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I had a flyout in the Ryerson U. Political Science department for a TT position this year before getting my current job at SJSU. SJSU made me an offer, and I pulled out of the Ryerson search. They hired a candidate that is very well qualified, but has a completely different research profile. I do contemporary political philosophy and philosophy of technology, and he is a Cicero scholar! So I'm inclined to think that one major difference in pol. sci. searches is that other candidates might be historians of pol. thought, and they might have an edge when it comes to convincing the committee that they are the right candidates to teach "From Plato to NATO" history of pol. thought courses. At Ryerson, I mostly talked about my enthusiasm with regard to their interdisciplinary grad. programs in communication studies and immigration studies, explaining that I would be happy to bring a contemporary normative theory angle to these programs. I'll never know if I was convincing, but it was sincere!


I haven't applied for any political theory jobs, but a friend of mine applied for and got one. This is about getting tenure after you have the job rather than getting the job itself, but probably good to be aware of: for him the number of publications expected for tenure lined up with the non-theorists in the department, and was much higher than it would have been in the philosophy department in the same university.


I was TT in a PoliSci department for a few years. The kinds of political theorists that inhabit political science departments are often seen by their colleagues as off-putting and difficult to converse with. When I interviewed, none of the committee members were theorists and I tried to emphasize that I would be able to talk to and perhaps even collaborate with non-theorists. I believe this was taken to be credible since much of my work in political philosophy is informed by empirical studies, rational choice theory, laboratory experiments, etc.

Re tenure requirements: it is true that political scientists publish a lot more than philosophers, and so the bar may be raised for tenure. That said, political science journals tend to be professionally run. It is common to receive two or three very long referee reports within two months of submission. This is especially impressive when one considers just how large the political science community is and what a daunting organizational challenge it must be to identify and solicit reviews from competent referees.


To more directly answer your question: one major difference I found is that in political science there is a stronger expectation to write a book before going up for tenure.

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