Political Science Master of Arts Degree Program

Please note, Political Science courses will be changing from 4 to 3 credits effective Fall 2020.

Requirements and Program of Study

The Master of Arts program may be pursued either as a terminal degree or as the first phase of a Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Required Courses

To receive the degree Master of Arts, a student must successfully complete a minimum of thirty-one credits. The MA will include a core of data and research courses to build skills appropriate for an M.A. or Ph.D. program. Students must take POS 516 (Introduction to Political Inquiry) and either POS 517 (Quantitative Research Methods) or POS 618 (Qualitative Methods).

Program Requirements (31 credits):

Core courses:

  • POS 516 - Introduction to Political Inquiry 
  • POS 517 - Quantitative Research Methods  OR
  • POS 618 - Qualitative Methods

Capstone Requirement:

  • POS 698 - Master's Capstone 

Elective Requirement - 21 credits

Additional graduate courses must be completed, up to the required minimum 31 credits. We strongly recommend that students accumulate the remaining 21 credits through a systematically organized group of courses that enable focus and specialization. More information about suggested specialization is available on the department’s website and in the graduate student handbook. Courses in the Department of Political Science, or in other departments, must be approved as relevant to student's course of study by their academic advisor and the Political Science Director of Graduate Studies. 

Master's Capstone

Students completing a terminal master's degree must complete POS 698, Master's Capstone. The master's capstone requirement is either 1) a unified major research project resulting in a finished written product completed under the supervision of a faculty advisor, or 2) the compilation of a portfolio of shorter written works that, taken together, demonstrate the capacity to conduct research and communicate the results effectively at the graduate level. The portfolio may contain substantially revised papers from previous coursework that give the students the opportunity to showcase their research skills.

Each student is required to select a faculty advisor in the first semester of graduate study, and to register that choice with the Director of Graduate Student Services prior to registering for the following semester's courses.

Doctoral Students Pursuing the Master's Degree

Students pursuing a master's degree who have been admitted to the PhD program at the University at Albany may substitute successful completion of the PhD comprehensive examination (in both a major and second field) and dissertation prospectus defense for the master's capstone requirement. Students intending to enter the PhD program are advised to take both POS 517 and POS 618.

Please note: This program offers an internship, field experience, study abroad component, or clinical experience in the course listing as an option to fulfill course requirements. Students who have previously been convicted of a felony are advised that their prior criminal history may impede their ability to complete the requirements of certain academic programs and/or to meet licensure requirements for certain professions. If you have concerns about this matter please contact the Dean’s Office of your intended academic program.