Political Science

Junior Qual

The Junior Qualifying Examination in Political Science is taken very seriously by the faculty. It consists of two parts: passing a Junior Seminar and writing a research design over the course of a semester with a professor in the department. The research design portion is typically based on the subject matter in a concurrent or previously-taken 300- or 400-level course, and consists of three parts: An initial short written proposal; a draft research design based on that review; and the final product, a revised research design. Junior Qual Samples are accessed via the Junior Qual Moodle (email Emily Hebbron for access). See the Junior Qual Handbook for a longer description and details.


The research design portion of the examination is typically written in conjunction with or following completion of a 300- or 400-level course that the student is taking in Political Science in the semester immediately preceding their senior year, but may be taken earlier as long as the two empirical introductory courses and one 300- or 400-level course have been completed. In the first week of classes, the student must directly send a request to qual to a professor with whom they have taken or are taking a 300- or 400-level course. After receiving a positive reply, they then submit that request to the Junior Qual Moodle. When there are an excess number of requests for a professor, the department may redistribute the quals among the faculty. Designs may not ordinarily be written based on the content of 200-level political science courses.

Students going on terms abroad must make early arrangements to complete the three requirements of the junior qualifying examinations. This is their responsibility. Standard accommodations can be made for students on terms abroad; however, if at all possible, students who plan to be abroad in their second semester of their junior year should take a Junior Seminar prior to departing.

Junior Qualifying Examination Schedule


Week 1

Request to Qual Czar
and Professor

Friday at noon Moodle
Week 3 Proposal Due Monday at noon Moodle
Week 12
Week 11 of instruction
Draft Research Designs Due

Monday at noon


Week 16
Finals week
Final Papers Due Monday at noon Moodle


To assist you with the qual, a number of frequently-updated and electronic resources have been placed online. Important resources include:

  1. Junior Qual Samples. The Qual Czar has placed sample research designs on the qual Moodle, which juniors will have access to as soon as they notify the Czar of their intention to qual in a given semester.
  2. Core Source Materials for a Literature Review. In junior seminar, you will typically write a literature review before writing your research design. This includes specialized sources for subfields of political science, sources for locating and borrowing books and journal articles, databases and indexes for scholarly literature and current news, tools for locating legal information, government publications, and statistics.

Public Policy Lecture Series


Email Political Science

Political Science Department
Reed College
3203 SE Woodstock Blvd
Portland, OR 97202

Ph: 503-517-5075

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