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Master of Arts in Political Science

The Department of Political Science offers a general Master of Arts degree. Students tailor their programs with the assistance of the department’s graduate coordinator. Programs are flexible, and students may take advantage of individualized instruction. Advisory committees will approve programs that provide an appropriate degree of specialization in two of the fields of political science with supporting studies in others.

Students may pursue graduate education in the areas of comparative politics, international relations, American politics, political theory, public law, and public policy. Students can normally expect to complete the program in from one-and-a-half to two years. The department offers a number of graduate assistantships as well as internship opportunities at the local, state, and federal levels, where students can obtain on-the-job experience.

The graduate program in political science is designed to prepare graduate students for doctoral studies, teaching positions at secondary schools and community colleges, or employment by government agencies, research centers, or private industry. Our graduates have gone on to executive positions in national, state, and local governments and to doctoral programs at top schools throughout the country.

Learning Objectives

  • To prepare students for job opportunities in the public and private sectors as well as for additional advanced degrees
  • To develop advanced theoretical and methodological knowledge in the major fields of Political Science
  • To foster the acquisition of expertise in an appropriate field within Political Science

Degree Requirements

The candidate for the Master of Arts degree must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours under Plan A or 33 credit hours under Plan B in courses designated for graduate study in political science and related disciplines. Candidates must designate two fields as their major fields. They must successfully complete three courses in each field. Eighteen credits must be taken in graduate seminar work. Students may complete a maximum of 6 graduate credits in related areas outside political science. To be counted toward the M.A. degree, all courses must be pre-approved by the graduate coordinator. The candidate must maintain a minimum B average during the semester in order to remain in good standing. Only those courses in which a student receives a grade of B or better may be used for graduate credit. The candidate, in conjunction with the graduate coordinator, will select either Plan A or Plan B. All graduate students are required to take PSC 701 (Research Design and Methodology) among their first 12 credit hours. Other seminars may have prerequisite requirements; for example, PSC 701 must be taken before PSC 729. Internship credits do not count toward a degree program.

Plan A (Thesis Option)

Students must complete 24 credit hours of course work in at least two areas of political science plus 6 credit hours of thesis. Completion of the thesis consists of an oral examination administered by the advisory committee

Plan B (Comprehensive Examination Option)

Students must complete 33 credit hours of course work in at least two areas of political science, including PSC 795 (Directed Readings in Political Science). PSC 795 encompasses preparation for, and taking of, written and oral examinations administered by the advisory committee.