Program: Political Science, M.A.

American Politics Option

Program Description

The graduate program in Political Science is a liberal arts program based upon superior undergraduate preparation. It requires a higher level of achievement and places greater emphasis on independent study and research than does the baccalaureate program. Department evaluation and approval are required for admission to either classified or conditionally classified graduate standing. Additional information regarding classification standing is listed in the program requirements below and in the Graduate Programs section of this Catalog.

Areas of specialization offered are as follows:

American Government and Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Methodology, Political Theory, Public Policy and Administration, and Public Law.

Program Requirements

A. Admission Requirements

  1. Completion of University requirements for admission to graduate standing.
  2. Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university.
  3. Two letters of recommendation.
  4. GPA of at least 3.0 in all undergraduate courses.
  5. GPA of at least 3.0 in last 60 units of all coursework.
  6. Statement of purpose specifying research interests, academic and professional background, and career objectives. Applicants without a bachelor’s degree in political science should explain why they believe they can complete a graduate program in the field.
  7. Unofficial transcripts of all college-level undergraduate and graduate work done at all institutions attended.
  8. One-page resume showing dates of education and work experience.
  9. Writing sample (e.g., an academic paper from an advanced undergraduate course).

B. Reclassification from Conditional to Classified Status

Requirements for Classified Status

Conditionally Classified Status

  • Students who do not meet all the University classification requirements at the time of application are conditionally classified upon admission (see University policy on conditionally classified status). Conditionally classified students must classify before or within completion of 12 units in the program.

Courses Acceptable for the Master’s Degree

  • The 400-level courses listed in American Politics Option Courses below carry credit for the master’s degree.
  • All 500-level graduate seminars in Political Science carry credit for the master’s degree.

(Note: The 300-level courses in Political Science do not carry credit for the master’s degree in Political Science.)

C. Degree Requirements

1. Core Requirements (18 units)

POLS 570 Seminar in Political Theory (3)
POLS 571 Seminar in Methodology (3)

Seminar in American Politics (6 units)
Choose two of the following seminars:

POLS 540B-J Seminar in American Government and Politics (3)**

Seminar in International Relations and/or Comparative Politics (6 units)
Choose two of the following seminars:

POLS 522A-G Seminar in International Relations (3)
POLS 530A-J Seminar in Comparative Government (3)

**Courses taken in the core curriculum must not overlap with courses in the American Politics option.

2. American Politics Option Courses (12 units)

Choose four additional courses (12 units) from POLS 540A-J Seminar in American Politics.

A maximum of two courses (6 units) can be substituted with the following 400-level courses: POLS 403, POLS 404, POLS 405, POLS 406, POLS 407, POLS 440, POLS 441, POLS 441A, POLS 443, POLS 444, POLS 445, POLS 446, POLS 447APOLS 448, POLS 449DC, POLS 449PR, POLS 450, POLS 455, POLS 457A, POLS 457B, POLS 460, POLS 461, POLS 462, POLS 463, POLS 465, POLS 466, POLS 467, POLS 469/L, POLS 471A, POLS 471E, POLS 471F, POLS 494I/A, POLS 494J/A.

3. Culminating Experience (3 units)

POLS 698D Graduate Culminating Project (3)

Total Units Required for the M.A. Degree: 33


Department of Political Science
Chair: Tyler Hughes
Sierra Hall (SH) 210
(818) 677-3488

Graduate Coordinator: Alexandra Cole Macias
(818) 677-7484

Program Learning Outcomes

Students receiving a Master of Arts in Political Science will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate persuasive and rhetorical communication skills for strong oral and written communication in small and large groups.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge and theories relevant to global politics and policies. This includes knowledge of Western and non-Western political systems, the role of state and nonstate actors, processes, values and models of politics and patterns of interaction among them.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding and respect for economic, socio-cultural, political and environmental interaction of global life.
  4. Understand the importance of active citizenship and civic engagement in a democratic society.
  5. Apply an understanding of historical and contemporary policy issues to problems in the community.
  6. Demonstrate an ability to apply prior knowledge to their coursework, experiential learning programs, internships or community service projects.
  7. Demonstrate increasingly sophisticated skills in reading primary and secondary sources critically.
  8. Identify, present, and support arguments.
  9. Research and evaluate the models, methods and analyses of others in the field of political science, and critically integrate them in their own work.
  10. Demonstrate an understanding and knowledge of policy issues and the political institutions through which public policies are formulated, modified, and implemented in national, state, or urban contexts.
  11. Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of political elites and the mass public and how they interact in the decision-making process in national, state, or urban settings.
  12. Demonstrate a working knowledge of research designs, hypothesis formulation, measurement of variables, data collection, and analysis.
  13. Have an in-depth understanding of historical and contemporary power structures, the effects they have on political outcomes and marginalized groups in society, and be familiar with the struggle for inclusion.