Best Graduate Degrees for Politics

There are several graduate degree programs that would prove useful for those intending to enter the field of politics. We'll explore a few of those programs.

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There are a number of graduate degree programs that are either within the field of politics or closely related to it. These programs may be well-suited for individuals who have already obtained a bachelor's degree in a related field as well as for those who are interested in transitioning to politics or possibly beginning a politically related career. We will look at a few graduate degree options related to politics in greater detail.

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Graduate Degrees in Politics

Choosing among the various graduate degrees in politics-related fields could be a tough choice, but hopefully your specific interests and career goals will help make the choice a little easier. Below we will look at some key details about each program to understand how each is unique.

Master of Arts in Political Science

A Master of Arts in Political Science program generally takes three semesters to complete and provides students with a broad overview of the political science field with a core curriculum, while also often allowing students to specialize depending on their interests through elective courses or concentration tracks. Some of these concentration options include political economy, public policy, and political theory. Many programs allow students to either pursue the non-thesis track or the thesis track, in which they would be required to write and present a research thesis. Possible courses could include approaches to the study of politics, political economy of development, and public policy analysis.

Master of International Affairs

Typically a two-year program, the Master of International Affairs degree program is designed to prepare students for a future in fields like public policy, international security, or global politics, among other options. Students in these programs will usually have the option to specialize by interest area, like political development or security policy, or by the geographical area they are most interested in, like Latin America or China. Core courses in these programs generally include economics, quantitative methods or statistics courses, and international politics.

Master of Arts in American Government

A Master of Arts in Government program can be completed in as little as one year through accelerated programs or completed on the more standard 2-year track. This program is well-suited for individuals who are most interested in domestic politics and governmental systems and prepares them for a number of careers as future lobbyists, academics, and politicians. Core classes in these degree programs usually include American politics, foreign policy, and political development.

Master of Public Affairs

A Master of Public Affairs, or MPA, program is designed for students who wanted an in-depth look at the process of governmental policymaking. Programs can be completed in one or two years, depending on the school, and focus on topics like negotiation strategy, economic and financial analysis, and management. Students will also learn about some of the most important issues in public policy today and how they are being combated. Common courses include policy economics, policy development, and public management.

Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy

For students who have a particular interest in the areas of law and diplomacy, they may want to consider pursuing a 2-year Master of Arts degree program in these fields. This program provides students with an in-depth overview of some of today's most pressing issues in the areas of law and diplomacy, but also focuses on related topics like politics, law, business, and economics. Students in these programs may have the option of completing additional concentrations in areas like human security and international development. Possible courses in the program could include conflict resolution, comparative politics, and comparative legal systems.

General Admission Requirements for Graduate Degrees in Politics

While each program may have slightly different admission requirements, in general students must possess a bachelor's degree in order to qualify for a master's program. This degree can typically be in a wide variety of fields and doesn't necessarily have to relate to politics. In addition to submitting an application, applicants must also submit their transcripts, a personal statement, and resumé. Some programs may also require standardized test scores like the GRE, have a minimum GPA requirement, or may require that students have a background in foreign language, depending on the specific degree program.

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