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Master's in Political Science Programs in California

Oct 09, 2019

This article discusses five options for obtaining a master's degree in political science in the state of California. Credit hour requirements vary with each school, as well as thesis and exam requirements.

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There are numerous options for graduate school in the state of California. Political science is offered at many locations. Five of these programs are discussed in this article at programs that are concentrated on master's level academics.

Universities in California offering Master's Degrees in Political Science

University of California - Riverside

The University of California's Riverside campus offers a Master of Arts in Political Science program that requires 36 credit hours and is designed for students who are looking to acquire a PhD in political science down the road. Students have the option of doing a comprehensive exam or thesis, although the majority students complete the comprehensive examination path. In this track, students must be pass an exam in one of five fields: comparative politics, international relations, American politics, mass political behavior, or political theory in order to obtain the MA.

California State University - Fullerton

The Fullerton location affiliated with California State University offers a 30-credit hour MA in Political Science. The program culminates in a comprehensive exam, a thesis, or an oral defense. Students take courses in topics like American politics, public administration, American political institutions, and managing local government. The program can help prepare students for a PhD program or law school as well as prepare students for careers in politics and civic affairs.

California State University - Northridge

CSU - Northridge offers several concentrations for their MA in Political Science program. Students can choose from options in international relations, American government and politics, political theory, comparative politics, public policy and administration, methodology, and public law. This program has a 33-credit hour requirement. A culminating project where students create a conference paper, journal article, or other academic writing accounts for the last 3 credit hours required for this program.

Stanford University

Stanford's MA in Political Science program has a 45 credit hour requirement. There are five fields within political science that students could choose to focus their degree on: international relations, comparative politics, American politics, political theory and political methodology. Students must pick at least two and can complete no more than 25 credit hours can be in one discipline. Stanford does not require a thesis and students must maintain 2.7 in all graduate coursework. This program is only open to current Stanford University doctoral or professional school students.

Claremont Graduate University

Claremont Graduate University offers an Master of Arts in Politics with two routes: a 48-credit hour route of all coursework and a 36-credit hour route with a research paper at the end. Areas of concentration include American politics and political philosophy, and the program takes 1.5 to 2 years to complete. The curriculum consists of 4 core course requirements, 8 units in research, and 20 units in one of three tracks: political thought & development, national institutions, or individual & collective behavior. Students are encouraged to take courses from multiple tracks.

Admittance Requirements for MA in Political Science Programs

Many school prefer their political science graduate program applicants to have a bachelor's degree in a similar field, though this is not always required. A 3.0 undergraduate GPA is the general guideline for application to these programs. Some programs may require as many as three letters of recommendation and a personal statement. GRE scores and transcripts are standard documents requested as part of the application process.

The options for obtaining a master's degree in political science in California vary greatly depending on the program a student selects. When evaluating programs, students should take into account the programs specialization options and if the degree requires a thesis or culminating project.

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