May 16, 2021
The degree is designed both to enlarge and deepen the competence of political science students. It is especially planned for the professional improvement and advancement of high school and community college teachers, government employees and military personnel. It also prepares students for entering a doctoral program in political science or for law school. The M.A. program provides training and preparation for journalists, special librarians and research staffers and for all people active in civic affairs and political life.
Admission to Graduate Standing - Conditionally Classified
Students must meet the CSU requirements for admission to a master’s degree program. Please consult the Graduate Admissions section in this catalog for complete information.
In addition, acceptance into the M.A. in the political science program requires a grade-point average of 3.0 in the major field and in all political science courses. If the major is not in one of the social sciences, the GPA requirement also applies to upper-division social science courses taken. If a student’s GPA does not meet these criteria, the student may appeal to the department’s graduate committee for a waiver.
Normally, admission to the master’s program requires that a student possess a bachelor’s degree in political science, a minor in political science or a major in an allied social science field with a minimum of 15 units of political science courses. For those without such a background, the M.A. Coordinator may require the applicant to take a group of upper-division political science courses at the 300 and/or 400 level (not more than nine units of which will be at the 300 level) prior to admission to the program. This requirement is to assure that the student will be prepared for graduate-level work in the discipline of political science.
In addition to the above requirements, applicants need to submit a writing sample to the M.A. Political Science Coordinator.
Graduate Standing - Classified
A student admitted to conditionally classified status may apply for classified standing, which requires development of an approved study plan prior to completion of nine units. Refer to the “Graduate Regulations ” section of this catalog for further information on classified standing and general study plan requirements.
Each candidate for a degree should, in consultation with the graduate adviser, arrange for the appointment of a graduate committee, composed of three faculty members, one of whom will serve as chair. This committee will approve the study plan, conduct the examination(s) and supervise the thesis if the student chooses that option. As a requirement for admission to classified standing, the student, in cooperation with the graduate program adviser, must develop a study plan of 30 units of coursework:
Required Seminar Work (18 units)
Students are required to take a minimum of one political science seminar each semester until completion of the entire sequence.
Scope and Theory of Political Science
American Politics/Public Affairs
One course must be from List A. A second course may be from either List A or List B
Cross-National Politics (6 units)
These classes may normally be in a student’s chosen area of specialization. They may include, where appropriate, POSC 599 (6 units maximum). No more than nine units taken prior to classified standing may be applied to a student’s study plan. No more than nine units taken at another institution may be transferred, and these must be approved by the adviser, committee and Office of Graduate Studies.
Culminating Experience (0-6 units)
Each candidate must demonstrate one of the following:
- Reading knowledge of a relevant foreign language. Students must complete this requirement by passing an examination or coursework; or
- Proficiency in quantitative research skills, including data analysis and research design, as demonstrated by successful completion of POSC 501 , or its equivalent.
Culminating Experience Requirements for the M.A. in Political Science
Students select one of the following three options to complete the program, after consulting with the program adviser.
- Comprehensive written and oral exams in: (a) the scope and theory of political science; (b) American politics/public affairs; and (c) cross-national politics. All three sections must be successfully completed or the entire examination must be retaken. The examination has a written and an oral component. A student who does not pass the written portion is ineligible to take the oral component. The examinations may be retaken only once after an initial failure.
- A thesis completed in accord with university regulations on theses, to include an oral defense. This option may be especially desirable for students planning on further graduate work at the doctoral level. Students selecting this option may take up to six units in thesis credit.
- Completion and oral defense of a project, including a required oral defense and possible class presentations, depending on the project topic. Students selecting this option may take up to six units of credit associated with completing the project. The project option is intended for students interested in community college teaching or in working in practical politics.
For advisement and further information, consult the M.A. in Political Science adviser.