10 overload hours per week during the semester (Fall and Spring).

Form(s): Graduate Student Overload Assignment Request