Political Science

M.A. in Political Science

Political Science traditionally is divided into four major subfields. Students pursuing the Master of Arts degree take a core course in each of them:

American Politics: Studies in the origins and operation of the U.S. constitutional order. Subfields might include political parties; campaigns and elections; the media; and race and gender.

International Relations: The study of both classical global politics – the balance of power among states – and the rise of non-state actors in an increasingly complex world, from transnational corporations to transnational terrorist groups.

Comparative Politics: Compares and contrasts forms of government and social organization in the world, such as institutions (militaries, political parties) or types of political systems (democracies, autocracies).

Political Theory: From Socrates to John Rawls, an inquiry into the ideas and influence of the great schools of thought on history, politics and society.

The remaining eight courses are electives, chosen in consultation with the faculty adviser and reflecting the student’s particular area of interest. At the end of the 12-course, 36-credit course of study, students must pass the Department’s comprehensive examination in two of the four subfields. Students who choose to write an M.A. thesis do not have to take the comprehensive exam. Normally the entire program takes two years to complete. Students in the United Nations Certificate Program also can earn a master’s degree after consultation with the Department.

Core Requirements:
POL 505 Foundations of Political Theory 3.00
POL 613 Comparative Politics 3.00
POL 630 The American Constitution and Political System 3.00
POL 638 International Relations 3.00
Political Science Concentration:
Students are encouraged to develop a concentration in one of the discipline’s subfields and should consult with their academic advisor.
M.A. in Political Science Thesis Option
A minimum of 30 credits in political science plus 6 credits of thesis are required for the Master of Arts in Political Science degree with the thesis option.

Students must complete the following courses:
POL 707 Research Methods/Thesis Seminar 3.00
POL 708 Research Methods/Thesis Seminar 3.00
M.A. in Political Science Non-Thesis Option
A minimum of 36 credits are required for the Master of Arts in Political Science degree with the non-thesis option. Students must complete 36 credits, not including POL 707 or POL 708.
Credit and GPA Requirements
  • Minimum Credits (Thesis Option): 36
  • Minimum Credits (Non-Thesis Option): 36
  • Minimum Major GPA: 3.0


Richard L. Conolly
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Scott Krawczyk, Dean