Data obtained by The Varsity shows that between 2000–2019, on a combined average only 10.14 per cent of enrolled political science PhD students graduated each year. This is lower than the 2018 average statistic for PhD students at U of T, which stands at 22.17 per cent.
Of the approximately 453 students who were registered in the program from 2000–2019, there have been 284 graduates, resulting in 62.7 per cent of enrolled students graduating over 19 years.
Five years had 10 or fewer graduates, while other years also seem to have disproportionately low numbers of graduates relative to the program’s intake. From 2001–2014, the average rate of enrolled students graduating was 9.57 per cent. Since 2014, the number of graduates per year does seem to be going up, but the average for those years is still only slightly over 10 per cent, at 11.2 per cent.
Jacques Bertrand, Associate Chair and Graduate Director of Political Science, wrote to The Varsity that PhD students in political science rarely leave the program without graduating, though they can take leaves of absence.
Currently, Arts & Science PhD students at U of T pay a yearly tuition of $6,900. Those in the humanities and social sciences receive $17,500 in base funding, set to increase next year. The faculty also launched several programs, such as the Milestones and Pathways programs, which aim to provide academic and practical skills to students.
Bertrand wrote to The Varsity that in his opinion, the amount of graduates seems proportionate when compared to the intake of 25–28 new students per year.
He noted that the average student graduates in six to seven years, even though the timeline on the department’s website only goes up to five years. While graduate students lose department funding after five years, Bertrand noted that there are still other funding opportunities and opportunities within the department.
However, the department is making attempts to lower the graduation time, such as approving student proposals earlier, and it is “hoping these numbers will go down in the next 2-3 years.”
He noted that while the department has had some students graduate close to the cutoff of 10 years, none have ever reached that point, and that “very few students leave the program and don’t finish.” He added that the department is working on ways to provide more support for students.