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Political Science Graduate Program

Course Requirements

All candidates for the M.A. degree must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours or graduate-level coursework based on the criteria below. All candidates must also fulfill the requirements of either the thesis or the non-thesis option for the M.A. degree.

Required Courses (30 credit hours)

  • POLS 705: Research Design for Political Science (3)
  • POLS 706: Research Methods I (3)
  • Eight (8) elective graduate-level courses within the Department of Political Science (24)

Notes on Course Selection

  • At least 21 of the 30 required credit hours must be earned in courses at the 700 level or above.
  • No more than five (5) credit hours of directed readings coursework may be counted toward the M.A degree.
  • With prior written approval, candidates may count up to six (6) credit hours of graduate-level coursework taken outside the Department of Political Science. 
  • Students who choose the thesis option (see below) may count up to six (6) credit hours of thesis enrollment toward the M.A. degree.

Thesis Option

Students who select the thesis option will write a thesis on the topic of their choosing (in consultation with their faculty advisor). Once the thesis is at an acceptable level of completion, the student will complete an oral examination to defend their thesis. Refer to the graduate student handbook for detailed procedures regarding the thesis option. 

Non-Thesis Option

Students who select the non-thesis option will take a written master's examination once they have passed or registered for 30 credit hours of graduate-level coursework (typically in the fourth semester of the program). The written master's exam consists of questions related to the student's subfield(s) of focus. After passing the written exam, the student will complete an oral examination based on the same content. Refer to the graduate student handbook for detailed procedures regarding the non-thesis option.

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