Class

Political Science Graduate Degree Requirements

The Department of Political Science offers a Master of Arts degree in Political Science. The Department is not accepting applications for the Ph.D. or M.A.T. degree programs at this time.

The Master of Arts in Political Science is a terminal degree for students intending to pursue careers in politics at all levels of government and in nongovernmental organizations. The M.A. program is designed to equip students with the analytical skills and substantive knowledge necessary for engaging in applied politics, public affairs, and public policy study. Students in the M.A. program are exposed to the discipline of political science, specifically focusing on how political science theories underpin the systematic study of the behavior of political actors and processes in the American context and globally. Special emphasis is placed on developing the student’s understanding of the frameworks for active participation in governance, issue advocacy, law and legal affairs, and public policy research, while developing the research, analytical and writing skills essential for public leaders.


Requirements for Admission to the M.A. Program

I. General Admission Requirements of the Graduate School. In order to obtain regular graduate standing, the applicant must have:

  1. A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.

  2. A 2.75 undergraduate grade point average (on a 4.00 scale) in all coursework at the institution awarding the baccalaureate degree. In addition, applicants with prior graduate study must have a 3.00 grade point average in that work. Transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work are required.

  3. Application for admission to the M.A. program in political science is made directly to the Graduate School.

II. Department Admission Requirements for M.A. Program. In addition to the general Graduate School admission requirements, the applicant must meet the following departmental qualifications:

  1. Completion of at least 18 undergraduate semester credit hours (27 quarter hours or the equivalent thereof) in political science, or at least 12 semester hours in political science and 12 semester hours (or the equivalent thereof) in other social sciences. The required undergraduate credit hours must include an introductory course in political science or the American political system. If the applicant’s undergraduate training does not meet these requirements or does not include adequate background, he or she may be required to take additional work as a pre-requisite or co-requisite to the normal degree requirements.
  2. Achievement of a grade point average of at least 3.00 (on a scale of 4.00) in undergraduate coursework in political science, or in political science and other social sciences if the undergraduate training only includes limited work in political science. Exceptions may be made when other factors indicate a clear potential for success in graduate study in political science.
  3. Submission of three letters of recommendation from undergraduate political science professors or others qualified to evaluate the applicant’s potential to succeed in graduate work in political science.
  4. Submission of scores on the Graduate Record Examination General Test. The Advanced Test in Political Science is not required. In cases where a substantial hardship would occur for a prospective student as a result of compliance with this requirement, an exemption may be requested.
  5. Submission of a personal statement of approximately two pages in which the applicant describes her or his career objectives and how an M.A. in political science would contribute to the applicant’s future success. The applicant should also discuss which one of the three concentrations offered by the Department interests her or him.
  6. Submission of a writing sample in the form of a writing sample in the form of a writing assignment from an undergraduate Political Science course or some similar writing sample.

III. Department Admission Requirements for the Combined BA-MA Program. The Department of Political Science offers outstanding undergraduate students the opportunity to earn both the bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The program of study for the M.A. is the same as for students admitted to the regular M.A. program. Application must be made to the Graduate School and applicants must meet all Graduate School requirements for admission. Additionally, the applicant must meet the following departmental qualifications:

  1. Completion of 64 hours toward the bachelor’s degree with a 3.25 grade point average in all undergraduate coursework.

  2. Completion of 17 hours of political science coursework with a 3.5 grade point average in that coursework, including at least 9 hours at the 300 level or above before starting the combined program.

  3. Submission of three letters of recommendation from undergraduate professors who can evaluate the applicant’s potential to succeed in graduate work in political science. At least one letter must be from a faculty member of the Department of Political Science.

  4. Submission of a personal statement of approximately two pages in which the applicant describes her or his career objectives and how an M.A. in political science would contribute to the applicant’s future success. The applicant should also discuss which one of the three concentrations offered by the Department interests her or him.

  5. Submission of a writing sample in the form of a writing assignment from an undergraduate political science course or some similar writing sample.

  6. GRE scores are not required for the combined B.A.-M.A. program.

  7. Nine hours of coursework can double count toward both degrees.


Requirements for the M.A. Degree

I. Required Credit Hours, Grades and Courses:

  1. A minimum of 30 graduate credit hours is required for the M.A. Not more than 10 semester hours beyond the minimum 30 hours required for the degree may be attempted and applied toward the degree.

  2. A grade point average of at least 3.00 (on a scale of 4.00) must be maintained.

  3. The following required core courses (12 hours) must be completed:
    - 601 Foundations of Political Analysis (3 hours)
    - 602 Research and Writing for Political Scientists (2 hours)
    - 603 Introduction to Quantitative Methods (2 hours)
    - 604 Public Policy Research (2 hours)
    - 606 Final Project for Master’s Degree (3 hours) See item II below for more details

  4. A minimum of 9 graduate hours in political science must be completed in one of the following concentrations:
    - American Political System/Political Theory
    - Comparative Political Systems/International Relations
    - Public Administration and Policy Analysis

  5. A minimum of 9 graduate hours in political science must be completed from outside the concentration. Up to 6 hours of graduate work from outside the department may be counted toward this requirement with the approval of the graduate studies committee. Approval must be requested and given prior to taking the courses. Internship experience while in the program may count up to 6 hours toward this requirement with the approval of the graduate studies committee.

  6. All of the requirements for certification to conduct human subjects research must be completed. This requirement will be met with the successful completion of POL 602.

  7. Any research requiring contact with humans must be approved by the Institutional Review Board for Human Subjects Research. Work that does not have this approval may not be submitted for degree credit.

II. Final Project for Master’s Degree. A final project for the M.A. degree must be completed. The final project is an independent research project resulting in a written report or formal paper. The final project must be successfully defended in a meeting of the final project committee.

  1. Completion of this requirement includes enrollment in POL 606.

  2. The final project is written under the direction of a political science faculty supervisor in the student’s field of concentration. The faculty supervisor must have Level A Graduate Faculty Standing. The final project must be approved by a committee consisting of the faculty supervisor and two political science faculty members serving as readers. The faculty readers must have at least Level B Graduate Faculty Standing.

  3. In the semester before you plan to graduate, the student and faculty supervisor must agree on the topic for and scope of the final project. In consultation with the supervisor, the student must invite two political science faculty members to serve as readers. The student then must complete and file the appropriate form with the graduate director for approval of the final project and committee. A one-page description of the final project must be attached to the form. All of this must be completed and approved before the end of the last day of classes.

  4. When writing the final project paper, students should adhere to the following important guidelines:
    • For your final project paper, you should propose, conduct, and communicate an independent, professional-level investigation into a problem in a specific political science sub-discipline and thereby contribute to the political science knowledge base.
    • Your paper should identify and apply a methodology, design, and analysis that is appropriate for the problem that you are examining.  An understanding of the ethical components of research choices should also be evident, especially if one is doing research with human subjects.
    • Your paper should apply political science knowledge to a contemporary political issue or problem and should identify and evaluate alternative political science-based solutions.
    • Your paper should formulate, propose, and advocate a political science-based solution to a contemporary political issue or problem.
    • The paper should be 8,000-10,000 words (not including references), double-spaced, with l-inch margins all around, and with a standard 12-point font such as Times New Roman.
    • APSR style guidelines should be used for citations and references.  This means that in-text parenthetical citations should be used.  For example: (Potter 2012, 186).  A list of references -- formatted in APSR style -- should be included at the end of the paper.  For information on how to format references, see http://www.apsanet.org/APSR-Submission-Guidelines-August-2016.
  5. A penultimate draft of the final project must be submitted to the faculty readers no less than two weeks prior to the formal defense of the project.

  6. The formal defense of the final project and any revisions required by the committee, as discussed in the defense meeting, must be completed two weeks prior to commencement. The student is responsible for scheduling this defense with the committee members.

  7. Students are urged (but not required) to create a professional conference-quality poster on their final project which can then be presented and discussed during the defense.
  8. After the final project has been defended and then approved by all committee members, an electronic copy of the final project paper should be emailed, as a Word document, to the Political Science graduate administrative staff employee in the Department of Political Science.

III. Typical Schedule for Program of Study. The following is the typical schedule for completion of the M.A. program. Variations may occur for students receiving credit for work outside the department or for internship experience, and for students in the combined BA-MA. program. The core courses are only offered on this schedule and must be taken in the specified order.

Fall Semester (15 hours)

- 601 Foundations of Political Analysis (3 hours)
- 602 Research and Writing for Political Scientists (2 hours)
- 603 Introduction to Quantitative Methods (2 hours)
- 604 Public Policy Research (2 hours)
- Concentration 1 (3 hours)
- Elective 1 (3 hours)

Spring Semester (15 hours)

- Concentration 2 (3 hours)
- Concentration 3 (3 hours)
- Elective 2 (3 hours)
- Elective 3 (3 hours)
- 606 Final Project for Master’s Degree (3 hours)

IV. Time Limitation. Work for the M.A. degree should be completed within the course of study outlined above. In exceptional cases, the graduate studies committee may allow part-time work toward the degree, but in all cases students must start the program with the Fall core courses of POL 601, POL 602, POL 603, POL 604. The M.A. degree must be completed within five years of its beginning.

V. Application for Graduation. The student must apply for May graduation early in the spring semester. The student is responsible for checking with the Commencement Office for the graduation application deadline and for ensuring that all requirements have been met or will be met for the degree.

VI. Administrative Items:

  1. Advising: The Department’s graduate studies director serves as the faculty advisor for all of the Department’s graduate students. The graduate studies director is available to help each student select concentration and elective hours. In addition, once a student has a faculty supervisor for the final project, he or she should also be consulted with when the student is selecting concentration and elective hours. Although the student is responsible for understanding and meeting the requirements for the degree, the graduate studies director, the faculty supervisor for the final project, and other members of the Department are available to the student for whatever assistance and advice that may be required.

  2. Incompletes: It is the strong recommendation of the Department that graduate students avoid taking incompletes. When work in courses cannot be completed before the end of the semester a grade of “I” (incomplete) is assigned. If a graduate student does not complete work for the course and remove the “I” from her or his record by the last day of classes of the next semester, the Graduate School automatically converts the “I” to a permanent grade of “F.” Until the “I” is completed the Graduate School automatically averages the “I” into the student’s grade point average as an “F.” 

  3. Credit-No Credit Registration: No courses which a student intends to use to satisfy the requirements for the M.A. degree may be taken on a credit-no credit basis.

VII. Academic Integrity. The Department of Political Science is committed to academic integrity and adheres to and supports the standards endorsed by the Graduate School and Miami University. In the broadest terms, the Graduate School describes these standards in A Handbook for Graduate Students and Faculty as follows: 

Miami University is a scholarly community whose members believe that excellence in education is grounded in qualities of character as well as of intellect. We respect the dignity of other persons, the rights and property of others, and the right of others to hold and express disparate beliefs. We believe in honesty, integrity, and the importance of moral conduct. We defend the freedom of inquiry that is the heart of learning and combine that freedom with the exercise of judgment and the acceptance of personal responsibility.

Miami demands the highest standards of professional conduct from its students, faculty, and staff.  As a community of scholars, our fundamental purpose is the pursuit of knowledge.  Integrity in research and creative activities and in academic study is based on sound disciplinary practices and expectations, as well as a commitment to the values of honesty and integrity.

The Department will adjudicate cases of suspected academic dishonesty using the established procedures of the Department, Miami University, and the Graduate School as outlined in A Handbook for Graduate Students and Faculty. For a detailed discussion of academic integrity issues, consult A Handbook for Graduate Students and Faculty at http://miamioh.edu/graduate-school/governance-guidelines/index.html

Application Deadline:

November 1 (Spring) and May 1 (Fall)

Want more information?

Email the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Brian Danoff at danoffbf@miamioh.edu

Revised July 2017