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Job Candidates

Hire a University of Houston Graduate Student

Our graduate students have strong records of accomplishment and promise. Some of our recent graduates have accepted tenure-track faculty positions at University of Wisconsin-Madison, George Washington University, University of Idaho and CIDE in Mexico City. Others have been awarded research positions and instructorships at University of Chicago, USAID at William and Mary and Gallup. We are excited to call your attention to students entering the academic job market in Fall 2019. For more information about any of our students, please refer to their websites or contact Professor Scott Clifford, the graduate placement coordinator.

American Politics


Yongkwang Kim (Ph.D. 2020)

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Dissertation: Causes and Consequences of Conspiracy Theories
Dissertation Committee: Scott Basinger (Chair), Scott Clifford, Elizabeth Simas, Adam Enders

Yongkwang’s research agenda is broadly concerned with American political behavior, including political psychology and public opinion. Specifically, his primary interest is political misinformation. His dissertation project contributes to scholarship on political misperceptions by identifying behavioral and emotional consequences of exposure to and beliefs in conspiracy theories. He theorizes that elite rhetoric using conspiracy theory frames (loser/winner, victim/perpetrator, in-group/out-group) fosters citizens’ engagement in politics via conventional activities and thus demonstrates how conspiracy theories can mobilize voters. His research has appeared in professional journals including Journal of Elections Public Opinion and Parties and Public Opinion Quarterly. 


Brian Sullivan (Ph.D. expected in May 2022)

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Dissertation:  Powerlessness and Anti-Democratic Political Behavior
Dissertation Committee: Scott Clifford (Chair), Elizabeth Simas, Ling Zhu and Scott Savage

Brian Sullivan is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of political science, studying American politics and political theory. His research focuses on public opinion and political psychology, as well as experimental and survey methodology. In his dissertation, Brian argues that feeling a lack of control over one’s life makes people more likely to endorse conspiracies, adopt populist beliefs and support political violence. Brian received an M.A. in political science from SUNY Stony Brook and B.A.s in political science and philosophy from William Paterson University of New Jersey.


Doug Murdoch (Ph.D. expected in May 2022)

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Dissertation:  Voters’ Demands For Representation: Three Papers on Ideological Representation
Dissertation Committee: Elizabeth Simas (Chair), Jennifer Hayes Clark, and Boris Shor

Doug Murdoch is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Houston specializing in American politics. His current research focuses on representation, legislative process and elections and voting. He has taught a wide range of classes at the University of Houston and Texas Southern University. Currently, he is a visiting research assistant at the Jeju Peace Institute and a Research Assistant at the University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs.

Comparative Politics 


Yu-Ceng Liao, Ph.D. (2021)

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Dissertation title: The Legislative Consequences of Electoral Reform: Adoption of Mixed-member System in Taiwan
Dissertation Committee: Eduardo Alemán (Chair), Jennifer H. Clark, Francisco Cantu, Mi-son Kim

Yu-Ceng Liao (Calvin) is a Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Houston. He majored in comparative politics with a minor in American politics. His research and teaching interests focus on the comparative political institution, legislative behavior, political behavior, election, public opinion, democratization and Asian politics. His dissertation focuses on how electoral incentives influence legislative behavior. He explored how electoral reform changing from the single non-transferable vote (SNTV) to the mixed-member majoritarian system affected legislative behaviors in Taiwan. Besides, he is currently working on exploring the mandate-divide under the mixed-member system with a comparison between South Korea and Taiwan. He also has working projects focusing on political dynasties, party leadership and legislative particularism.


Yuyang Pu (Ph.D. expected in May 2022)

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Dissertation: An Inquiry into the Rhetoric of China’s Anti-corruption Campaign
Dissertation Committee: Nikolay Marinov (Chair), Tanya Bagashka, and Francisco Cantú

Yuyang Pu is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of political science. His research focuses on Chinese politics including corruption, repression, propaganda and public opinion. His dissertation investigates the rhetoric during China’s latest anti-corruption campaign. He argues that the anti-corruption rhetoric is intended to resist a potential backfire effect of anti-corruption campaigns. Yuyang is also passionate about teaching. His teaching expertise ranges from Comparative Politics (CP) and International Relations (IR). He has already taught courses such as Intro to CP, Intro to IR, Chinese Politics, and Research Methods (R programming). 


Hui Zhou (Ph.D. expected in May 2022)

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Dissertation Title:  Bureaucracy and Accountability: The Politics of Disciplining Bureaucrats in China (2001–2020)
Dissertation Committee: Ling Zhu, Jennifer Clark, Ryan Kennedy, Hongtao Yi

Hui Zhou is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of political science at the University of Houston. His research interests include social policy and comparative politics, with a regional focus on China. His dissertation examines the causes and consequences of government accountability in China through the lens of crisis management, information control and policy outcomes. His research has appeared in Journal of Contemporary China, Social Science & Medicine and the International Journal of Legal Medicine.

International Relations

Samad Karimov (Ph.D. expected in May 2022)

Dissertation Title: Onset and Outcomes of Biased Mediation in International Conflict Management
Dissertation Committee: J. Tyson Chatagnier (Chair), Nikolay Marinov, Patrick Shea

Samad is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of political science, studying international relations and comparative politics. His research interests include international mediation and conflict resolution. In his dissertation, he analyzes how a state’s bias affects its acceptance and effectiveness as a mediator of interstate conflict. Samad develops a theory of dual bias, which holds that a state can be biased toward a conflicting party due to economic or cultural/political interests. He argues that when a state holds an economic bias toward one party, but a cultural/political bias toward another party, it is more likely to be invited to mediate and more likely to succeed in decreasing conflict between belligerent actors. 

Burak Giray

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Dissertation Title: UN Peacekeeping Operations: Conflicting Interests, Misconducts and Effectiveness.
Dissertation Committee: Patrick Shea (Chair), J. Tyson Chatagnier, Nikolay Marinov

Burak is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of political science. His major field is international relations and his research interests include the composition of UN peacekeepers, effectiveness of peacekeeping missions, supply-side of peacekeeping and peace settlements. His current research examines the factors affecting peacekeeping effectiveness. In addition, Burak is interested in studying how local-level interaction strategies of peacekeepers affect the legitimacy of UN peacekeeping missions.

Political Theory 


Roger Abshire, Ph.D. (2019)

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Dissertation Title: The Problem of Constitutional Discretion
Dissertation Committee: Jeremy D. Bailey, Jeffrey Church, Brandon Rottinghaus, George Thomas

Roger’s research and teaching interests focus on American political thought, American political Ddevelopment, modern political thought, constitutionalism, constitutional law, judicial process and American politics. He has presented several papers in these fields and has taught an undergraduate constitutional law course. His dissertation, titled “The Problem of Constitutional Discretion,” traces the institutional and theoretical development of three discretionary constitutional powers (legislative procedural rule making, the presidential pardon power and jurisdictional equity) and argues that the constitutionalization of discretionary power undermined the American constitutional project.


Ndifreke Ette, Ph.D. (2019)

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Dissertation Title: Carl Schmitt’s Middle Course: ‘The People’ as Actors within the Constitution
Dissertation Committee:  Jeffrey Church (Chair), Jeremy Bailey, Alin Fumurescu, Peter C. Caldwell (External Adviser, Rice University)

Ndifreke Ette is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of political science, where his research focuses on democratic theory, modern political thought, constitutionalism in the Weimar Republic and Carl Schmitt’s political thought. His dissertation investigates Carl Schmitt’s ideas on popular participation in politics. At University of Houston, Ndifreke has taught courses on American government and the political theory of modern conservatism and progressivism.