Program: M.A., Political Science

American Politics

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 unclassified 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 457BPOLS 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, 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: Tom Hogen-Esch
Sierra Hall (SH) 210
(818) 677-3488

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

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will demonstrate:

  1. Knowledge of the arguments of some of the defining figures of political theory, both ancient and modern, as well as exposure to theoretical models in political and social research based on the interpretations of these philosophers.
  2. Familiarity with the breadth and diversity of the literature, models, approaches, theories and intellectual traditions within at least two chosen subfields of the discipline.
  3. Competency in research skills appropriate to the political science discipline. This includes a broad range of methodologies both quantitative and qualitative.
  4. Ability to analyze and critique the research of others and evaluate competing methods of inquiry.
  5. Written communication skills including: (a) appropriate use of grammar, style and structure; (b) ability to marshal evidence and argue a central thesis effectively; (c) ability to present ideas and arguments clearly and logically; and (d) ability to assimilate, incorporate and document source materials.