Graduate Studies

Master of Arts Program

Admission Requirements

Applicants for admission to the MA program must submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination general test. Additional information is in the Academic Policies section of this catalog. Applications for fall semester admissions must be complete by April 1. Applications for spring semester admission must be complete by October 1.

Degree Requirements

Plans I and II

M.A. students may follow either Plan I, requiring students to complete 27 credit hours of course work, 6 credit hours of PSC 599 Thesis Research, a written comprehensive examination in their major field, a thesis, and a final oral examination of the thesis.; or Plan II, requiring 33 hours of coursework and a written comprehensive examination.

Course requirements

Under either plan, students must take courses in three of five fields, including a core seminar in each. The available fields are American politics, comparative politics, international relations, public policy and administration, and political theory. Plan I students take 9 hours in the major field and 6 in each of two minor fields; Plan II students take 12 hours in the major field and 6 in each of two minor fields. The core seminars are PSC 610 Core Seminar in American Politics, PSC 631 Seminar in Comparative Politics, PSC 642 Concepts and Theories of International Relations, PSC 651 Political Theory Seminar, and PSC 565 Survey of Public Administration. Course descriptions may be found in the UA Graduate Catalog.

All students must complete PSC 521 Research Design and PSC 522 Quantitative Methods in Political Science I (or approved substitutes).

Comprehensive examination

The written comprehensive examination will cover the student’s major field and will require integration of material across courses in the field.


After passing the written examination, a student following Plan I should prepare a thesis prospectus, which should describe the substance and methods of the thesis research, outline the thesis itself, and provide a preliminary bibliography. Once the prospectus has been approved, the chairperson will formally appoint a committee of three faculty members to supervise the thesis. The student must submit four copies of the completed thesis and must take a final oral examination to defend it and show competence in the field in which it lies. Except in unusual circumstances, the final oral examination must be taken during the fall or spring semester and before final course examinations begin. After the examination, the student must deposit two copies of the approved thesis with the Graduate School and two copies with the department.