FAQ's for current students

How do I register for directed research/thesis/independent study?

For independent studies and internships, go here for the form

For directed research and thesis, go here for the form.

Is there any financial assistance available?

A limited number of graduate assistantships in the Department of Political Science are available each year to exceptionally qualified students. The number of political science assistantships will vary from year to year.

Students awarded these positions are required to work 20 hours per week assisting faculty members with research, teaching, or administrative projects. Compensation normally includes a monthly stipend, health benefits, and the remission of in-state tuition. Graduate Assistants are discouraged from seeking employment outside the University while they are fulfilling their duties. Graduate Assistants are prohibited from accepting other employment within the University unless the Dean of the Graduate School gives permission to do so.

There are also periodically graduate assistantships available through other units in the university, such as the Graduate School or the Anne Braden Institute. Students must contact those units directly to find out more about availability and qualifications for applying. The Department of Political Science is not involved with the awards of these assistantships.

I'm in the Accelerated Masters but cannot register for graduate seminars. Who should I contact?

Accelerated students need permission to enroll in graduate classes while they are still an undergraduate. Please contact the to get permission to enroll.

There is a hold on my account, who do I contact?

Please contact the registrar's office at (502) 852-6522 or .

Are there any open GA positions?

GA positions are available periodically. Please email Dr. Moyer to ask about availability. There may also be other GA positions on campus you may be able to apply for.

How often are core classes taught?

Core courses are taught on a rotating basis with each course taught at least once every two years. If a core course is offered and you have not taken it, you should register for it then. All of our core courses are taught in-person, online or hybrid versions are not available at this time.

What is the difference between the thesis and directed research?

  • Students who choose the non-thesis option must complete 33 hours of coursework and three hours of Directed Research (POLS 695). The directed research paper should be based on work the student has engaged in, in one or more graduate seminars. A directed research is usually an extension of a seminar paper. The length is usually 23-35 pages. Please refer to the graduate handbook (page 10) for more information.
  • Students who choose the thesis option must complete 24 hours of coursework and six hours of Thesis Guidance (POLS 699). The six hours of Thesis Guidance can be taken in one semester, usually the final semester of the student’s degree program, or divided across two semesters. The thesis should be an original contribution to the discipline, show an awareness of scholarly work relevant to the thesis topic, and employ methods appropriate to the development of an extended academic project. A thesis is typically between 60 and 85 pages in length and consists of multiple chapters. Please refer to the graduate handbook (page 7) for more information

What steps do I need to take to write a thesis?

Please refer page 8 of the graduate handbook for more information.

In addition, you should visit the Graduate School website for deadlines and instructions on thesis formatting and final submission. 

How do I apply for a grant?

GSC Research Grants

The Graduate Student Council has a fund intended to assist students who face expenses related to research, such as equipment costs, acquiring data sets, etc. If your department is "active" and you have an eligible need for the grant, you can receive up to $500 for your research endeavors to thrive. The Graduate Student Council will review and approve research grants. Please contact the department grad student representative to GSC for more information.

Dr. M. Celeste Nichols Award

This award is given to UofL graduate students for travel or other professional development needs apart from tuition or books. It is named in honor of M. Celeste Nichols, a student, scholar, mentor and professor. Winners are chosen according to how well their intended use of the award supports the mission of the Women’s Center and Dr. Nichols’ legacy.

For more information, see this link

Can I take summer classes?

While our department generally does not offer courses over the summer you can take a relevant elective from another department over the summer. You can also take an independent study, internship, directed research, or thesis if you can find a faculty member who will agree to supervise this course over the summer.

Can I take courses outside of political science?

Yes, you can take up to 6 credit hours outside of political science. Please consult with Dr. Moyer before registering for this elective so she can make sure the course is relevant to your program of study.

How many credit hours is a full-time course load?

A full-time course load is 9 credit hours per semester.

What do I need to do to graduate?

The most important thing is to make sure you apply for the degree. Degrees are awarded in August, December, and May. Candidates who expect to receive degrees on a particular award date must fill out a degree application online. The degree application process is available through ULink (ulink.louisville.edu). Students must submit their completed application for degrees to the Graduate School on or before the dates specified in the University calendar You must be enrolled in the semester that you plan to graduate. Please refer to this page on the first and last day you can apply to graduate.

Can I do an internship for course credit?

Yes! Students may take up to six hours of internship credit under the supervision of a faculty member. Note that the total number of credits received from internship credit and independent study credit may not exceed six hours. In particular, students may take six hours of internship credit, or three hours of internship credit and three hours of independent study credit.

See the department internship link for more information. Internships are also advertised through the Career Center’s Symplicity platform.

Can I take the Louisville Metro Internship (POLS 510) or Frankfort Internship (POLS 512) as a graduate student?

Yes, but some limitations apply, and students should consult with the Grad Advisor to confirm their eligibility. All grad students are limited to 6 hours of internships in 500-level classes. (Non-thesis students have the option of doing an internship as their directed research project and would register for POLS 695 to do that.) Thesis students may take only 6 total hours of 500-level classes (including 500-level internships), and non-thesis students may take only 9 total hours of 500-level classes (including 500-level internships). Please note that the deadline for applying for the fall Metro Louisville internship is April, and the deadline for applying for the spring Frankfort Legislative Internship is October.

If you took one/both of these courses as an undergraduate at U of L you can take them again as graduate students. Keep in mind that you will be doing extra work beyond the undergraduate requirements. If you are an accelerated student you can take 510/512 for graduate credit as long as you do the extra work required of graduate students.

Have a question you think should be added to this list? Contact us at ! We love hearing from our students and we want to make sure you have everything you need.

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