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Requirements for the Master of Arts (MA)

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Each student will complete a minimum of 39 credits, as follows:

 METHODS SEQUENCE: (10 credits)

  • 801: Scope and Methods in Political Science (1st semester) (1 credit) (Pass/Fail)
  • 815: Introduction to Statistical Methods for Political Science (1st semester) (3 credits)
  • 816: Philosophy of Science and Research Design (2nd semester) (3 credits)

In addition, one of the following courses: 

  • 817: Statistical Methods for Political Science II (3 credits)
  • 819: Qualitative Methods for Social Science (3 credits)


Skills Requirement (one of the following):

  • Competency in a foreign language (0 credits)
  • 812 Proseminar in Political Theory (if not chosen as primary field) (3 credits)
  • Additional methods course (may be quantitative or qualitative course not taken for the Methods Sequence, or a course from outside the department or participation in a research methods workshop) (3 credits) 

One Proseminar (not in primary field) (3 credits): 

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


For courses counting towards the respective fields, see below.

Primary Field (15 credits: proseminar plus 12 credits of electives):

  • Students must complete the proseminar in their primary field  
  • Students must complete four additional courses in their primary field


Students must take Current Research in the Study of Politics (CRISP – POSC 850) which is a one-credit pass/fail class 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 39.

Students may take no more than one 3-credit independent study in their first two years of coursework. In order to do so, students need to submit to the Director of Graduate Studies a written request and a course design for review and approval. Elective courses may include six 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 field or as an elective and as approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.



Students not moving further into the PhD program will prepare a major research paper, usually one written for one of their graduate seminars. The Department understands a "major research paper" to be one which speaks to an important and well-defined topic, demonstrates mastery of the pertinent literature, strives to make an original contribution 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 a professor of the student's choosing, 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 Research Paper for Master of Arts (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 January 15, of their intention. (For students pursuing a PhD, this major research paper is the Long Paper, and a different procedure applies. See Long Paper description below.)


Note, some courses are offered as "Topics" courses. Topics courses may be repeated assuming different course content. Also note, classes may count for only one field.


American Politics

  • POSC805: Topics in Law and Politics
  • POSC807: American Political Behavior
  • POSC808: American Political Institutions
  • POSC813: American Foreign Policy
  • POSC818: Environmental Politics and Policy
  • POSC823: Topics in American Politics

Comparative Politics

  • POSC802: Comparative Politics of the Global South
  • POSC804: Comparative Politics of Post-Industrial Polities
  • POSC811: Topics in Comparative Politics
  • POSC818: Environmental Politics and Policy
  • POSC824: Comparative Political Economy
  • POSC827: Gender and Politics
  • POSC841: Comparative Regionalisms
  • POSC851: Failed States and Good Governance

International Relations

  • POSC810: Topics in International Relations
  • POSC813: American Foreign Policy
  • POSC814: Political Economy of the Environment
  • POSC826: Islam in Global Affairs
  • POSC828: Feminist International Relations
  • POSC830: International Relations Theory
  • POSC831: Frontiers in Critical International Relations Theory
  • POSC840: International Political Economy
  • POSC842: International Organizations
  • POSC843: Global Governance
  • POSC844: International Security
  • POSC845: Human Rights and Global Governance

Political Theory

  • POSC805: Topics in Law and Politics
  • POSC806 Global Ethics and Normative Issues
  • POSC822: Topics in Political Theory
  • POSC831: Frontiers in Critical International Relations Theory
  • POSC836: Democratic Theory

For consultation on substitutions, topics courses, POSC867 ('experimental' or new classes) courses, or courses from other departments, please see the Director of Graduate Studies.


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