The Department of Political Science offers graduate programs designed for those interested in undertaking careers in public service, teaching, and research. Those who plan to do graduate work in the department are expected to have adequate undergraduate background in political science and other social sciences, as well as a strong academic record and other evidence of prospective success in advanced study. The curriculum provides a balanced approach to the discipline and the opportunity to pursue specialized areas.
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The Master’s in Political Science program may be pursued either as a terminal degree or as the first phase of a prospective Doctor of Philosophy program. The Masters Degree, which requires 32 credit hours of completed course work, normally takes about three to four semesters of full-time graduate study. University policy requires that all course work be completed within a period of six years unless an extension of time is granted by the Dean of the Graduate School of Public Affairs. Enrollment at another university's graduate program counts as part of the six-year period. A maximum of six hours of transfer credit may be allowed towards the MA degree.
Students with a bachelor’s degree who ultimately plan to pursue a PhD are advised to apply directly to the PhD program, since only students in the doctoral program are eligible for funding, and the path directly to the doctorate is typically faster and more direct. Students in the direct track from BA to PhD usually receive their Master’s Degree upon successful completion of their comprehensive examinations. Students admitted to the master’s track may apply for formal admission to the PhD program. Students with a master’s degree in Political Science obtained at another university should apply directly to the PhD program.