UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
September 19, 2014
Department of Political Science
RE: Public Policy Field Exam Results - August 2014
lam writing to officially conﬁrm that you received a passing grade of “A” in the Public Policy Field
Examination which, according to Graduate Ofﬁce Records, is your 2nd ﬁeld. Please accept my
congratulations on behalf of the Department and best wishes with the rest of your program. The graders
of your exam, Professors’ Bashevkin, Skogstad and Triadaﬁlopoulos, commented on your exam as
0 The three MFE essays are uniformly well written, and display a commendable ability to not only
grapple with the scholarly literature but also draw in relevant contemporary examples. Overall,
the exam text provides lucid and compelling responses to the questions as posed. Assessors
highlighted the nuanced treatment of stages versus conceptual frameworks approaches to teaching
public policy in question #1, and the comprehensive response to question #4 on explaining radical
versus incremental policy change. All three essays demonstrate the capacity to develop clear,
well-argued and persuasive lines of reasoning that thoughtfully draw on the relevant literature.
The MFE is, in short, an impressive effort that displays remarkable ﬂuency and breadth of
Enclosed is a brief outline of Departmental expectations regarding PhD program requirement completion.
I would advise that you also review the graduate supervision guidelines, on the School of Graduate
Studies website (http:f/www.sgs.utoronto.calinf0rmationfor/students/track/superv.htm), which will be
useful in planning the next phase of your work. If you need assistance with regard to the preparation of
your proposal, designation of a supervision committee, or completion of remaining degree requirements,
please feel he to be in touch.
Director of Graduate Studies
DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE
Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George St., Ofﬁce 3018.1'0r0nto, ON M55 3G3 Canada
Tel: +l 4H3 978-3343 ' Fax: +I 416 978-5566 ' wwwpoll:|cs.ntoronto.ca
Guidelines for the Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal in Political Science
The School of Graduate Studies requires all Ph.D. students to get approval for a dissertation proposal by
the end of their third year (fourth year for direct-entry). The department asks that you aim to submit it by
the end of year two or early in year three, in order to give you enough time to complete your degree
inside ﬁve years.
Although the proposal may seem daunting at first, you should keep in mind that it is not the end product
of your research, but simply the ﬁrst step on thejourney toward the completion of your dissertation
project. No one expects you to know the results of your research; rather, the proposal is your signal to
your committee that you have a clear idea of what you want to investigate and a plan of how to procceed.
We strongly recommend that you aim to have a supervisor in place early in the proposal writing process.
Your supervisor will clarify her/his expectations for the proposal, but in general a proposal should
contain the following components:
I The research question your dissertation will address.
I How that question is situated in the relevant literature. (In most cases, an extensive literature
review is NOT required. Rather, situating your question involves a discussion of how it
contributes to or builds on existing literature or responds to puzzles left unexplained or
unexplored. There is no need to identify and read everything that has already been written on
a The research design. (You-should discuss how the research will proceed and why the approach
you are taking is appropriate to address the question you want to address. This will vary quite a
bit depending on your topic, subﬁeld, and approach. As appropriate, you should address issues
such as your theoretical framework, text selection, and approach for textual interpretation, case
selection, hypotheses, and research methodology.)
A preliminary chapter breakdown.
A preliminary timetable for the completion of the research.
The entire proposal should be about 25 pages.
Beyond these general guidelines, you should consult your prospective advisor to discuss any further
expectations concerning the proposal and the initial stages of embarking upon your research. For
example, you should clarify what level of detail is expected and whether to include a bibliography
beyond the works cited in the proposal. Especially in political theory, many students ﬁnd it helpful to
construct an extensive bibliography of the relevant literature as a roadmap. This bibliography can be
attached to the end of the proposal and need not be already read.
Once you actually embark on your dissertation research, it is very common to modify your project. The
proposal does not need to be re-approved if this happens, unless the change is signiﬁcant enough to result
in change in composition of the thesis committee (and even then only if deemed necessary by the
supervisor and the Graduate Director). The proposal is simply to get you started. The dissertation is
where those modiﬁcations will appear.
If your research involves working with human subjects (e.g. interviews), you will need to apply for
ethical review through the University of Toronto’s Ofﬁce of Research Services. This process must be
completed before your thesis proposal is ﬁnally approved.