Student Development


Boot Camp:

This 3-hour graduate class (POLS 9010: Research Design and Analysis) is offered immediately prior to the start of the fall semester and is required for all first-year PhD students.  The primary objective of the course is to make sure that all students have the necessary skills to succeed in the first year of the program, regardless of their prior training or academic experiences. 

The class provides a strong foundation in mathematics, statistics and probability theory so that students have the knowledge required for the methods sequence.  Other topics covered include professionalization, writing for a political science audience, the typesetting program LaTeX, and an introduction to Stata. 

Here is a summary of the topics covered in the boot camp, and those who are interested can check out a syllabus from Summer 2020.

Cohort Group 1

Writing for a Political Science Audience:

  • Identifying puzzles
  • How to read political science research
  • Architecture of political science research
  • Literature Reviews: What do we know and what don’t we know?
  • Seven basic principles of writing about empirical research
  • Implications and conclusions
  • Writing with Clarity


  • Advice from graduate students
  • Tips for success from faculty
  • Exercise: look through the CVs of faculty and identify 3-4 professors who share your interests
  • Placement: understanding recent trends and preparing for success
  • Time management strategies
  • Ensuring a more diverse and equitable environment
  • Presentations in political science
  • Graduate School: New Graduate Student Orientation
  • Graduate School: Graduate Assistant Teaching Orientation (GATO)

Empirical Analysis:

  • What is causal inference?
  • Introduction to Stata
  • Data management in Stata
  • Introduction to programming in Stata
  • Data visualization
  • Introduction to LaTeX

Methods Workshops:

Even though our methods sequence prepares students with the range of methodologies to produce high-quality research, students often need to learn additional tools or skills that are useful for their own research.  For those students, we offer a series of methods workshops.

On average, the Truman School offers four methods workshops designed for graduate students.  These 2- to 3-hour workshops focus on topics that are not covered in our graduate methods sequence, but are useful for students wanting to produce high-quality research.  While these classes are typically taught by Mizzou faculty, we are happy to give advanced graduate students the opportunity to teach their peers in their area of expertise. 

We list a sample of the almost 30 workshops we’ve hosted the last four years (graduate students are denoted with asterisks).  Also, feel free to check out the workshop schedule for this year. 

Methods Workshop

Research Design:

  • Conducting High-Quality Research: Jen Selin
  • Race, Ethnicity and Quantitative Modeling: Aime Hogue Rovelo* and Aryanna Hyde*

Statistical Software:

  • Data Management in Stata: Vanya Krieckhaus
  • Introduction to R: Jacob Authement* and Aime Hogue Rovelo*
  • Introduction to Python: Aryanna Hyde*

Quantitative Methods:

  • Inferential Network Analysis: Yu Bin Kim*
  • Text Analysis: Heather Ba
  • Spatial Econometrics: Laron Williams
  • Geospatial Modeling in R: Heather Kopp*
  • Experiments: Irma Arteaga

Mini Conferences:

Presenting at academic conferences is a critical part of success in graduate school.  Of course, some people might be stressed at the thought of finishing their paper, producing their presentation, and presenting it in front of strangers.  We get it, as we were students at one point too. 

To help our students become more comfortable with academic conferences, we host a number of mini-conferences through the year (see the schedule below for this academic year).  These mini-conferences typically take place about a month before a major political science conference and they give students the opportunity to practice presenting and receive feedback before they attend the conference.  We have found that presenting the project in a low-stress environment not only improves the overall research quality, but also puts students in the best chance to succeed. 

Fall Mini-Conference: Friday, October 29 from 1:00-4:00pm

  • Students attending either the Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management or International Studies Association-Midwest conferences can present their research

Spring Mini-Conference: Friday, March 11 from 1:00-4:00pm

  • Students attending either the International Studies Association, Midwest Political Science Association, or Association for Education Finance can Policy conferences can present their research

If you are interested, check out the mini-conference schedule for ISA-Midwest in Fall 2019

Methods Training:

Recent advances in qualitative, quantitative and mixed methodologies means that students are able to use increasingly complex methods in their own research.  While the Truman School offers a comprehensive methods sequence that trains students on the most common methods in political science, students often need skills in other areas.  We therefore offer department funding for students to attend summer methods schools to gain additional methodological expertise.  In the past few years, the students have attended the following methods schools (with classes as bullet points):

Inter-University Consortium on Political Science Research Summer Program in Ann Arbor, MI:

  • Race, Ethnicity and Quantitative Modeling
  • Regression Analysis
  • Time Series Analysis
  • Data Visualization
  • Panel Data and Longitudinal Analysis
  • Causal Inference
  • Multilevel Modeling
  • Network Analysis

International Political Science Association Summer School in Sao Paulo, Brazil:

  • Survey Analysis
  • Comparative Survey Analysis
  • Causal Inference and Experiments
  • Process Tracing


Mizzou students have also attended Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models, Stanford University’s Institute in Political Psychology, and the Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research.