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Master of Political Science

The Master of Arts 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.

MA degree requirements include

To receive a Master of Arts, a student must successfully complete a minimum of eight courses (32 credit hours).

Two of the eight courses must be field seminars (of which there are eight possibilities including POS 516).

  • POS 501 Field Seminar in Political Theory;
  • POS 550 Field Seminar in Comparative Political Systems;
  • POS 570 Field Seminar in International Relations;
  • POS 521 Field Seminar in American Political Systems;
  • POS 541 Field Seminar in Public Law;
  • POS 513 (PUB 513) Field Seminar in Public Policy
  • PAD 500 Introduction to Public Administration

Six additional courses, including RPOS 698 (Master's Essay) must be completed at the POS 500 and 600 level.

A terminal MA candidate (ie. one who is not going on to the Ph.D) must also complete POS 698, the Masters Essay. The Masters Essay is not a thesis, but a substantial research paper of a length and quality appropriate for formal presentation at a New York State or regional Political Science convention. The Masters Essay should be written under the direction of your advisor or another appropriate faculty member.

Students intending to pursue a PhD in Political Science at the University at Albany may satisfy the writing requirement of the Master of Arts degree by successful completion of the PhD comprehensive examination, which requires defense of a dissertation prospectus that itself constitutes a major research and writing project.

Note: There are no language, quantitative, or comprehensive examination requirements for the Masters of Arts. However, students intending to enter the PhD program are required to take POS 516, the graduate scope and methods course required for the PhD degree and to undertake work in a modern foreign language or quantitative methods to satisfy the doctoral tools requirement. Students intending to pursue a Ph.D are also advised to take at least one additional field seminar (as the PhD program requires four field seminars in total to be completed as part of a candidate's requirements).

Master's Application to Candidacy

Students who expect to complete requirements for a degree at the end of a particular session must file a Degree Application request with the Registrar during the final registration period. If for some reason a degree is not awarded after application is made, it is necessary to file another Degree Application Request the following semester when all requirements are expected to be met.