Political Science Master of Arts Degree Program

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-two 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 RPOS516 (Introduction to Political Inquiry) and either RPOS517 (Quantitative Research Methods) or RPOS618 (Qualitative Methods).

Program Requirements (32 credits):

Core courses:

  • RPOS516 - Introduction to Political Inquiry (4)
  • RPOS517 - Quantitative Research Methods (4) OR
  • RPOS618 - Qualitative Methods (4)

Capstone Requirement:

  • RPOS698 - Master's Capstone (4)

Elective Requirement - 20 credits

Additional graduate courses must be completed, up to the required 32 credits. We strongly recommend that students accumulate the remaining 20 credits through a concentration, or a systematically organized group of courses that enable focus and specialization. More information about suggested concentrations are available on the department’s website and in the graduate student handbook. Can this include courses from other disciplines? If so can we add text such as “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.” No more than 12 credit hours toward the M.A. may be taken on an S/U basis without permission of the Graduate Program Director or department chair.

Master's Capstone

Students completing a terminal master's degree must complete RPOS 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 pre-registration 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 Ph.D. program at the University at Albany may substitute successful completion of the Ph.D. comprehensive examination (in both a major and second field) and dissertation prospectus defense for the master's capstone requirement. Students intending to enter the Ph.D. program are advised to take both RPOS 517 and RPOS 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.