Political Science MA

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College : Sciences Degree :MA
Department : Political Science Option : Thesis, Nonthesis
Program Websites : http://politicalscience.cos.ucf.edu/,


The Master of Arts in Political Science program prepares students to enter positions in government and the private sector in which the ability to comprehend, influence, and respond to government policy is critical and prepares interested students for pursuit of a PhD degree in Political Science or International Relations at other institutions.


A Program of Study in the Master of Arts in Political Science consists of the following course work. Students have the option of  completing a thesis with 27 hours of coursework or choosing the nonthesis option with 33 hours of coursework.
Total Credit Hours Required:
33 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor's Degree

Required Courses—12 Credit Hours

  • POS 6736 Conduct of Political Inquiry (3 credit hours)
  • POS 6746 Quantitative Methods in Political Research (3 credit hours)

Choose two of the following courses.

  • POS 6045 Seminar in American Politics (3 credit hours)
  • INR 6007 Seminar in International Politics (3 credit hours)
  • CPO 6091 Seminar in Comparative Politics (3 credit hours)
  • POT 6007 Seminar in Political Theory (3 credit hours)

Elective Courses—15 Credit Hours

  • [Listing determined by catalog changes]

Thesis Option—6 Credit Hours

All MA students are automatically placed in the nonthesis option. Students wishing to write a thesis must get approval to do so.

  • POS 6971 Thesis (6 credit hours)

After completion of the required course work and passing of comprehensive exams, the student must have a thesis advisory committee approved by the department and Graduate Studies. The thesis committee consists of a chair and two other faculty members from the Political Science department who are members of the Graduate Faculty. On the approval of the thesis chair and Graduate Program Director, one of the committee members (but not the chair) may come from outside the Political Science Department.

When a thesis topic has been selected, students, in conjunction with their thesis committee, will develop a thesis proposal. Copies of the proposal will be sent to members of their thesis committee and a proposal hearing scheduled in the first semester the student enrolls for thesis hours. All students must pass a proposal hearing as well as a final oral defense of their thesis.

Once enrolled in thesis hours, students should maintain continuous enrollment (3 credit hours) each semester up to and including the semester in which they defend the thesis.

In addition to department guidelines for the thesis, students should also become familiar with the university's requirements and deadlines for organizing and submitting the thesis.

Nonthesis Option—6 Credit Hours

The student must complete 6 additional credit hours of course electives in their respective areas. Thesis hours, if already taken, will not count for course credit for the 6 additional credit hours of coursework.

  • Electives (6 credit hours)
  • Complete an independent research project/paper

During the final semester of coursework, the student must have a nonthesis advisory committee approved by the department and Graduate Studies. The nonthesis committee consists of a chair and one other faculty member from the Political Science department. On the approval of the thesis chair and Graduate Program Director, one of the committee members (but not the chair) may come from outside the Political Science Department.

    The student must complete an approved article-length independent research paper (minimum 8,000 words inclusive or 25 pages). The project/paper must have a component of original, independent research; it cannot be a literature review or research design only. The project/paper can be a product of a graduate research seminar and/or independent study paper. The student will present their research publicly at a department research colloquium or other public academic forum such as paper presentation at an academic conference. The project/paper must be evaluated by and receive formal confirmation of completion from the nonthesis advisory committee, the graduate coordinator, and the department chair.

    If the paper is to be presented at a department research colloquium, the student is responsible for scheduling the presentation in consultation with the nonthesis advisory committee. They must register for the nonthesis option at least six weeks prior to the date of presentation.

    Comprehensive Examination

    All candidates for the MA degree must take a comprehensive written examination. The examination will be administered after satisfactory completion of the required course work, and must be taken prior to enrollment in thesis hours.

    The exam is designed to demonstrate proficiency in research methods and will consist of two parts. Part I will involve the critique of an article from a political science journal.  The article will be assigned by the department’s Graduate Methods Committee in consultation with the student and where possible will be based on the student's substantive areas of interest. Part II will involve questions based on data analysis using either SPSS or STATA.

    The examination will be offered once semester. Dates will be set by the department. Students must register to take the exam at least six weeks prior to its scheduled date.

    Students not passing any part of the examination may take this part a second time within one calendar year on the dates that comprehensive exams are regularly scheduled. However, no student will be allowed to take the examination more than twice.

    Equipment Fee

    Full-time students in the Political Science MA program pay a $39 equipment fee each semester that they are enrolled. Part-time students pay $19.50 per semester.

    Application Requirements

    For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online. All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.

    In addition to the general UCF graduate application requirements, applicants to this program must provide:

    • One official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended.
    • Official, competitive GRE score taken in the last five years.
    • Three letters of recommendation, attesting to the applicant’s ability to think analytically and to communicate clearly.
    • A personal statement of 500 words identifying areas of research interest in political science, faculty with whom they would like to work, and describing the applicant's academic and professional experiences and future career goals.

    Student wishing to enroll in graduate courses in political science must meet the department’s requirements for graduate status (either regular or conditional graduate status) or must hold regular graduate status in another program at UCF. Students who have not been accepted into a degree-seeking program at UCF may not enroll in political science graduate courses.

    Meeting minimum UCF or departmental admission criteria does not guarantee program admission. Final admission is based on evaluation of the applicant's abilities, past performance, recommendations, and the applicant's potential for completing the degree.

    Application Deadlines

    Political Science MA *Fall Priority Fall Spring Summer
    Domestic Applicants Jan 15Jul 15Dec 1Apr 15
    International Applicants Jan 15Jan 15Jul 1Nov 1
    International Transfer Applicants Jan 15Mar 1Sep 1Dec 15
    *Applicants who plan to enroll full time in a degree program and who wish to be considered for university fellowships or assistantships should apply by the Fall Priority date.


    Graduate students may receive financial assistance through fellowships, assistantships, tuition support, or loans. For more information, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website, which describes the types of financial assistance available at UCF and provides general guidance in planning your graduate finances. The Financial Information section of the Graduate Catalog is another key resource.


    Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit to highly qualified students. They are paid to students through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on instructions provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Fellowships are given to support a student’s graduate study and do not have a work obligation. For more information, see UCF Graduate Fellowships, which includes descriptions of university fellowships and what you should do to be considered for a fellowship.