MA Political Science

You will receive a rigorous introduction to graduate study in political science through this program. Within the four main sub-fields of the discipline, you can craft a program that meets your individual interests. You will also enjoy a very low student-to-faculty ratio.

Program Description

Degree Awarded: MA Political Science

The MA program in political science offers a variety of areas of specialization within and between the four main sub-fields of political science --- American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory --- with particular strengths in ethno-religious dynamics, women and politics, conflict and human rights, and Latino politics.*

Faculty also conduct research and teach in the areas of political psychology and political economy, and many are active in collaborative inter-disciplinary research at ASU and with scholars at other universities; many have won major grants and awards. The school is host to the Center on the Future of War, the Center for Latina/os and American Politics Research and an experimental lab.

This Master of Arts program may be taken as a terminal program or as a step toward eventual fulfillment of the requirements for the doctorate. Students who plan to obtain the doctorate at ASU should apply directly to the doctoral program.

*Students interested in a political theory specialization should consult with the academic unit prior to application.

Courses and electives

  1. All candidates must take POS 503 and the core courses in the student's major field.
  2. A maximum of six credit hours in approved courses may be taken outside the department.
  3. Six credit hours of reading and conferences (POS 590) or independent study (POS 592) may count toward the 30 credit hour requirement.
  4. Additional hours must be taken in graduate-level courses and seminars each semester until coursework is completed.

At a Glance: program details

Degree Requirements

Required Core Course (3 credit hours)
POS 503 Empirical Political Inquiry (3)

Other Requirements (6 credit hours)
focus area course (3)
POS 603 Polimetrics I or second focus area course for political theory (3)

Electives (15 - 21 credit hours)

Culminating Experience (0 - 6 credit hours)
POS 599 Thesis (6) or
portfolio (0)

Additional Curriculum Information:
Students selecting the thesis option must submit a written thesis and hold an oral defense. Students selecting the portfolio option must submit a written paper and hold an oral defense.

The course POS 603 Polimetrics I (3) may be substituted with permission of both the director of Graduate Studies and the faculty advisor. Students in the political theory focus area will take a second focus area course instead of POS 603.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree in any field from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

The GRE requirement is being waived for fall 2023 admissions.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. personal statement
  4. writing sample
  5. three letters of recommendation
  6. list of political science courses taken
  7. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of current residency.

To assist in evaluating all candidates, the applicant should list titles and related information for all previous undergraduate and graduate courses or coursework in political science or related fields. The file must be saved in a .pdf, .doc, .rtf or .txt format and uploaded with the online graduate admission application. The information should be in a table with the following column headings: Course Title, Undergrad Credit Hours, Graduate Credit Hours, Grade, Institution, Year.

Undergraduate coursework in political science is not a prerequisite for admission. However, master's degree students should have a basic understanding of elementary statistics and the undergraduate content of the political science fields of concentration that they wish to study. Students should allow sufficient time to acquire such a background.

Application deadlines:

Fall Admission - January 2nd

Applications not complete as of the deadline may not be considered. We do not offer Spring admissions.

Political Science Applicant FAQs

Core Courses (3 credits)

POS 503 - Empirical Political Inquiry

Research methods and techniques of the discipline, emphasizing empirical foundations and analytic methods employed in subfields.

Electives and Research (21 – 27 credits)

If your field is American Politics:

  • POS 603 - Polimetrics I
  • POS 530 - American Politics
  • Two electives in American Politics

If you field is Comparative Politics:

  • POS 603 - Polimetrics I
  • POS 550 - Comparative Politics
  • Two electives in Comparative Politics

If your field is International Relations:

  • POS 560 - International Relations
  • POS 603 - Polimetrics I
  • Two electives in International Relations

Culminating Experience (6 credits)

POS 599 – thesis option

Students selecting the Portfolio option will complete the 30 required credits through elective courses in addition to POS 503 and major degree requirements.

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Flexible Degree Options

Accelerated program options

This program allows students to obtain both a bachelor's and master's degree in as little as five years.
It is offered as an accelerated bachelor's and master's degree with:

Acceptance to the graduate program requires a separate application. During their junior year, eligible students will be advised by their academic departments to apply.

Global Opportunities

Global Experience

With over 250 programs in more than 65 countries (ranging from one week to one year), study abroad is possible for all ASU students wishing to gain global skills and knowledge in preparation for a 21st-century career. Students earn ASU credit for completed courses, while staying on track for graduation, and may apply financial aid and scholarships toward program costs.

Program Contact Information

If you have questions related to admission, please click here to request information and an admission specialist will reach out to you directly.