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Requirements for the MA degree

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Each student will complete a minimum of 38 credits

  1. METHODS SEQUENCE: (10 credits)

  • 801:  Scope and Methods in Political Science (1 credit) (1st semester)
  • 815: Introduction to Statistical Methods for Political Science (1st semester) (3 credits)
  • 816: Philosophy of Science and Research Design (2nd semester) (3 credits)
  • 817: Statistical Methods for Political Science II or 819: Qualitative Methods for Social Science (3rd) (3 credits)


Skills Requirement (one of the following):

  • Language competency
  • 814 Proseminar in Political Theory (if not chosen as a field )
  • Additional Methods Course (May be quantitative or qualitative course not taken for #3 above or course from outside the department.)

 One Proseminar (not in a field) (3 credits)

  • 803 Proseminar in American Politics
  • 825 Proseminar in International Relations
  • 814 Proseminar in Political Theory (may count for skills also if primary field is not Political Theory)
  • 809 Proseminar in Comparative Politics

3. FIELD REQUIREMENTS: (15 credits)

*For courses counting towards the respective fields see page 8 below

Primary Fields (Total of 15 credits: Proseminar plus 12 credits of electives):

  • Students must complete the proseminar in their major field (IR, Comparative, Political Theory or American)
  • Students must complete four additional courses in their field

4. CRISP, Elective Courses and Other courses:  10-13 Credits

Students must take Current Research In the Study of Politics (CRISP–POSC 850) for one credit each spring of their first two years. In addition, students must take elective courses (two or three, depending on the means by which the skills requirement is fulfilled) to bring their total credits to 38.

Students may take only one 3-credit independent study in their first two years of coursework. Students need to submit to the Director of Graduate Studies a petition and a course design for review and approval. Elective courses may include 6 credits taken outside the Department with the prior approval of the Director of Graduate Studies. In addition, each semester additional courses (POSC 867s) may be offered and may count toward one or another fields or as an elective.

5. MA Writing Requirement

Students not moving further into the PhD program will prepare a major research paper, usually one written for one of their graduate seminars. For this requirement, the Department understands a "major research paper" to be one that addresses an important and well-defined topic, shows mastery of the pertinent literature, strives to contribute originally to knowledge, and is presented in a coherent and professional manner. In meeting this requirement, students are to identify an appropriate academic journal and write the paper as if they were preparing a manuscript for submission to that journal. This research paper is to be handed in to the professor for whom the paper was originally written, or the most appropriate professor, in May of the second year, as part of the completion of the MA requirements. It is the prerogative of that professor to determine whether the student's work meets the test of this definition. Students will register for POSC 899 MA Long Paper Course (0 credits) in the spring of their second year to facilitate completion of this requirement. MA Students who wish to pursue a PhD must notify the Director of Graduate Studies no later than 1st February [the admission deadline] of their intention. (For students pursuing a PhD, this major research paper is the Long Paper, and a different procedure applies. 


International Relations

  • POSC812: Topics in International Relations
  • POSC813: Seminar: American Foreign Policy
  • POSC826: Islam in Global Affairs
  • POSC828: Feminist International Relations Theory
  • POSC830: Seminar: International Relations Theory
  • POSC831: Frontiers in Critical International Relations Theory
  • POSC840: International Political Economy
  • POSC842: International Organizations
  • POSC843: Global Governance: Theory and Cases
  •  POSC845: Human Rights and Global Governance

American Politics

  • POSC805: Topics in Law and Politics (depending on the Topic)
  • POSC807: American Political Behavior
  • POSC808: American Political Institutions
  • POSC813: Seminar: American Foreign Policy
  • POSC818: Environmental Politics and Policy (depending on the instructor)
  • POSC823: Topics in American Politics

Comparative Politics

  • POSC 802: Seminar: Comparative Politics of the Global South
  • POSC804: Seminar: Comparative Politics of Post-Industrial Polities
  • POSC 811: Topics in Comparative Politics
  • POSC 818: Environmental Politics and Policy (depending on the instructor)
  • POSC824: Comparative Political Economy

Political Theory

  • POSC 805: Topics in Law and Politics (depending on the Topic)
  • POSC 806: Global Ethics and Normative Issues (Course renamed from Normative Issues in Global Governance)
  • POSC 822: Topics in Political Theory
  • POSC 831: Critical Approaches in International Relations
  • POSC836: Democratic Theory

For consultation on substitutions, Topics courses, POSC867 courses, or courses from other departments please see the Director of Graduate Studies.

  •  Note that courses may count for only one field
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Requirements for the MA degree