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M.A. Degree Requirements

Master of Arts in Political Science Degree Requirements

The Department of Political Science at GSU offers students the option of completing a terminal masters degree. The Department offers the following concentrations of study:

  • General Political Science
  • International and Comparative Politics
  • American Politics
  • Public Law
  • Professional Political and Governmental Practices

All graduate students must be registered for a minimum of three (3) semester hours the semester of completion of all degree requirements.

Degree requirements for specific concentrations are as follows:

General Political Science (33 hours)

  1. Required Methods Sequence:
    • POLS 8800 Elements of Research Design (3)
    • POLS 8805 Introduction to Quantitative Analysis (3)
    • Either POLS 8810 Uses of Intermediate Statistical Methods in Political Science Research or POLS 8840 Qualitative Research Methods (3).
  2. Six additional graduate courses. Students should take one course each in three of the five major areas of study. Two of these courses may be taken outside the department, with the advance approval of the Directors of Graduate Studies. These areas include:
    • American government and politics
    • Comparative politics
    • International politics
    • Political theory
    • Public law
  3. Thesis Option:
    • A minimum of six hours of POLS 8999 Thesis Research.
    • A thesis, written following successful defense of proposal before three-member faculty committee chosen by the student in consultation with the departmental Director of Graduate Studies.
    • A thesis defense.
  4. Non-Thesis Option (Students wishing to pursue a doctoral degree should not choose this option):
    • Six additional hours of graduate courses in Political Science.
    • A research paper completed according to departmental guidelines and supervised and approved by a 2-member faculty committee chosen by the student in consultation with the departmental Director of Graduate Studies.

Specialization in American Politics (33 hours)

  1. Required Methods Sequence:
    • POLS 8800 Elements of Research Design (3)
    • POLS 8805 Introduction to Quantitative Analysis (3)
    • Either POLS 8810 Uses of Intermediate Statistical Methods in Political Science Research or POLS 8840 Qualitative Research Methods (3).
  2. POLS 8100 Seminar in American Politics (3)
  3. Five additional graduate courses in the area of American Politics (POLS 6100-6180, POLS 8100-8180). Two of these courses may be taken outside the department, with the advance approval of the departmental Director of Graduate Studies.
  4. Thesis Option:
    • A minimum of six hours of POLS 8999 Thesis Research.
    • A thesis, written following successful defense of proposal before three-member faculty committee chosen by the student in consultation with the departmental Director of Graduate Studies.
    • A thesis defense.
  5. Non-Thesis Option (Students wishing to pursue a doctoral degree should not choose this option):
    • Six additional hours of graduate courses in American politics.
    • A research paper completed according to departmental guidelines and supervised and approved by a 2-member faculty committee chosen by the student in consultation with the departmental Director of Graduate Studies.
Specialization in International and Comparative Politics (33 hours)

  1. Required Methods Sequence:
    • POLS 8800 Elements of Research Design (3)
    • POLS 8805 Introduction to Quantitative Analysis (3)
    • Either POLS 8810 Uses of Intermediate Statistical Methods in Political Science Research or POLS 8840 Qualitative Research Methods (3).
  2. POLS 8200 Comparative Political Analysis (3)
  3. POLS 8400 International Politics (3)
  4. Four courses chosen from the areas of comparative (POLS 6200-6280, POLS 8200-8280) and international politics (POLS 6400-6480, POLS 8400-8480). Two of these courses may be taken in other departments with the advance approval of the departmental Director of Graduate Studies.
  5. Thesis Option:
    • A minimum of six hours of POLS 8999 Thesis Research.
    • A thesis, written following successful defense of proposal before three-member faculty committee chosen by the student in consultation with the departmental Director of Graduate Studies.
    • A thesis defense.
  6. Non-Thesis Option (Students wishing to pursue a doctoral degree should not choose this option):
    • Six additional hours of graduate courses in comparative and international politics.
    • A research paper completed according to departmental guidelines and supervised and approved by a 2-member faculty committee chosen by the student in consultation with the departmental Director of Graduate Studies.
Specialization in Public Law (33 hours)

  1. Required Methods Sequence:
    • POLS 8800 Elements of Research Design (3)
    • POLS 8805 Introduction to Quantitative Analysis (3)
    • Either POLS 8810 Uses of Intermediate Statistical Methods in Political Science Research or POLS 8840 Qualitative Research Methods (3).
  2. One of the following courses: Either POLS 8100 Seminar in American Politics, POLS 8200 Comparative Political Analysis or POLS 8400 International Politics (3).
  3. POLS 8140 Judicial Process & Policy Making (3).
  4. POLS 8145 Law, Courts & Policy (3).
  5. One of the following courses: Either POLS 8427 International Human Rights, POLS 6220 Comparative Legal Systems, or POLS 8130 Constitutional Theory (3).
  6. Choose one additional Public Law or Public Law-related course (3). One course may be taken in a different political science concentration with the advance approval of the departmental Director of Graduate Studies. Potential courses include, but are not limited to:
    • POLS 6130 Constitutional Law
    • POLS 6131 Civil Rights & Liberties
    • POLS 6420 International Law
    • POLS 6425 International Criminal Justice
    • POLS 8421 International Institutions & Organizations
  7. Choose one elective course in consultation with the departmental Director of Graduate Studies (3). Two of the above courses may be taken outside the department, with the advance approval of the departmental Director of Graduate Studies.
  8. Thesis Option:
    • A minimum of six hours of POLS 8999 Thesis Research.
    • A thesis, written following successful defense of proposal before three-member faculty committee chosen by the student in consultation with the departmental Director of Graduate Studies.
    • A thesis defense.
  9. Non-Thesis Option (Students wishing to pursue a doctoral degree should not choose this option):
    • Six additional hours of graduate courses in comparative and international politics.
    • A research paper completed according to departmental guidelines and supervised and approved by a 2-member faculty committee chosen by the student in consultation with the departmental Director of Graduate Studies.

Specialization in Professional Governmental and Political Practices (33 hours)

Based on the belief that career paths in public service and politics require individuals to have multiple professional and political skills, the department offers this concentration. This program also offers students the ability to gain hands-on experience with an experiential learning project requirement, as well as multi-disciplinary learning by encouraging students to take related courses in other departments within the University. This program is offered as a terminal degree with a non-thesis option.

  1. Required Methods Sequence (6):
    • POLS 8800 Elements of Research Design (3)
    • POLS 8805 Introduction to Quantitative Analysis (3)
  2. Each student should take 6 additional courses from the following areas of practice. Additional research methods courses can be counted under any of the three practice areas. [Note: Potential class options are listed under each practice area] (18):
    • Political Communication & Campaigning
      1. Public Opinion & Attitudes
      2. African-American Political Participation
      3. Comparative Electoral Systems
      4. War & Public Opinion
      5. Theories of Democracy
      6. Electoral Behavior
      7. Campaign Organization and Management
      8. Political Parties and Interest Groups
    • Federal Practices, Policy Analysis & Political Economy
      1. Seminar in American Politics
      2. Judicial Process & Policy Making
      3. Courts, Law & Policy
      4. American Legislative Process
      5. Presidential Politics
      6. International Political Economy
      7. Political Economy of Development
      8. U.S. Foreign Policy
      9. Theories of Democracy
      10. Comparative Political Economy
    • International & Comparative Practices
      1. Comparative Democratization
      2. Politics of Peace
      3. NGOs & World Politics
      4. Transitional Justice
      5. Ethics of International Relations
      6. International Law
      7. Political Development
      8. International Organizations
      9. U.S. Foreign Policy
  3. Experiential Learning Project (9)  - Students must complete one experiential learning project for 9 credit hours; students may choose to find an internship with an organization or political campaign or create another experiential learning project related to their field of study. All experiential learning projects must receive the advance permission of the Director of Graduate Studies before students will be allowed to register for PolS 8995 (Administrative & Policy Internship) hours. Students may choose to take an additional graduate-level course (3 hours), and thus complete a 6 hour experiential learning project, with the advance permission of the Director of Graduate Studies. 
  4. We encourage students to take courses in other departments within the University. Up to three courses (9 hours) in departments outside of Political Science may be used if relevant and with advance permission of the departmental Director of Graduate Studies.
  5. A non-thesis research paper completed according to departmental guidelines.

Once students have decided whether to pursue a thesis or non-thesis option they must complete a Declaration of Intent Form.

Students may pursue the degree as either full or part time students. Part time students should be aware of the University's continuous enrollment policy