Students at Empire Plaza

Master of Arts

Political Science

Program of Study

The MA program in political science requires a minimum of 31 credits. You will complete three core courses, as well as a masters capstone. Enroll in additional graduate courses in political science, public administration and policy or other relevant fields to accumulate the remaining credits.

Core Courses (6 credits)

  • Introduction to Political Inquiry
  • Quantitative or Qualitative Research Methods


Master's Capstone (3-4 credits)

Choose one of the following options:

  • Research project and written report
  • Portfolio of shorter academic papers

Electives (21 credits)

To get the most out of the program, you are encouraged to pursue a track in American politics; applied American politics (elections, lobbying, and advocacy); justice, democracy, and law; law and politics; or public policy. 

You may choose to fulfill some electives by completing an internship with the state legislature or an election campaign committee, government agency, nonprofit organization, or lobby firm.


More Information

See the Graduate Bulletin for details.

Graduate Student Handbook

For more information, contact Jaclyn Napoleon at [email protected] or 518-442-5247, or [email protected].

Track of Study Requirements
American Politics

This track provides you with a practical education on the functioning of American governmental systems. It is recommended if you're interested in a career in any facet of public employment or with non-governmental organizations that interface with government.

In this track, you get to choose:

  • Three courses in institutions, political processes and lobbying, and state and local politics.

Sample subjects: American political development; chief executive office; federalism; women and politics; government and mass media; community politics.

  • Two political science or public administration and policy courses.

Sample subjects: constitutional law, founding of the American national government; citizen participation; urban community development; U.S. housing policy; inequality and public policy; politics of environmental regulation.

Applied American Politics (Elections, Lobbying, and Advocacy)

This track is recommended if you're interested in pursuing a career in elections, lobbying, and/or other forms of government advocacy. The coursework is similar to the American politics track, except three electives should focus on legislative process, political parties, political behavior, campaigns and elections, politics of organized interests, or legislative or campaign internship.

Justice, Democracy, and Law

This track is advised if you're interested in questions of justice, equality, inclusion, citizenship and basic rights as well as the role of the state in affecting these fundamental principles. It allows you to strengthen your understanding of theory to prepare for law school or a politically focused legal career.

Coursework includes:

  • Field Seminars in Political Theory AND Public Law
  • Choose two: Political Philosophy; Contemporary Political Theory; American Political Theory
  • Choose two: Constitutional Law; Civil Rights and Civil Liberties; Law and Policy; Law and Society
Law and Politics

This track provides you with advanced coursework and training in the study of law from multiple perspectives.

It serves three different groups of students. First, if you aspire to attend a highly competitive law school to have the opportunity to engage in advanced study of law before applying, and to encounter a broader set of perspectives than might typically be included in a JD degree. Second, if you hope to pursue a PhD you can gain relevant course work and skill development to ease that transition. Finally, the track provides you with strong writing and analytical skill development. 

Coursework includes:

  • Field Seminar in Public Law
  • Judicial Power
  • Law and Society
  • Choose two: Constitutional Law; Civil Rights and Civil Liberties; Law and Policy; Election Law; Justice Reform in Latin America
Public Policy

If you're interested in politics and public policy, this track gives you the skills and substantive knowledge to understand and analyze the politics of public policy. Unlike a traditional MPP degree, which focuses on policy analysis, or an MPA degree, which focuses on administration and management, the MA in political science with a concentration in public policy provides you with a broader approach to policy for work in government, non-profits, or for companies on policy-related issues. 

Coursework includes: 

  • Quantitative AND Qualitative Methods
  • Research Design
  • Field Seminar in Public Policy
  • Comparative Public Policy
  • State and Local Policy
  • One or more courses in subjects such as inequality, migration, foreign policy, and politics of health policy.
Career Outcomes

The MA in Political Science prepares you for careers in both the public and private sectors.

Sample job titles: political aide, research coordinator, state assembly or congressional staff, lobbyist/liaison, nonprofit administrator, government watchdog analyst, public servant.

Victor Asal with research interns

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without Rockefeller College and its world-class faculty, challenging courses, professional development programs, and important internships.”

- Peter W. Brusoe, BA ’03, MA ’04, PhD

Office of Career Development

The Office of Career Development offers comprehensive career counseling services, including helping students and alumni identify rewarding public affairs careers. We provide résumé writing and job search advice from the initial search through acceptance of a position. Within six months of receiving their degrees nearly all of our graduates are working in a position in their chose field. In addition, many of our students are accepted into prestigious postgraduate fellowship programs such as the New York State Excelsior Service Fellowship; many of these opportunities lead to permanent employment.


Yalitza Negron
Director of Internships and Career Services
[email protected]
Milne 105 | 518-442-5253

Admissions Requirements


Departmental Assistantship Consideration

Fall: February 1
Spring: Not Available
Summer: Not Available

No Departmental Assistantship Consideration

Fall: June 15
Spring: December 1
Summer: Not Available

Required Application Materials
  • Transcripts from all schools attended
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Resume
  • Statement of goals
    The statement is generally one to two pages discussing what you have to offer the program and what you wish to get out of the program.  It should include a brief description of the applicant's field of interest, related background, desired area of study and research emphasis or career goals.
  • Official GRE scores
    While we do not require the GRE, the admissions committee will be looking for signs the applicant can complete all necessary coursework, which requires strong writing and analytic skills as well as competency in statistics. If an applicant’s record of prior coursework does not demonstrate these abilities (through the absence of any courses with a substantial quantitative component, for instance), the applicant might benefit from submitting GRE scores or having letter writers specifically address such skills in their recommendation letters. 
Special Notes

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 applicants have concerns about this matter please contact the Dean’s Office of the intended academic program.

Student Learning Objectives

Learning objectives that UAlbany students are expected to attain through their course of study within their academic program.

Path 1: Professional Education and Training
  • To provide deep, focused knowledge of the core values that shape the lives and institutions of a society.
  • To provide the knowledge of how governmental and non-governmental institutions are influenced by those core values and, in turn, help to shape them.
  • To provide the methodological and analytic skills necessary for understanding the interaction among public-sector institutions and their relationship to civil society.
  • To provide the leadership skills and tools needed for successful service and careers in public-sector organizations.
Path 2: Advanced Graduate Work in Political Science
  • To provide a knowledge of political science’s relationship to other academic disciplines.
  • To provide deep, focused knowledge of the core values that shape the lives and institutions of society.
  • To provide knowledge of how governmental and non-governmental institutions are shaped by those core values, and, in turn, help to shape them.
  • To provide the methodological and analytic skills necessary for understanding the interaction among public-sector institutions and their relationship to civil society.
  • To provide research and classroom experience necessary to pursue successful academic careers in higher education.