MA Degree Requirements


The Masters of Arts in Political Science program is tailored to develop substantive knowledge about politics and society in our students, and to train them in the cognitive skills necessary to understand and analyze political phenomena. Our primary focus is to prepare our graduate students with the substantive depth and research skills for entry into Ph.D. programs and academic careers.

Additionally, we seek to prepare our students with the advanced substantive mastery, as well as research, critical, analytical, and communication skills for successful careers in politics and government, public administration, law, business, education, community service, survey research, and journalism.  Students in the M.A. program are expected to complete coursework and develop a basic knowledge in the major sub-fields of political science:

American Politics: Students specializing in American government study the current and classical scholarly literature in American government regarding Congress, presidency, courts, elections, public opinion, interest groups, and parties.

Comparative Politics: This subfield exposes the student to theories and approaches concerning relationships between states and society and how governments function throughout the world. OSU faculty members have area specialties focusing on the Europe (including the European Union), Central Asia, Latin America, and Africa.

International Relations: The international relations subfield concerns the relationships between and among states, nongovernmental organizations, intergovernmental organizations, as well as U.S. foreign policy. Areas of focus include international political economy, the United Nations, international organizations, and security.

To meet these expected competencies, M.A. students must complete the following course and research-related requirements:

Research-Related Requirements

    • RCR Certification: The graduate college requires all students to complete The Social and Behavior Responsible Conduct of Research certification their first semester.
      • Click here to download a guide for proper course selection. 
      • Click here to be directed to the online training module.
    • Plans of Study: Students must complete a preliminary plan of study (POS) before completion of their 17th credit hour. For more information regarding Online Plan of Study Form, click here.
      • Note:  The Final POS must be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator within the first two week of the semester that the student intends to graduate.

Course Requirements

The MA degree in Political Science requires a total of 33 hours of course credit:

    • 6 hours from core methods courses Research Design and Quantitative Methods.
    • 9 hours from pro-seminars in each of the three major sub-fields.
    • 6 hours of thesis coursework.
    • 6 hours of electives.

In addition to the coursework requirements, a student must defend the thesis orally before their faculty committee.  In all their coursework, the M.A. student must maintain a minimum 3.0 grade-point average, with only one grade of "C" allowed.

A brief desciption of our M.A. courses are available on our website.