Graphic Monday: Comprehensive Exam Edition

‘Tis the season for PhD comprehensive exams in Department of Political Science at the University of Florida. In honor of comps and all of the my colleagues who are also in the cave furiously preparing, this edition of Graphic Monday looks at the gender balance of authors listed on the master syllabi for these comprehensive exams.  

There is no doubt that political science and academia in general is still male-dominated. For example see recent publications like this one on the issue of gender imbalances in higher education. What about on comprehensive exam syllabi? These syllabi are intended to include all of the essential readings of the subdiscipline. How gender balanced are they?

The Department of Political Science at UF produces master syllabi for three of the subdisciplines: comparative politics (CP), international relations (IR), and political theory (PT). Political methodology (PM) and the (various) US politics subfields at UF do not have master syllabi. Based on these syllabi, I coded authors and their gender. Authors only appear once in the data for each subfield, but can appear multiple times if they show up on multiple syllabi. Here’s a cross-tab:


Some of this could be because of the emphasis on feminist theories within this IR syllabus. 8 of the 34 female authors are within this category. In fact, all of the feminist scholarship on this syllabus is written by women. Removing the feminist theory section causes the female percentage of authors to drop to 18.5%, still higher than the other two subfields, but also quite lower than the feminist-inclusive syllabus.

Here’s the graphic:

Gender Master Syllabi copy

Of course these data are hardly generalizable, being based on the syllabi for three subfields in a single university department. Also, it is important to note that I did not take into account individual authors of book chapters within edited volumes. For these publications, only the editors were counted as “authors”.

If you would like to see the raw data for the graphic, see the UF Political Science website. You can access the replication data in Excel format here: 2014.09.01 Graphic Monday Data and the replication coding for STATA in PDF here: 2014.09.01 Graphic Monday Do


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