BA/MA in Political Science

Political science explores the concerns and issues that animate public life. Using both humanistic and scientific approaches, it studies how political communities attempt to reconcile the claims of justice, power, liberty, and authority.

Our students focus on the study of politics while advancing their skills in writing, analytical thinking, and quantitative reasoning. For our most advanced students, we offer the chance to pursue advanced coursework in the final year of undergraduate study, write a thesis under the supervision of a faculty mentor, and graduate with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in as little as four years.

For information on application requirements and deadlines, please see the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences’ BA/MA and BA/MS Program Application website. Applicants must have completed four political science courses, including one course at the CAS PO 505 level or higher, by the time of application. Students should have a minimum GPA of 3.0 overall and 3.5 in the major. Also required for application are two faculty recommendation letters (at least one of which needs to come from a Political Science faculty member), a completed Plan of Study form signed by the Political Science Academic Advisor, and the student’s research statement indicating their purpose for entering the program and their proposed thesis research to be submitted with the application forms.


The BA/MA program of study must be approved by the director of advanced programs or the academic advisor, as must any subsequent changes.

Students must complete all the requirements for a BA in Political Science in addition to the requirements for the MA in Political Science. A minimum of 36 four-unit courses is required for the BA/MA program with a total required minimum of at least 144 units by the end of their final term senior year.

Required MA Courses

Required coursework includes:

  • At least two graduate-level field seminars from among CAS PO 711, 751, 771, and 791
  • Two methods courses from among CAS PO 501, 502, 599, 841, 842, 843, and 844
  • And four elective courses at the CAS PO 505–598 level

MA Thesis Requirement

The thesis will consist of a piece of unique scholarship endeavored as an extra project with one faculty member. Students will expect to meet once or more per term with the faculty member reviewing and commenting on at least two drafts of the paper. After these revisions, the single thesis advisor will grade the thesis on a Pass/Fail basis. There is no grade-bearing component for the research and writing of the thesis paper. It should be distinct from the graduate coursework.

For specific information concerning the program, contact the Department of Political Science. For general information regarding the BA/MA program, please refer to the BA/MA and BA/MS Programs section of this Bulletin.