Master of Arts Requirements

The MA consists of 33 hours of coursework, made up of the following:

Core Courses (12 hours) required of all students:

POLS Y570 - Introduction to the Study of Politics
POLS Y580 - Research Methods in Political Science
POLS Y657 - Comparative Politics or Y669 - International Relations 
POLS Y661 - American Politics

Electives (12 hours) include the following:

POLS Y630 - State Executive Politics 
POLS Y640 - State Parties and Interest Groups 
POLS Y642 - Comparative Federalism  
POLS Y680 - Readings in Political Science

Relevent electives (a maximum of six hours) may also be taken outside the department.

Research skill. Students must have either reading knowledge of a foreign language (to be indicated by completion of a second-year undergraduate equivalent course, or by testing out in an approved examination) or proficiency in quantitative research skills (to be indicated by completion of an advanced research methods graduate course in political science or another approved discipline).

A thesis (6 hours). Students should enroll in POLS Y880 - M.A. thesis.

Grades. Students must receive a grade of B- or better in any course for it to count toward the MA. In order to continue enrollment in the program and to receive the degree, students must maintain a grade point average of B (3.0) or better. No undergraduate courses may be applied to the MA program.

Recommended course schedule. We prefer that students start the program in the fall so that they can take Y570 before or alongside other courses, but it is possible to start in the spring on the understanding that Y570 should be taken as soon as possible thereafter. Y580 is normally scheduled every spring, and we recommend that students do not take it until they have taken Y570.


What are the requirements for the Political Science MA?

33 hours of credit, made up of 12 hours in required courses, 6 hours of thesis, and the balance in electives.

Can I transfer credits from another program?

Yes - up to nine hours, subject to approval of the Department.

Can I take courses outside the department?

Yes - up to six hours, as long as they relate to political science, and subject to the approval of the Department.

Can I take the program part-time?

Definitely, and in fact the program is designed around the needs of part-time students.

How long does it take to complete the MA?

It is possible, working full-time, to complete it in one year, but two years is more usual. There is a five-year maximum allowed by the university.

What happens if I am unable to complete the MA within the five-year maximum?

Extension of the five-year time limit is covered in the IU Graduate School Bulletin. Extensions are only permitted in cases of clear and convincing need.

How often are each of your graduate courses offered?

The four required courses are each offered annually, and most other courses once every 2-3 years.

At what time of day do you offer courses?

In order to meet the needs of part-time students, almost all our courses are offered on weekday evenings (except Fridays).

Do you offer graduate courses in the summer?

No. However, you can take thesis, internship and independent readings courses in the summer, or perhaps find courses in other departments or programs.

Is there a minimum GPA requirement for the program?

Yes, to remain in good academic standing, students must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA, and no grade less than a B- will count towards your graduate degree. 

How much does the program cost?

You can find information on tuition costs at Costs and Finances.

Is there funding support available?

The Department has limited funding available for students to work with faculty as graduate assistants, but there are also many scholarships available throught the university. Visit Scholarship Central for more information.

What can I do with an MA in political science?

There are numerous possibilities, ranging from continuing on to a PhD program or law school, teaching, working in government, working for non-profits or research groups, or working in business. For more ideas, visit our What can you do with a Political Science MA page.