I recently had an email exchange with a student we are recruiting for our PhD program (said student looks really great!), and it occurs to me that others may find some of my answers useful, so…
First, many of your students have been successful in securing tenure-track employment. In your opinion, what should the ideal applicant’s CV encompass when they enter the job market? What would you say is typical of a student who completes their Ph.D. at Florida State?
That’s not something that I can summarize well in an email. Instead, I offer the following advice. First, follow the job postings in your field (join APSA at apsanet.org). That way, when you enter the market you are well informed about recent trends. Second, watch the job market in your field. Doing point 1 will tell you what jobs are out there. Pay attention to who gets interviews and offers. Visit their websites and read their job market papers (I have at times convened groups in which we read those papers together). Third, when your department fills a position (especially one in your field) seek permission to spend a couple of hours perusing the job applications of the candidates who applied. In short, invest time in answering those questions for yourself using real data, not the beliefs and conjectures of faculty who have not been an ABD in 20 years. Faculty will be more than happy to share with you their half baked, selectively sampled, and therefore ill informed beliefs. And the beliefs of your fellow PhD students will tend to be considerably worse than those of faculty because they do not do 1, 2, or 3 above.
Regarding your second question, you should be able to find the CVs for most of my PhD students from the links on my PhD Students page, and the date of their PhD is listed on the page (all of my students leave for their first job degree in hand). With that you can discern what their CVs looked like when they were on the market.
Second, what percentage of students apply for and earn external grants? Do faculty grant requests include funding for graduate students or research assistants? I’m admittedly unfamiliar with the grant-application process and don’t know what is typical within the discipline.
Grants are not a big part of Poli-Sci, and the percentage of our PhD students who obtain external funding is low. Most of my students apply for some sort of funding, but it is very competitive, and I do not consider funding a requisite to being successful in a PhD program.
Third, I’m sure there are several other prospective students who are also interested in studying sub-state conflict and political violence – how many students do you typically advise simultaneously?
I pretty much supervise anyone who is in our program who wants to write a dissertation for which I am a credible advisor. The number of advisees I have had varies, as we are a small program, and you can see that variation pretty readily on my PhD Students web page.