When applying to the Doctoral Program in Political Science, you need to select the “track” where you wish to pursue your studies. The program offers five tracks (or areas of specialization), all of which represent academic sub-field within Political Science. Your track choice will define what you will study at CEU, and who will assist you in it, so you should carefully consider which track to apply to.
What is a track?
Tracks are areas of specialization, or ‘majors’, within the Doctoral Program in Political Science. Each PhD student in the program belongs to a track, and faculty members are also affiliated with one (or sometimes more) tracks.
Tracks have their own curriculum within the program, with track-specific core courses and advanced topics courses. During their first year, students of a given track need to complete their track’s core courses: thus, your track choice during the application process defines what courses you will have in the first year.
Tracks within the PhD program are distinguished in many further ways:
- Each track is represented by a so-called “track representative”, a faculty member associated with the given track, responsible for the coherence of their respective tracks. They are the ones overseeing syllabi development and teaching in accordance with the stipulations of the Doctoral School
- Each track has its own admission committee which organizes the track’s admission process, the evaluation of the applicants to the given track
- Each track has its own student packages, admitting a given number of PhD students each year
- Each track has its own comprehensive examination committee, examining their probationary doctoral candidates at the end of the first year
- Most of the tracks run specific research groups where students and faculty share and discuss their ongoing research
Which tracks can you choose from?
There are five tracks within the PhD program:
- Comparative Politics (CP)
- Political Economy (PE)
- Political Theory (PT)
- International Relations (IR)
- Public Policy (PP)
You can read more about each of these tracks on their own webpages, where track-affiliated faculty members and courses are also listed. To find out more about each track, click on the links above.
How is your track selected?
During the admission process you have to select your preferred track. Each track has separate application forms: you need to use the application form of the track of your preference, which best fits your planned research project. To be able to judge this, you need to check what research topics are covered in each track, what track-specific courses are offered, and which faculty members are affiliated with the tracks. It is your responsibility to find the track that suits you best: if you apply to a track that is not connected to your research, your application can easily be rejected.
During the evaluation of your admission documents, your files will be checked by the track-specific admission committee. After evaluating your application form, you will be ranked among the applicants applying to the given track. If you receive an admission offer to the chosen track, this will remain your track throughout your studies in the program.
Can you get accepted to a track other than where you applied?
If your research proposal does not fit the track where you applied, you will be rejected. However, if the application is otherwise of very high quality, and the track admission committee finds that your proposed topic fits another track, your application might be transferred to that other track’s admission committee for second evaluation. If this other track finds your application convincing, they might offer you an interview, and later, admission. However, as a rule, admission committees are not responsible for finding the best track for your application: it is your responsibility to apply to the track where you fit, because such track transfers happen only occasionally during the admission process.
Can you apply to more than one track?
Yes. Applicants have the possibility to submit their application to up to 5 programs within CEU, and this means that you can also apply to more than one tracks. However, the Doctoral School strongly encourages you to apply to not more than two tracks in one admission year.
Can tracks be changed after admission?
Applicants win admission to a specific track and student financial packages are associated with tracks. Changing “home” tracks after admission happens only in exceptional circumstances, exclusively in the first semester of the first year, and pending the approval by the School Director after consultation with the relevant track representatives.