The department offers programs leading to the master of arts (M.A.) and master of public administration (M.P.A.) degrees.
As a graduate student in Political Science, you are considered an important part of Department life. Our graduate programs are designed to bridge the gap between your undergraduate education and your future professional life as a political scientist or public administrator. In that sense, you have made an important leap in your academic career. No longer will your classes consist merely of taking notes, writing papers, and passing exams. As a pre-professional, you are expected to contribute to the learning environment by participating actively in seminars, learning the research methods and theoretical perspectives that are relevant to your program of study, and, where appropriate, contribute original research to your field. In return, we promise to work with you to help you achieve your goals.
Master of Arts
Applicants for admission to the M.A. program must submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination general test. Additional information is in the “Academic Policies” section of this catalog.
Plans I and II. M.A. students may follow either Plan I, requiring 30 semester hours of coursework, a written comprehensive examination, a thesis, and an oral examination in defense of the thesis; or Plan II, requiring 36 hours of coursework and a written comprehensive examination.
Course requirements. Under either plan, students must take courses in three of five fields, including a core seminar in each. The available fields are American politics, comparative politics, international relations, public policy and administration, and political theory. Plan I students take 9 hours in the major field and 6 in each of two minor fields; Plan II students take 12 hours in the major field and 6 in each of two minor fields. The core seminars are PSC 610 Core Seminar in American Politics, PSC 631 Seminar in Comparative Politics, PSC 642 Concepts and Theories of International Relations, PSC 651 Political Theory Seminar, and PSC 565 Survey of Public Administration.
All students must complete PSC 521 Research Design and PSC 522 Quantitative Methods in Political Science I (or approved substitutes).
Comprehensive examination. The written comprehensive examination will cover the student’s major field and will require integration of material across courses in the field.
Thesis. After passing the written examination, a student following Plan I should prepare a thesis prospectus, which should describe the substance and methods of the thesis research, outline the thesis itself, and provide a preliminary bibliography. Once the prospectus has been approved, the chairperson will formally appoint a committee of three faculty members to supervise the thesis. The student must submit four copies of the completed thesis and must take a final oral examination to defend it and show competence in the field in which it lies. Except in unusual circumstances, the final oral examination must be taken during the fall or spring semester and before final course examinations begin. After the examination, the student must deposit two copies of the approved thesis with the Graduate School and two copies with the department.