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UCF - Graduate Program Handbooks 2017-2018

Program Info

Last Updated 2016-04-29

Security Studies PhD

Together, the Graduate Student Handbook and your graduate program handbook should serve as your main guide throughout your graduate career. The Graduate Student Handbook includes university information, policies, requirements and guidance for all graduate students. Your program handbook describes the details about graduate study and requirements in your specific program. While both of these handbooks are wonderful resources, know that you are always welcome to talk with faculty and staff in your program and in the Graduate College.

The central activities and missions of a university rest upon the fundamental assumption that all members of the university community conduct themselves in accordance with a strict adherence to academic and scholarly integrity. As a graduate student and member of the university community, you are expected to display the highest standards of academic and personal integrity.

Here are some resources to help you better understand your responsibilities:


Welcome to the PhD program in Security Studies in the Department of Political Science at the University of Central Florida. The department is pleased and honored to offer an advanced graduate program with an emphasis in an area of extreme relevance not just for the United States, but the global community. Only few PhD programs in the country offer a degree with an emphasis on national and international security. The program aims to prepare students for careers in the academic world, but also for positions with governmental and private sector agencies that specialize on security issues. 

The Department of Political Science offers a rigorous program for students with a master’s program pursuing a PhD degree. It includes rigorous training for students interested in national security, international affairs, world politics, and transnational problems. The program emphasizes considerable flexibility in terms of the theoretical diversity and intellectual breadth that characterizes security studies. Students will be confronted with traditional theoretical approaches to international security such as realism and traditional topics such as the causes of war, terrorism, and political violence, but they will also be trained in the use of more recent theories such as social constructivism, feminism, and critical theory, and in “new” security issues such as the environment, genocide, poverty and inequality, economic security, and the global spread of epidemics such as AIDS. International security scholars today offer a broad range of theoretical approaches to a variety of traditional and non-traditional issues, and the program is designed to reflect this diversity in its course offerings. That diversity is also reflected in its broad theoretical and methodological eclecticism; students will be trained in both quantitative and qualitative methods, for instance, as appropriate to their chosen emphasis within security studies. The program is designed to ensure that students graduate with a full range of theoretical tools and methodological skills. 

As a PhD student, you will learn from the existing research conducted by others, but you will also contribute to the existing scholarship by pursuing your own research. The departmental graduate coordinator, your dissertation advisor, the department chair, and other offices at UCF will help you in this endeavor. As a student, you will be responsible for being an active member of the department, acting according to professional standards and ethics, and for actively pursuing and taking charge of your graduate education. You will be expected to do well in the courses you take, but also to take full advantage of professional development opportunities offered by the department. You will have to make sure that you are on track with the program requirements. If you encounter any problems, do not hesitate to bring these to the attention of the graduate coordinator, dissertation advisor, or department chair – they are always available to help you. 

Again, welcome to the PhD program in Security Studies, 

Dr. Kerstin Hamann
Professor and Chair 


Advising and Mentoring

Advising and mentoring are two very important elements in a graduate student’s career, and it is essential that appropriate advising, supervision, and mentoring be provided to students as soon as they begin the program. PhD students typically receive guidance from two advisors with distinct roles. The program advisor provides guidance on overall academic requirements, and program and university policies and procedures, while the PhD thesis advisor serves more as a mentor providing guidance on research, professional guidance and socialization, and other areas of academic and professional interest.

The PhD Program Advisor and Dissertation Chair

The departmental PhD Program Director serves as the program advisor for all graduate students during their first year in the program, until the formation of their Pre-dissertation Advisory Committee. The program advisor helps students identify which courses to enroll in during their second semester, advises them on their program of study, and is responsible for all program-related matters. The program advisor is the only one who can authorize course substitutions or any other exceptions to the program of study as specified in the graduate catalog. The program advisor needs to be consulted prior to students planning their comprehensive exams and needs to sign all forms relating to completion of the program, such as the Intent to Graduate form. The program advisor needs to be consulted to ensure that the student progresses appropriately through the program of study.

The pre-dissertation and dissertation chairs supervise the student’s progress towards completion of the PhD dissertation, discusses the research necessary to complete the dissertation, and may also be involved in mentoring the student’s professional development, for example through attendance at professional conferences. In many ways, the thesis chair serves as the intellectual mentor to the student. Students must select a thesis chair from the departmental faculty; the PhD Program Director can assist them in identifying an appropriate thesis chair if the student so chooses. Generally, dissertation chairs have substantive expertise in the area that the student will write the thesis on. It is a good idea to think about potential dissertation topics and chairs during their first year in the program.

In some circumstances, the selected dissertation chair may find it impossible to see the student through to completion of the dissertation. In that case, the student, with the help of the PhD Program Director, may select a different dissertation chair.

Degree Requirements

The PhD program admits students who have completed a Master‘s degree in Political Science, International Studies, or a related field, ensuring that admitted students will have a solid grounding in mainstream political science or international relations and are well prepared to take on the more specialized coursework and research required for a PhD in Security Studies. Students admitted to the program complete 62 hours of course work beyond the Master‘s degree, including dissertation research, to obtain a PhD in Security Studies.

The course work consists of 15 hours of required core classes on issues and theories of security studies as well as advanced quantitative and qualitative research methods; 15 hours of restricted electives in courses on security; 12 hours of unrestricted electives, which can include up to 6 hours of internship credit; and a minimum of 18 hours of dissertation research. In addition, students are required to complete two 1-credit hour professional development courses that will prepare them for a career in academic and non-academic environments, including questions of research ethics in the field, grant proposal preparation, and teaching preparedness. Student progress is assessed through annual reviews, an oral qualifying exam at the end of the first year, a written candidacy exam prior to enrollment into dissertation hours, an oral defense of the dissertation proposal, and an oral defense of the dissertation.

Admission Requirements

The admission requirements for the proposed degree are consistent with most PhD programs. Admissions will only be made for students starting in the fall semester. Students must have an earned Master‘s degree or its equivalent in Political Science, International Politics or International Relations, or related discipline with at least 30 hours of Master‘s level work (including both course work and thesis hours).The Graduate Program Director will evaluate the suitability and applicability of MA degrees in other disciplines for admission purposes. Students must have:

  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 for all Master‘s level work completed;
  • A competitive score on each of the quantitative and verbal sections of the Graduate Record Examination taken within three years prior to admission to the program;
  • Three letters of reference that evaluate the applicant‘s academic performance and their suitability and potential for undertaking doctoral study, at least one of which must be written by a faculty member at the institution where the master‘s degree was earned, preferably the thesis advisor for those applicants who wrote a master‘s thesis;
  • A personal statement of 200-300 words describing the applicant‘s academic and professional experience and goals;
  • A writing sample of the applicant‘s work that is at least 2500 words long and demonstrates ability to complete graduate-level research;
  • International applicants whose first language is not English are required to submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or other equivalent test approved by the Graduate College, unless they hold a degree from a U.S. accredited institution. The TOEFL is strongly preferred. The minimum TOEFL score for full admissions consideration is 90 on the Internet-based test (IBT), 232 on the computer-based test, or 575 on the paper-based test. The minimum IELTS score is 7.0. Applicants should plan to take the appropriate test no later than December to ensure consideration of their applications by the January 1 deadline.

Graduation Requirements

The PhD degree consists of 62 hours beyond the master‘s degree. Graduation requirements are as follows:

  • Fifteen hours of required core course work;
  • An oral qualifying exam;
  • Completion of two required professional development seminars;
  • 15 hours of restricted electives;
  • 12 hours of unrestricted electives;
  • A written candidacy exam;
  • Competency in one modern language (four semesters college-level);
  • A dissertation proposal hearing;
  • 18 hours of dissertation work;
  • Participation in mentoring, advising, and professional development opportunities, and completion and defense of dissertation

Annual Academic Review of Doctoral Students

Each student‘s academic progress is evaluated annually by the department‘s Doctoral Program Committee, which receives input from the student‘s faculty advisor, faculty with whom the student has taken courses, and, once the student is enrolled in dissertation hours, the student‘s dissertation advisor. The review will be conducted toward the end of the spring semester, thereby permitting appropriate academic planning for the following academic year. The Doctoral Program Committee will communicate the annual academic evaluation to the student in writing. The review will include:

  1. Review of the student's academic record including
    • checking the overall grade point average
    • addressing any incomplete or withdrawn courses;
    • monitoring overall progress toward completing the course work phase of the program.
  2. Checking on progress in completing or preparing for the candidacy exam.
  3. Planning for a timely defense of the dissertation research proposal or prospectus.
  4. Monitoring adequate progress in research including timeliness of degree completion
  5. Assessing participation in those events and activities pertinent to the socialization and professional development of the student.
  6. The Oral qualifying Exam, given at the end of the first year (see below) will be a part of each student's first annual academic review.

Program of Study

After formation of the Pre-dissertation Advisory Committee the chair of the committee serves as the student’s faculty advisor, until the formation of the Dissertation Advisory Committee. After formation of the Pre-dissertation Advisory Committee the student and advisor must design a Program of Study that will serve as an individualized guide through the program. The Program of Study includes the student’s primary area of interest, skill levels attained, required elective preferences, and long-range goals. Faculty will use student plans of study to determine future curriculum needs for courses and research resources. The Program of Study will be used to make suggestions and recommendations to facilitate the socialization and professional development of new doctoral students in the program.

General Policies

Student Rights and Responsibilities

The Golden Rule is provided to answer any questions a student may have about the university rules and regulations, as well as outlines a student’s rights and responsibilities. The Golden Rule can be found online at In addition, graduate students can find additional information about their responsibilities in the Graduate Catalog, found online at in the section marked Policies > General Policies. For more information about college and university graduate policies, see also: Political Science Program Website:

College of Sciences Graduate Website

Satisfactory Academic Performance

Satisfactory performance involves maintaining the standards of academic progress and professional integrity expected in a particular discipline or program. Failure to maintain these standards may result in termination of the student from the program. If the student is in violation of any of the rules of professional integrity, the Graduate Committee can make a recommendation to the College of Sciences to revert the student to non-degree status. The university requires that students must maintain a graduate status GPA of at least 3.0 or higher in order to maintain graduate student status, receive financial assistance, and qualify for graduation. The graduate status GPA is the cumulative GPA of graduate courses taken since admission to the degree program. This graduation requirement for a minimum 3.0 GPA in all graduate courses completed since admission into the graduate program cannot be waived. The policy can be found at > General Policies > Academic Progress and Performance. Students are also required to maintain a 3.00 GPA in all coursework included in the program of study. Be aware that a B- (2.75) does negatively impact a GPA. While students are allowed to have six hours of C (2.00) grades or lower (including U and I) in their program of study, this is the limit. Grades of D+ and lower will count against the graduate GPA and those courses cannot be used toward completion of the degree requirements. 

A program or graduate status GPA below 3.00 at the end of any semester will result in a student being placed on probation. The student is given the next nine hours of their program coursework to improve their GPA to 3.00 or better. While in this status, a student is eligible for tuition support and employment in a graduate position; however, the program may discontinue either of these until the student resolves their status. Exceeding 6 hours of C or lower grades or a program GPA or 2.00 or lower may result in dismissal from the program. The program of study must include at least  72 credit hours of post-baccalaureate, minimum 42 credits of graduate course work and at least half of the credits in the  program of study must be at the 6000 or 7000-level. For a full description of course requirements for a doctoral program refer to the section on Course Requirements in the most current graduate catalog at > Doctoral Program Policies > Course Requirements. 

Satisfactory Academic Progress

For completion of the degree, courses older than seven years cannot be applied toward a graduate program of study. In order to allow courses older than seven to be applied toward the program of study, the student must file a petition. 

Full Time and Continuous Enrollment

Full-time graduate status is nine (9) hours during the Fall and Spring Semesters and six (6) hours during the summer semesters, until regular program course work is completed. Students who have completed all of their course requirements and are enrolled into three hours of thesis are considered full-time for fellowship, employment and tuition waiver purposes. Once a student has begun work on their thesis, he or she must be continuously enrolled in thesis course work. Requirements that need to be met for federal loan eligibility override graduate full-time requirements. A student may be held to other enrollment requirements, as defined by financial awards, veteran status, employment, or other outside agencies. For further information, refer to the section on Full-time Enrollment at the UCF Graduate Catalog: > General Policies > Full- time Enrollment Requirements

Seven-Year Rule

The student has seven years from the date of admission (prerequisite, articulation, and foundation courses are exempt) to the doctoral program to complete the degree. For more details, refer to the section on Time Limitation for Degree Completion in the most current catalog at> Doctoral Program Policies > Time Limitation and Continuous Enrollment.

Transfer Coursework

All transfer coursework must be at the graduate level, have a grade of B- or better, and must be approved by the PhD Program Director. Transfer coursework is limited to 9 hours. For more details transfer coursework, refer to the section on Transfer of Credit in the most current catalog at > Doctoral Program Policies > Course Requirements > Transfer of Credits.

Incomplete Grades

An Incomplete grade may be assigned when a student is unable to complete a course due to extenuating circumstances and when all requirements can clearly be completed within a reasonable time. For more details, refer to the section on Incomplete Grades in the most current catalog at > General Graduate Policies > Academic Progress and Performance > Incomplete Grades. 

Incomplete grades are not counted as satisfactorily completed courses and are not recognized as such by Graduate Studies for fellowship purposes nor by Financial Aid. Students on financial assistance must check with the Financial Aid office to see if the receipt of an incomplete grade will affect their financial award.

Withdrawal Policy

If a student decides to withdraw from a course, they must do so by the semester’s withdrawal deadline. In doing so, the student is still liable for tuition and fees for the course.

For a semester’s withdrawal deadline, refer to the Academic Calendar:

Petitions and Grievances

It is the student’s responsibility to be informed of graduate policies and procedures; however, should a student wish to request an exception to a university or program policy, he or she must file a petition that outlines the nature of their request. Normally, petitions are presented to the graduate program’s coordinator and/or committee, the college’s Director of Graduate Services and the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, and the Graduate Council for consideration. Should a student wish to file a grievance, he or she should first review UCF’s Golden Rule ( and the Academic Grievance Procedures in the Graduate Catalog ( > Academic Grievance Procedure.


The PhD degree consists of 62 credit hours beyond the master‘s degree. A master‘s degree is required for admission to the program with at least 30 credit hours of master‘s level work (including both course work and thesis hours). The 62 credit hours consist of 17 credit hours of required courses, 15 credit hours of restricted electives, 12 hours of unrestricted electives (including courses offered in other departments, research, independent study, and internship), and a minimum of 18 credit hours of dissertation work


Required Courses—17 Credit Hours

Core Courses—15 Credit Hours

  • INR 7687 Theoretical Approaches to Security Studies (3 credit hours)
  • INR 7139 Issues in Domestic Security (3 credit hours)
  • INR 7337 Issues in International Security (3 credit hours)
  • POS 7745 Advanced Quantitative Methods in Political Research (3 credit hours)
  • POS 7707 Advanced Qualitative Methods in Political Research (3 credit hours)

Professional Development Courses—2 Credit Hours

  • POS 7930 Professional Development in Security Studies I (1 credit hour)
  • POS 7267 Professional Development in Security Studies II (1 credit hour)

Elective Courses—27 Credit Hours

Restricted Electives—15 Credit Hours

All students in the doctoral program must complete a minimum of 15 hours of course work in approved restricted elective graduate   seminars. The choice of specific courses will be based on the research interests of students and made in conjunction with their faculty advisor. In this way, students achieve two distinct but related goals: a broad competence in the variety of methodological, theoretical, and substantive approaches to security studies and advanced proficiency in the areas that are most germane to their research interests. Approved restricted electives include:

  • CPO 6038 Political Development (3 credit hours)
  • CPO 6058 Revolution and Political Violence (3 credit hours)
  • CPO 6307 Issues in Latin American Politics (3 credit hours)
  • CPO 6729 Global Security in the Age of Migration (3 credit hours)
  • CPO 6776 Comparative Rising Powers (3 credit hours)
  • CPO 6785 Political and Economic Inequality in Comparative Perspective (3 credit hours)
  • INR 6062 Peace Studies (3 credit hours)
  • INR 6065 Seminar on War (3 credits)
  • INR 6067 Human Rights and Security (3 credit hours)
  • INR 6068 Politics of Civil Wars (3 credit hours)
  • INR 6096 International Drug Policy (3 credit hours)
  • INR 6136 Seminar in American Security Policy (3 credit hours)
  • INR 6137 Terrorism and Politics (3 credit hours)
  • INR 6108 Seminar in American Foreign Policy (3 credit hours)
  • INR 6228 International Politics of the Caspian Sea Region (3 credit hours)
  • INR 6275 International Politics of the Middle East (3 credit hours)
  • INR 6339 Strategic Warning Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • INR 6346 Politics of International Terrorism (3 credit hours)
  • INR 6356 Environmental Security (3 credit hours)
  • INR 6365 Seminar on Intelligence (3 credit hours)
  • INR 6366 The Intelligence Community (3 credit hours)
  • POS 6686 National Security Law (3 credit hours)
  • INR 6726 Political Behavior in International Conflict (3 credit hours) 
  • POS 6743 Geographic Tools for Political Science Research ( 3 credit hours)
  • POS 6747 Advanced Topics in Quantitative Political Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • POS 6938 Special Topics/Political Analysis (3 credit hours)

Unrestricted Electives—12 Credit Hours

The unrestricted electives provide students with an opportunity to further expand their doctoral training beyond the program's core courses and the restricted electives. Unrestricted electives may include regularly scheduled graduate courses in political science, graduate-level courses in programs outside the department, independent study courses, doctoral research courses with a highly focused student/faculty research component, and internships that enable students to gain valuable experience in a non-academic setting. Unrestricted electives may be taken at any point in the student's program of study; however, no more than a total of twelve hours of graduate course work can be from outside of the department, dissertation research, independent study, or internship combined; in addition, no more than a total of six hours can be from either independent study or internship. Students with suitable academic backgrounds may work in areas such as cyber security or science and technology taking courses in relevant departments. A student's faculty advisor and the department's Graduate Program Director must approve all graduate courses taken outside of the department as well as any internships.  

    Modern Language or Methods Requirement

    Prior to enrollment in dissertation hours, students are required to demonstrate proficiency in one modern language (other than English) or an additional methodological course dependent on the student's intended research area. The language requirement is two years (four semesters) of a single college-level modern language, which should normally be in an area relevant to the student's research. Students may meet the requirement by providing evidence of four semesters of enrollment or by passing a university-administered equivalent proficiency examination. The methods requirement is met by taking a methods course as part of the elective course requirements, with the approval of the Graduate Program Director. 

    Dissertation—Minimum of 18 Credit Hours

    The dissertation is the culmination of the course work that comprises this research-based degree. It must make a significant theoretical, historical, intellectual, practical, creative, or research contribution to the student‘s area within the discipline. The dissertation will be completed through a minimum of 18 hours of dissertation credit, which students will use to accomplish original research. Students must maintain enrollment in dissertation hours until the degree is awarded.

    • POS 7980 Dissertation Research (18 credit hours) 

    Oral Qualifying Examination 

    The oral qualifying examination is given at the end of the semester in which core course work is completed. It will examine students on theoretical, epistemological, and methodological literature and issues from the five required core courses, although the scope of the examination is not limited to topics covered in the seminars. The exam is administered by the student's Pre-dissertation Advisory Committee, which will advise the student until it is replaced by the Dissertation Advisory Committee. It is up to the student to arrange the make-up of their Pre-dissertation Advisory Committee and schedule the oral qualifying exam before the end of May of their first year in the program. The oral qualifying examination evaluates students' preparation in subjects that are considered to be an essential foundation for their continued doctoral study and research in the program. Any student failing the examination must repeat the examination prior to the start of the next fall semester. A second failed attempt will result in dismissal from the program. The oral qualifying exam will also serve as part of the student‘s annual academic review for the first year of study. 

    Written Candidacy Exams 

    Each student will take two exams on separate days. The first exam will be in research methods. The content of this exam will be uniform for each matriculating class of students. The second exam will be a special field in Security Studies, devised by the student in consultation with his or her Dissertation Advisory Committee. The special field may be geographic or thematic in focus, reflecting the research interests of the student. Both examinations will be used to determine the student's knowledge of theory, methods, and past and present research in their chosen areas. Students failing the comprehensive examination may retake the exam one time. If the exam is failed a second time, the student will be dismissed from the program.

    A student must notify the Graduate Program Director in writing of their intent to take candidacy exams at least one month before the date fixed for examination. The exam must be successfully completed prior to enrollment in dissertation hours.

    Admission to Candidacy 

    The following are required to be admitted to candidacy and enroll in dissertation hours: 

    • Completion of all course work, except for dissertation hours
    • Successful completion of the oral candidacy exam
    • Successful completion of the written candidacy exams
    • Formation of a dissertation advisory committee
    • Submittal of an approved program of study 

    Equipment Fee

    Full-time students in the Security Studies PhD pay $39 per semester for equipment each semester that they are enrolled. Part-time students pay $19.50 per semester.

    Timeline for Completion

    Year 1

    • POS 7707 Advance Qualitative Methods of Political Research (3 credit hours)
    • POS 7745 Advanced Quantitative Methods of Political Research (3 credit hours)
    • INR 7687 Theoretical Approaches to Security Studies (3 credit hours)
    • INR 7139 Issues in Domestic Security (3 credit hours)
    • INR 7337 Issues in International Security (3 credit hours)
    • POS 7930 Professional Development: Academic Careers in Security Studies or POS 7627 Professional Development: the Practice of Security Studies (1 credit hour)
    • Restricted Elective (3 credit hours)
    Pre-dissertation Advisory Committee and Oral Qualifying Examination Form must be submitted by the first Friday in April. Student must schedule his or her Oral Qualifying Exam no later than May 31
    • Restricted Elective (3 credit hours)
    • Unrestricted Elective (3 credit hours)
    Written Candidacy Methods Exams in August.
    Semester Total: 9 credit hoursSemester Total: 10 credit hoursSemester Total: 6 credit hours

    Year 2

    • Restricted elective  (3 credit hours)
    • Restricted elective  (3 credit hours)
    • Unrestricted elective  (3 credit hours)
    • POS 7930 Professional Development: Academic Careers in Security Studies or POS 7627 Professional Development: the Practice of Security Studies (1 credit hour)
    • Electives (9 credit hours)

    Written Candidacy Field Area Examination form must be submitted by the first Friday in March. Student must schedule his or her pre- Written Candidacy Field Area Examination meeting no later than April 30.

    Written Candidacy Field Exams in May.

    Foreign language requirement must be met prior to enrollment in dissertation hours.

    Students who have completed all of their course requirements are considered full-time for fellowship, employment and tuition waiver purposes if they are enrolled into 3 hours of independent study or directed research.

    Students who have not completed all of their course requirements are considered full-time for fellowship, employment and tuition waiver purposes if they are enrolled into 6 hours of course work, independent study, or directed research.

      Semester Total: 9 credit hoursSemester Total: 10 credit hours 

      Year 3

      • Dissertation hours (9 credit hours)
      • Dissertation hours (9 credit hours
      Dissertation completion and defense
      Semester Total: 9 credit hoursSemester Total: 9 credit hours

      Please refer to the Graduate Catalog for a complete list of restricted and unrestricted electives.

      Security Studies Program People

      Contact Information

      Department of Political Science
      University of Central Florida
      Howard Phillips Hall 302
      Orlando, FL 32816-1356
      Phone: 407-823-2608
      Fax: 407-823-0051

      Kerstin Hamann, PhD
      Department Chair

      Michael Mousseau, PhD, Graduate Program Director (MA and PhD)

      Camille Kelly
      Graduate Program Assistant
      (contracts, comprehensive exams, general questions)

      Anjella Warnshuis
      Coordinator, Administrative Assistant
      (timecards and payroll for Graduate Assistants) 

      Graduate Faculty

      The following faculty members are available to teach and supervise you throughout your
      graduate career:


      Terri Fine, PhD University of Connecticut
      Research Areas: American, Minorities in American Politics

      Kerstin Hamann, PhD Washington University
      Research Areas: Western Europe, Spain, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

      Roger Handberg, PhD University of North Carolina
      Research Areas: Pre-Law, Judicial, Space/Defense/Security Policy

      Peter Jacques, PhD Northern Arizona University
      Research Areas: Environmental, Internships

      Michael Mousseau., PhD. Binghamton University
      Research Areas: Causes of War and Peace

      Philip Pollock, PhD University of Minnesota
      Research Areas: Methods, American, Elections

      Mark Schafer, PhD Arizona State University
      Research Areas: International, Political Psychology

      Bruce Wilson, PhD Washington University
      Research Areas: Comparative, Judicial, Latin America

      Associate Professors

      Martin Dupuis, PhD University of Southern California

      Aubrey Jewett, PhD Florida State University
      Research Areas: American, State and Local

      Myunghee Kim, PhD Binghamton University
      Research Areas: Comparative, Asia

      Barbara Kinsey, PhD Washington University
      Research Areas: Comparative, Research Methods

      Jonathan Knuckey, PhD University of New Orleans
      Research Areas: American, Methods, Southern Politics

      Drew Lanier, PhD, JD University of North Texas
      Research Areas: Judicial, Presidency, Pre-Law, Methods

      Eric Merriam, JD, University of Virginia; LL.M., George Washington University
      Research Areas: National security law and constitutional law

      Houman Sadri, PhD University of Virginia
      Research Areas: International, Middle East, Caspian Sea

      Gunes Tezcur, PhD, University of Michigan, 2005
      Jalal Talabani Chair of Kurdish Political Studies
      Research Areas: Kurdish politics; Middle East; Comparative Politics

      Assistant Professors

      Andrew Boutton, PhD, Pennsylvania State University
      Research Areas: International, War and Conflict, Counterterrorism

      Thomas Dolan, PhD Ohio State University
      Research Areas: International, War and Conflict

      Nathan Ilderton, PhD  Texas A&M University
      Research Areas: Judicial, American, Presidency

      Kyungkook Kang, PhD Claremont Graduate University
      Research Areas: International Relations, Political Economy, Formal and Computational Modeling

      Nickola Mirilovic, PhD University of Chicago
      Research Areas: Comparative, International, Asia

      Demet Mousseau, PhD Binghamton University
      Research Areas: Comparative and International Politics, Global Human Rights and Democracy

      Jonathan Powell, PhD University of Kentucky
      Research Areas: Civil-Military Relations with regional interests in Africa and the Middle East

      Andrea Vieux, PhD University of Kansas
      Research Areas: American, Public and Education Policy, Political Behavior, State & Local

      Associate Lecturers

      Anca Turcu, PhD University of Texas-Dallas
      Research Areas: Comparative, Immigration

      Daniel Marien, PhD The New School for Social Research
      Research Areas: American Politics and Political Theory



      Robert Bledsoe, PhD, Professor Emeritus University of Florida
      Research Areas: International Law, Geography, Pre-Law

      Barry Edwards, PhD University of Georgia
      Research Areas: American Politics, Public Law, Research Methodology

      Joseph Paul Vasquez, PhD University of Notre Dame
      Research Areas: International, War and Conflict

      Dissertation Requirements

      University Dissertation Requirements

      The College of Graduate Studies Thesis and Dissertation page contains information on the university’s requirements for dissertation formatting, format review, defenses, final submission, and more. A step-by-step completion guide is also available at Completing Your Thesis or Dissertation.

      All university deadlines are listed in the Academic Calendar. Your program or college may have other earlier deadlines; please check with your program and college staff for additional deadlines.

      The following requirements must be met by dissertation students in their final term:

      • Submit a properly formatted file for initial format review by the format review deadline
      • Submit the Thesis and Dissertation Release Option form well before the defense
      • Defend by the defense deadline
      • Receive format approval (if not granted upon initial review)
      • Submit signed approval form by final submission deadline
      • Submit final dissertation document by final submission deadline

      Students must format their dissertation according to the standards outlined at Formatting the ETD. Formatting questions or issues can be submitted to the Format Help page in the Thesis and Dissertation Services site. Format reviews and final submission must be completed in the Thesis and Dissertation Services site. The Dissertation Approval Form is also available in the Thesis and Dissertation Services site.

      The College of Graduate Studies offers several thesis and dissertation Workshops each term. Students are highly encouraged to attend these workshops early in the dissertation process to fully understand the above policies and procedures.

      The College of Graduate Studies thesis and dissertation office is best reached by email at

      Dissertation Advisory Committee

      It is the responsibility of the student to secure qualified members of their dissertation committee. The dissertation committee consists of a minimum of four members who are approved members of the Graduate Faculty or Graduate Faculty Scholars. At least three members must be Graduate Faculty, one of whom must serve as the chair of the committee. One member must be from either outside the student’s department at UCF or outside the university. Graduate Faculty members must form the majority of any given committee. A dissertation committee must be formed prior to enrollment into dissertation hours.

      Dissertation Proposal Hearing

      The purpose of the dissertation proposal hearing is to explain the subject under investigation, place it within the existing scholarly literature, and present the planned approach for writing the dissertation. The proposal hearing takes place in the first semester a student is enrolled into dissertation hours; therefore, students may not schedule a proposal hearing with their dissertation committee until they have completed all coursework and exams in their program of study. Students work with their dissertation committee to develop and refine the proposal. Students will present the dissertation proposal in a seminar open to the university community. Immediately after this defense, the student’s Dissertation Committee will meet to decide whether the student passed the proposal hearing. A student who passes the proposal hearing then begins the actual research and writing of the doctoral dissertation.

      Dissertation (minimum 18 hours)

      The dissertation is the culmination of the course work that comprises this research-based degree. It must make a significant theoretical, historical, intellectual, practical, creative, or research contribution to the student’s area within the discipline. The dissertation will be completed through a minimum of 18 hours of dissertation credit, which students will use to accomplish original research. Students must maintain enrollment in dissertation hours until the degree is awarded. Students must successfully defend their completed dissertation in an oral examination, which takes place in an open seminar. Defense dates for the completed dissertation should be set during the first week of the semester in which the defense will take place. This date must be approved by both the student’s advisory committee and the Graduate Program Director. Each chapter of the dissertation should be distributed to committee members in a timely fashion. The full dissertation manuscript must be submitted to all committee members at least thirty days before the scheduled defense. The final dissertation must be approved by a majority of the committee. Further approval is required from the Deans of the College of Sciences and of the College of Graduate Studies before final acceptance of the dissertation in fulfilling degree requirements.

      Graduate Research

      Students are strongly encouraged to attend professional development opportunities offered at UCF, such as the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning’s GTA workshops, which all students can apply for regardless of whether or not they receive an assistantship (for information, see

      Students are encouraged to present their research at UCF’s Graduate Research Forum during the Student Research Week, generally held in March or April. For more information on the Graduate Research Forum visit or Student Research Week and

      If students do truly outstanding work on a research project, their advisor or instructor for the course might encourage them to submit their paper to a professional conference. Applying for a conference and finalizing a conference paper should be done in close consultation with the project advisor or course instructor. However, conference presentations are not part of the degree plan of study.

      Students are bound by UCF’s Golden Rule (see, which contains Student Rights and Responsibilities including regulations on academic honesty, plagiarism, and codes of conduct. If a student is found to be engaged in plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty, this can result in dismissal from the program.

      Graduate students are encouraged to take advantage of the workshops on thesis and dissertation formatting, library research, and other workshops organized by the Graduate Student Association (see

      Travel Support

      The College of Graduate Studies offers a Graduate Travel Award that provides funding for master's, specialist, and doctoral students to deliver a research paper or comparable creative activity at a professional meeting. Students must be the primary author and presenter. More information can be found on the Graduate Funding website Current Students Financial Matters

      Graduate Student Travel Funding is available to pay transportation expenses for MA and PhD students who are delivering a research paper or comparable creative activity at a professional meeting. Contact the Student Government Association at 407-823-5648 or at for more information.

      Human Subjects

      If the student chooses to conduct research that involves human subjects (i.e. surveys, interviews, etc.), he or she must gain Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval prior to beginning the study. For access to the IRB submission form and sample consent forms, please visit the Office of Research website: > Compliance > UCF IRB Webpage > UCF-IRB Principal Investigator’s Manual

      If the student chooses to conduct research that involves animal subjects, he or she must gain Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval prior to beginning the study. For access to the IACUC submission forms, please visit the Office or Research website: www.research.ucf.eduCompliance > UCF IACUC Webpage > Animal Use Approval Form

      If you have questions regarding human or animal subjects, please contact an IRB Coordinator, at (407) 823-2901.

      Ethics in Research

      Researchers in every discipline have a responsibility for ethical awareness as the status of the profession rests with each individual researcher. It is important to be honest and ethical in conducting research as well as in taking classes. The ethical collection and use of information includes, but is by no means limited to, the following: confidentiality, accuracy, relevance, self-responsibility, honesty, and awareness of conflict of interest. The University of Arizona’s Code of Research Ethics provides our students with guidelines for responsible practice in research. This code of ethics can be found here:

      Patent and Invention Policy

      UCF has three fundamental responsibilities with regard to graduate student research. They are to (1) support an academic environment that stimulates the spirit of inquiry, (2) develop the intellectual property stemming from research, and to (3) disseminate the intellectual property to the general public. UCF owns the intellectual property developed using university resources. The graduate student as inventor will according to this policy share in the proceeds of the invention.

      The full policy is available online from the Graduate Catalog: > Policies > General Policies > Patent and Invention Policy.

      Financial Support

      Students accepted into the PhD program will receive financial support through a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA). The GTA award will consist of a tuition waiver and stipend covering fall, spring and summer semesters. GTAs will work 20 hours per week. In the first year they will be available to assist instructors. In their second and third years PhD students will be able to teach their own courses as instructors of record. The availability of further research assistantships depends on the receipt of faculty grants. In addition, graduate students are encouraged to apply for UCF fellowships. 

      Assistantships and Tuition Waivers

      For complete information about university assistantships and tuition waivers, please see the UCF Graduate > Financial Information.

      To be employed and to maintain employment in a graduate position, the student must be enrolled full-time and meet all of the training requirements and/or conditions of employment. To be awarded and continue receipt of a tuition waiver, the student must be enrolled full time and either employed in a graduate position (GTA, GRA, GA), receiving a University fellowship, or (if employed off-campus) employed in a position where payment is processed through Graduate Studies. Masters students can be offered tuition support for a maximum of four semesters excluding summer semesters.

      GTA Training Requirements

      If the student is hired in the position of Graduate Teaching Associate, Assistant or Graders, there are training requirements that must be met in order for the contract to be processed. Associates and Assistants must complete a minimum two-day training and an online GTA Policies and Procedures Module. Associates must also have completed at least 18 hours of graduate courses in the discipline they will be teaching. Students who are employed as Graders are required to complete the online legal module. These services are offered by the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning (FCTL) and more information can be found at the following website: > Events > GTA Programs. More information about the requirements is available at

      International students who will be hired in GTA positions must be proficient at speaking English. This is determined by successfully passing the SPEAK test with a score of 55 or better. This test (also known as the Oral Proficiency Exam) is administered during the GTA orientation by the Center for Multicultural and Multilingual Services (CMMS). For international student to register for or inquire about the SPEAK examination, please contact CMMS: (407) 823 5515.

      GTA Performance Assessment

      At the completion of each semester the student is employed as a GTA, the student’s performance will be evaluated by the faculty advisor. These assessments will be used to review strengths and weaknesses in the student’s performance in preparation for future employment.

      Graduate Student Associations

      The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is UCF's graduate organization committed to enrich graduate students' personal, educational and professional experience. To learn more or get involved, please visit For individual department or graduate program organizations, please see program advisor.

      Professional Development

      Graduate students in the PhD program will generally serve as Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) for at least two semesters. Most students are given the opportunity to teach their own courses after the first year.

      In addition, students will be required to complete two 1-credit hour professional development courses that will prepare them for a career in academic and non-academic environments, including questions of research ethics in the field, grant proposal preparation, and teaching preparedness.

      Instructor Training and Development

      The Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning (FCTL) promotes excellence in all levels of teaching at the University of Central Florida. To that end, they offer several programs for the professional development of Graduate Teaching Assistants at UCF. GTA Training (mandatory for employment as a GTA) provides information and resources for students who will be instructors in a two-day workshop. The seminars cover a variety of topics, including course development, learning theories, lecturing, and academic freedom. Those interested in additional training can also attend an optional training session that normally follows the mandatory training.

      • GTA Training (mandatory for employment as a GTA)
        This training provides information and resources for students who will be GTAs. The training covers a variety of topics, including course development, learning theories, lecturing, and academic freedom. For details on the required GTA training, visit GTA Training Requirements.

      • Preparing Tomorrow's Faculty Program
        This certificate program (12-weeks) consists of group and individualized instruction by Faculty Center staff and experienced UCF professors. Textbooks and materials are provided.

      For more information, visit the UCF Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning's website at > Events > GTA Programs or phone 407-823-3544.  

      Pathways to Success Workshops

      Coordinated by the College of Graduate Studies, the Pathways to Success program offers free development opportunities for graduate students including workshops in Academic Integrity, Graduate Grantsmanship, Graduate Teaching, Personal Development, Professional Development, and Research. For more information and how to register, please visit

      Graduate Research Forum

      Sponsored by the College of Graduate Studies, the Research Forum is an opportunity for students to showcase their research and  creative projects and to receive valuable feedback from faculty judges. Awards for best poster presentation in each category will be given and all participants will receive recognition.

      The College of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Student Association invite all UCF students, community, and employers to attend the Graduate Research Forum. For more information, contact

      Graduate Excellence Awards

      College and University Awards 

      Each year, the College of Graduate Studies offers graduate students who strive for academic and professional excellence the opportunity to be recognized for their work. The award categories include the following:

      Award for Excellence by a Graduate Teaching Assistant – For students who provide teaching support and assistance under the direction of a lead teacher. This award focuses on the extent and quality of the assistance provided by the student to the lead instructor and the students in the class. (Not intended for students who are instructor of record)

      Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching – For students who serve as instructors of record and have independent classroom responsibilities. The focus of this award is on the quality of the student’s teaching and the academic contributions of those activities.

      Award for the Outstanding Dissertation – To recognize doctoral students for excellence in the dissertation. The focus of this award is on the quality and contribution of the student's dissertation. Excellence of the dissertation may be demonstrated by evidences such as, but not limited to: publications in refereed journals, awards and recognitions from professional organizations, and praise from faculty members and other colleagues in the field.

      For the nomination process and eligibility criteria, see the College of Graduate Studies


      For information about the Council of Southern Graduate Schools (CSGS) thesis and dissertation awards, see their website: www.csgs.orgAwards.

      For grant-proposal writing resources: > Writing for Graduate School.


      Job Search

      Employment opportunities for those with expertise in security studies are expected to grow faster than the national average. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for political science re-search is growing because of increasing interest in politics, foreign affairs, Political scientists will use their knowledge of political institutions to further the interests of nonprofit, political lobbying, and social and civic organizations. Agencies such as the CIA list multiple employment opportunities that require the qualifications PhD graduates from the proposed program would possess, as do several government agencies, including the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security. Focusing on Florida, the state‘s need for persons with advanced security studies training is tied to its political, economic, geographic, and military characteristics.

      Within Florida, organizations from CENTCOM and SOUTHCOM to Kennedy Space Center (and the associated aerospace industries) and Florida-based non-governmental organizations have strong demands for specialists in human security issues, as well as within the constituencies they serve. The military services and the civilian agencies have turned to the university system in the United States for expertise related to the numerous topics central to security studies.

      Academic demand for a PhD degree in fields related to security studies is similarly strong. Given that there are currently only three other PhD programs in the country that specialize in security studies graduates with a PhD in Security Studies would be uniquely qualified for academic careers in the field of security studies

      Career Services and Experiential Learning

      Graduate career development issues are unique and include evaluating academic and nonacademic career choices, discussing graduate school effect on career choices, as well as learning, evaluating, and refining networking and interviewing skills. Whatever your needs, the offices of Career Services and Experiential Learning offer services and resources to aid in the career exploration and job search of Master and Doctoral students in every academic discipline.



      Plagiarism is the act of taking someone else’s work and presenting it as your own. Any ideas, data, text, media or materials taken from another source (either written or verbal) must be fully acknowledged.a) A student must not adopt or reproduce ideas, opinions, theories, formulas, graphics, or pictures of another person without acknowledgment.b) A student must give credit to the originality of others whenever:

      1. Directly quoting another person's actual words, whether oral or written;
      2. Using another person's ideas, opinions, or theories;
      3. Paraphrasing the words, ideas, opinions, or theories of others, whether oral or written;
      4. Borrowing facts, statistics, or illustrative material; or
      5. Offering materials assembled or collected by others in the form of projects or collections without acknowledgment.

      When using the ideas, opinions, theories, formulas, graphics, or pictures of another, students must give credit to the original source at the location or place in the document where that source's material is found as well as provide bibliographic information at the end of the document. When students are verbally discussing the ideas, opinions, theories, formulas, graphics, or pictures of another, they must give credit to the original source at the time they speak about that source. In this manner, students must make clear (so there is no doubt) within their written or verbal materials, which parts are gained from other sources, and which are their own original ideas, theories, formulas, graphics, and pictures.The Office of Student Conduct has a set of criteria that determines if students are in violation of plagiarism. This set of criteria may be set to a higher standard in graduate programs. Therefore, a student may not be found in violation of plagiarism by the Office of Student Conduct, but a professor or program requiring higher standards of attribution and citation may find a student in violation of plagiarism and administer program level sanctions. The standard in doctoral programs should be the highest as students earning these degrees are expected to be experts in their fields and producing independent work that contributes knowledge to their discipline.

      Example of Material that has been appropriately cited:

      Paraphrased Material

      Source: Osborne, Richard, ed. How to Grow Annuals. 2nd ed. Menlo Park: Lane, 1974. Print. Page 24: As a recent authority has pointed out, for a dependable long-blooming swatch of soft blue in your garden, ageratum is a fine choice. From early summer until frost, ageratum is continuously covered with clustered heads of fine, silky, fringed flowers in dusty shades of lavender-blue, lavender-pink or white. The popular dwarf varieties grow in mounds six to twelve inches high and twelve inches across; they make fine container plants. Larger types grow up to three feet tall. Ageratum makes an excellent edging.

      Use and Adaptation of the Material:

      You can depend on ageratum if you want some soft blue in your garden. It blooms through the summer and the flowers, soft, small, and fringed, come in various shades of lavender. The small varieties which grow in mounds are very popular, especially when planted in containers. There are also larger varieties. Ageratum is good as a border plant (Osborne 24).


      The writer has done a good job of paraphrasing what could be considered common knowledge (available in a number of sources), but because the structure and progression of detail is someone else’s, the writer has acknowledged the source. This the writer can do at the end of the paragraph since he or she has not used the author’s words.

      The above example was provided by Northwestern University.

      Northwestern University, Sept. 2016. “Academic Integrity: A Basic Guide.” Accessed 20 September 2017.

      For more information about Academic Honesty, Click here.

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