Political Science, MA

The MA program in Political Science at Arizona State University is unique because of its sustained commitment to mentorship. The exceptionally small size of our MA program – with incoming cohorts of less than five students – provides students with regular opportunities to work directly with our faculty. Students receive the best of both worlds: they have access to all the resources that come with being at the largest university in the US, while having the one-on-one attention that only a small program can offer.  

The program of study emphasizes a strong foundation in research methods and substantive content, while nonetheless allowing students to craft an individualized program of study that meets their own interests under faculty guidance. Our diverse and distinguished faculty have a demonstrated commitment to excellence in both their research and their teaching. 

1.5:1 student faculty ratio
9 students per class on average
Thesis and portfolio options

Degree Overview

The MA program in political science provides advanced education for students preparing for teaching, research or applied careers in political science in government, non-profits and the private sector. This degree program may be taken as a terminal program or as a step toward eventual fulfillment of the requirements for the PhD. Students who plan to obtain the doctorate at ASU should apply directly to the doctoral program. The program requires 30 credit hours and a portfolio, or 30 credit hours and a thesis

How to apply

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

All applicants must submit the following on the graduate admissions page:

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

 *ASU accepts unofficial transcripts when submitted with the online Graduate Admissions application. This is the only way unofficial transcripts will be accepted. Emailed transcripts are not acceptable. Please note that only one transcript document can be uploaded to the application, so applicants should combine multiple transcripts into one PDF document before uploading. If you are admitted to ASU, you will be required to send official transcripts to Graduate Admissions. See our FAQ page for further information and address to send official transcripts.

"Three main motivations led me to select the political science MA program at ASU: the program’s focus on women and politics, the exceptional professors, and the quality of education."

- Kathryn Schauer, graduate student


A minimum of 30 credit hours is required for the degree. This program includes two options:a thesis or portfolio (non-thesis).

If the thesis option is followed, the program must include six credit hours of thesis (POS 599).

Requirements and electives


Core courses


Electives and research


Culminating experience (thesis track only)


Total hours required


For additional program information, please see the Student Handbook.

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.

POS 503 - Empirical Political Inquiry

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

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

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.