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Political Science Master's Degrees

The Political Science Department at the University of Utah seeks graduate students who are both motivated and able to succeed in political science study and research. Students with substantial preparation in political science or another social science are most likely to meet this standard, although the department has admitted applicants from other disciplines who can demonstrate, through relevant interests and experience, the abilities necessary for advanced work in political science. The fit between applicants' interests and the research expertise of our faculty is also an important consideration during the admissions process. Although there are no specific course prerequisites for our graduate program, applicants must have completed at least a bachelor's degree.

The department offers a variety of courses that effectively introduce students to major research issues, plus others that encourage advanced research. Graduate degrees promote career advancement for certain types of jobs and are the prerequisite for faculty appointments at the college and university levels. Students take classes (seminars) in different subfields of the discipline: International Relations, Comparative Politics, American Politics, Public Administration or Political Theory.

For complete information concerning the Master's Degree Program, consult the Master's Handbook.

General Information

Completion with at least a B average (3.0) of a minimum of 30 credit hours of approved graduate course work with a minimum of 21 hours of approved graduate work in political science. A minimum of 9 of these hours are taken in the student's major field, 6 hours in the minor field.

Graduate students are required to complete at least nine hours of elective course work either within or outside the department.

Completion of POLS 6003, Approaches to the Study of Politics, and POLS 6001, Quantitative Analysis in Political Science.

Successful completion of the University's requirement of one language at standard proficiency or better for MA candidates. MS candidates will be required to take additional course work in research methods as approved by the student's committee.

Successful completion of a master's thesis or master's essay. Students writing a thesis must take at least 6 semester hours of thesis research, while students writing a master's essay take additional hours of course work at the 6000- or 7000-level. The master's essay may be a seminar paper that has been substantially revised before being submitted to the supervisory committee.

Successful completion of the final oral defense of the thesis or essay.

Master's candidates are expected to complete the degree within two calendar years after admission to the program.

Master's Program Requirements

Once properly completed, all forms should be returned to the Graduate Program Coordinator:

Select three faculty members for a supervisory committee by the end of the second semester of graduate work.

Each faculty member should indicate his or her willingness to serve on the committee by signing the Graduate Supervisory Committee Form (you will need one copy of the departmental form for each member of the committee). Also, each member of the committee should initial the Graduate School's Request for Supervisory Committee Form.

Meet with supervisory committee during your second semester to plan your program of study.

Complete course work.

Meet with supervisory committee to discuss master's essay topic.

At that meeting the department's Master's Essay/Thesis Proposal Committee Approval Form is signed by all committee members.

File the Master's Application for Admission to Candidacy for the Master's Degree two months before the start of the semester you plan graduate.

Master of Arts graduate students file "Language Verification" form with the Department of Languages and Literature (not required for students seeking the MS degree).

Work with the chair of your supervisory committee to write and revise your master's paper.

Schedule the final oral defense of your master's paper with the members of your supervisory committee. Be sure to provide each faculty member a completed copy of your paper at least two weeks in advance of the date for the final defense.

Revise master's paper as required by supervisory committee.

File the Report of the Final Examination for the Master's Degree.


Last Updated: 8/26/16