Political Theory Track for Philosophy Students

I. Statement of Intention

Political Theory is a Doctoral Program Track with two affiliations: the Doctoral Program in Political Science, and the Doctoral Program in Philosophy. Doctoral Candidates enrolled in either of the two Programs may choose it as their major. Depending on which Program they are enrolled in, their course requirements will be slightly different, and they will earn, upon successful defence of their dissertation, a degree in Political Science or in Philosophy, respectively.

Why Philosophy and Political Science? Political Theory is at the crossroads of two disciplines. Its questions are of a normative character; its foundations lie in the province of moral philosophy. The questions it examines refer, at the same time, to political institutions and practices. Those institutions and practices have a number of properties that require moral justification: they claim authority to impose obligations on their subjects, and they are of a coercive character, for example. Political theory is a family of conceptions and of critiques of those conceptions on how and under what conditions the claim of authority and of (the monopoly of) coercive force can be justified. It is, thus, a natural home for interdisciplinary study and research that combines resources from Philosophy and Political Science.

Since the launching of the Doctoral Program in Philosophy in 2000, courses in moral and political philosophy as well as in Democratic Theory were regularly cross listed between the Departments of Philosophy and of Political Science. The refurbishing of the Political Theory Track under the joint auspices of the two Departments accomplishes a logical step towards a unified and coherent curriculum.

The Department of Political Science is a member of the School of Political Science, Public Policy, and International Relations. The Political Theory Track is meant to serve as a bridge between that School and the Department of Philosophy that has its natural place outside of the School.

II. Objectives

  • To bring the Departments of Political Science and Philosophy into closer cooperation in training doctoral students and mentoring junior scholars;
  • To expand the range of course offerings for PhD students with an interest in moral and political philosophy on the one hand, and institutional political science on the other;
  • To facilitate the growth of scholarly communities across the boundaries of departments and schools;
  • To streamline coursework, time schedules, and other requirements for doctoral students that are currently segmented by departments;
  • To promote collaborative research projects, co-authored papers and articles, workshops, joint grant applications across the two departments;
  • To build up a critical mass of international scholars working on topics related to political theory;
  • To establish research networks and scholar exchange programs with universities in Central and Western Europe and North America.

III. Synergies with other Programs in the CEU

Political theory has obvious links to the theory of international relations (IR), to human rights (Legal Studies), and to constitutionalism (Legal Studies). Furthermore, it takes questions from social theory (Sociology/Anthropology); it has applications in nationalism studies (Nationalism Studies Program), and in gender studies (Gender Studies Department). Thus, it has a potential to promote university-wide interdisciplinary cooperation.

IV. Admissions and Eligibility

Students enrolled at the Department of Philosophy will work towards a PhD degree in Philosophy. Applicants are required to have an MA degree in Philosophy, Political Science, or International Relations.

V. Course Requirements for Philosophy Students

Philosophy students should satisfy the course and other requirements of their program, with the following additional conditions. Students should take at least 12 credit worth courses from at least three subject areas as follows:

  • Political Philosophy (Political Obligation, Theory of Justice…)
  • Democratic Theory
  • Political Institutions (Constitutional Theory, Institutional Political Theory…)
  • Applied Political Philosophy (Cosmopolitanism, Theory of Violent Conflicts…)

Students should take during their first year 8 credit worth courses from this list for credit, and they can take the remaining 4 credit worth courses for audit during their first three years.

Philosophy students are advised to take during their first three years also 8 credit worth courses, which they can take for audit, from courses given by the Department of Philosophy that are relevant to the PTT, such as Philosophy of Action, Normative Ethics, or any other courses approved by the Departmental Doctoral Committee.

VI. Regulations Concerning Supervision and Dissertation, for Philosophy Students

These are the same as those of the general philosophy PhD programme.