3350 Political Science

Programs Offered:

  • Master of Arts in Political Science
    • General Political ScienceConcentration in American Politics
    • Concentration in International and Comparative Politics
    • Concentration in Professional Political and Governmental Practices
  • Dual B.A./M.A. in Political Science
  • Dual M.A. in Political Science and Master of International Business (in cooperation with Robinson College of Business)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science

Department of Political Science
1005 Langdale Hall
Tel: 404/413-6159
Fax: 404/413-6156
E-mail:  polsci@gsu.edu
politicalscience.gsu.edu

Carrie Manning, Chair
Amy Steigerwalt, Director of Graduate Studies

The purpose of the Master of Arts (M.A.) degree program is to guide students in the development of analytical and critical capabilities through inquiry into political and governmental processes. The objective of the program is to provide education for persons interested in pursuing careers in research, teaching, or the professional practice of public service and politics. Students can choose a degree program that will provide them with a general knowledge of the discipline, or one that will provide them with a specialization in American politics, international and comparative politics, or the professional practices of government and politics.

A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) prepares students for careers in research and teaching. Students enhance their skills by furthering their knowledge of the literature of the discipline, increasing their methodological ability, and writing a publishable dissertation. The Ph.D. program produces scholars who are experts in their substantive field of study and who are able to combine theoretical sophistication with methodological rigor.

Applicants may obtain additional information about the Department of Political Science by contacting the Director of Graduate Studies at the addresses above.

Additional Admission Requirements

In addition to the general requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Political Science has the following requirements:

  1. Applicants to the M.A. degree program must:
    1. Submit acceptable scores on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical sections of the GRE.
    2. Have a 3.0 cumulative undergraduate grade-point average and the equivalent of at least a minor in political science.
    3. Submit two letters of recommendation from individuals who can evaluate the applicant’s potential to do graduate work in political science.
    4. Submit official transcripts from all colleges and/or universities applicant has attended.
    5. Submit a statement of research interest and goals for political science degree.
    6. Submit a writing sample demonstrating graduate level research capabilities
  2. Applicants to the Ph.D. degree program must:
    1. Submit acceptable scores on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical sections of the GRE.
    2. Have a 3.3 cumulative master’s grade-point average and substantial prior coursework in political science, preferably with a thesis.
    3. Submit three letters of recommendation from individuals who can evaluate the applicant’s potential to do graduate work in political science.
    4. Submit official transcripts from all colleges and/or universities attended.
    5. Submit a statement of research interests and goals for political science degree.
    6. Submit a writing sample demonstrating graduate level research capabilities
    7. Applicants who intend to pursue comparative politics as their major field should have at least one year of college level training in a foreign language.

Degree Requirements

Both masters and doctoral students must be registered for a minimum of three (3) semester hours the semester of completion of all degree requirements.

Master of Arts (33 hours)

  • General Political Science
  • Concentration in American Politics
  • Concentration in International and Comparative Politics
  • Concentration in Professional Political and Governmental Practices
  • Specialization in Public Law
  • Joint Master of Arts in Political Science and Master of International Business

General Political Science (33)

  1. Required Methods Sequence (9 hours)
    1. POLS 8800 Elements of Research Design (3)
    2. POLS 8805 Introduction to Qualitative Analysis (3)
    3. Either POLS 8810 Uses of Intermediate Statistical Methods in Political Science Research or POLS 8840 Qualitative Research Methods (3). Students who wish to substitute another course for the third required methods course (either POLS 8810 or POLS 8840) may do so with advance permission of the departmental Director of Graduate Studies.
  2. Six additional graduate Political Science courses (18 hours). Students should take one course in three of the five major areas of study. These areas include American government and politics, comparative politics , international politics, political theory and public law. Two of the six courses may be taken outside the department, with the advance approval of the departmental Director of Graduate Studies.
  3. Thesis Option:
    1. A minimum of six hours of POLS 8999 Thesis Research.
    2. A thesis, written following successful defense of proposal before three-member faculty committee. The chair and at least one member of this committee must come from the department’s graduate faculty, but the third member may come from the graduate faculty of another department at Georgia State University or from among the department’s permanent non-graduate faculty.  Subject to the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, additional members beyond the required three may also come from outside the university, normally among members of the political science graduate faculty at an MA or PhD granting institution.
    3. A thesis defense.
  4. Non-Thesis Option (Students wishing to pursue a doctoral degree should not choose this option.):
    1. Six additional hours of graduate courses in political science.
    2. A research paper completed according to departmental guidelines. First readers on this paper should be chosen from among the department’s graduate faculty, but second readers may also be chosen from among the department’s permanent non-graduate faculty or from among the graduate faculty of other departments at Georgia State University, subject to the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.

Concentration in American Politics (33)

  1. Required Methods Sequence
    1. POLS 8800 Elements of Research Design (3)
    2. POLS 8805 Introduction to Quantitative Analysis
  2. Either POLS 8810 Uses of Intermediate Statistical Methods in Political Science Research or POLS 8840 Qualitative Research Methods (3). Students who wish to substitute another course for the third required methods course (either POLS 8810 or POLS 8840) may do so with the advance permission of the departmental Director of Graduate Studies.
  3. POLS 8100 Seminar in American Politics (3)
  4. Five additional courses  (15 hours) chosen from general American offerings, Public Law, American Institutions, or American Political Behavior (PolS 6100-6180, PolS 8100-8180). One course may be taken in a different political science concentration with the advance approval of the departmental Director of Graduate Studies. Two of these courses may be taken in another department with the advance approval of the departmental Director of Graduate Studies
  5. Thesis Option:
    1. A minimum of six hours of POLS 8999 Thesis Research.
    2. A thesis, written following successful defense of proposal before three-member faculty committee.
    3. A thesis defense.
  6. Non-Thesis Option (Students wishing to pursue a doctoral degree should not choose this option):
    1. Six additional hours of graduate courses in American politics (PolS 6100-6180, PolS 8100-8180)
    2. A research paper completed according to departmental guidelines

Concentration in International and Comparative Politics (33)

  1. Required Methods Sequence
    1. POLS 8800 Elements of Research Design (3)
    2. POLS 8805 Introduction to Quantitative Analysis
    3. Either POLS 8810 Uses of Intermediate Statistical Methods in Political Science Research or POLS 8840 Qualitative Research Methods (3). Students who wish to substitute another course for the third required methods course (either POLS 8810 or POLS 8840) may do so with the advance permission of the departmental Director of Graduate Studies.
  2. POLS 8200 Comparative Political Analysis (3) and POLS 8400 International Politics (3).
  3. Four additional courses (12 hours) chosen from the areas of comparative (PolS 6200-6280, PolS 8200-8280) and international politics (PolS 6400-6480, PolS 8400-8480). Two of these courses may be taken in other departments with the advanced approval of the departmental Director of Graduate Studies. One may be taken in a different political science concentration with the advanced approval of the departmental Director of Graduate Studies.
  4. Thesis Option:
    1. A minimum of six hours of POLS 8999 Thesis Research
    2. A thesis, written following successful defense of proposal before three-member faculty committee
    3. A thesis defense.
  5. Non-Thesis Option (Students wishing to pursue a doctoral degree should not choose this option):
    1. Six additional hours of graduate courses in comparative (PolS 6200-6280, PolS 8200-8280) and international politics (PolS 6400-6480, PolS 8400-8480).
    2. A research paper completed according to departmental guidelines.

Concentration in Professional Governmental and Political Practices (33)

Based on the belief that career paths in public service and politics require individuals to have multiple professional and political skills, the department offers this concentration. This program also offers students to ability to gain hands-on experience with an experiential learning project requirement, as well as multi-disciplinary learning by encouraging students to take related courses in other departments within the University. This program is offered as a terminal degree with a non-thesis option.

  1. Required Methods Sequence (6)
    1. POLS 8800 Elements of Research Design (3)
    2. POLS 8805 Introduction to Quantitative Analysis (3)
  2. Each student should take 6 additional graduate Political Science courses selected from the following three practice areas. Additional research methods courses can be counted under any of the practice areas. [Note: potential class options are listed under each practice area, but other courses may be used as well] (18):
    1. Political Communication & Campaign Practices
      • Public Opinion & Attitudes
      • Comparative Electoral Systems
      • War & Public Opinion
      • Theories of Democracy
      • Electoral Behavior
      • Campaign Organization and Management
      • Political Parties and Interest Groups
      •  African-American Political Participation
    2. Federal Practices, Policy Analysis & Political Economy Practices
      • Seminar in American Politics
      • Judicial Process & Policy Making
      • Courts, Law & Policy
      • American Legislative Process
      • Presidential Politics
      • International Political Economy
      • Political Economy of Development
      • U.S. Foreign Policy
      • Theories of Democracy
      • Comparative Political Economy
    3. International & Comparative Practices
      • Politics of Peace
      • NGOs & World Politics
      • International Law
      • International Development
      • International Organizations
      • U.S. Foreign Policy
      • Comparative Democratization
      • Transitional Justice
      • Ethics of International Relations
      • Political Development
  3. Experiential Learning Project (9 hours) – Students must complete one experiential learning project for 9 credit hours; students may choose to find an internship with an organization or political campaign or create another experiential learning project related to their main practice area. All experiential learning projects must receive the advance permission of the departmental Director of Graduate Studies before students will be allowed to register for POLS 8995 (Administrative & Policy Internship) hours. Students may choose to take an additional graduate-level course (3 hours), and thus complete a 6-hour experiential learning project, with the advance permission of the Director of Graduate Studies.
  4. We encourage students to take courses in other departments within the University. Up to three courses (9 hours) in departments outside of Political Science may be used if relevant and with advance permission of the departmental Director of Graduate Studies.
  5. A non-thesis research paper completed according to departmental guidelines
  6. Optional Certifications: Students may earn credentials in each of the following areas of professional political practice:
    1. Political Communication & Campaigning Practices
      • Requirements: Take five courses in Area A and earn a grade point average of 3.3 in those courses.
    2. Federal Practices, Policy Analysis & Political Economy Practices
      • Requirements: Take five courses in Area B and earn a grade point average of 3.3 in those courses.
    3. International & Comparative Practices
      • Requirements: Take five courses in Area C and earn a grade point average of 3.3 in those courses.

Specialization in Public Law (33)

  1. Required Methods Sequence
    1. POLS 8800 Elements of Research Design (3)
    2. POLS 8805 Introduction to Quantitative Analysis (3)
    3. Either POLS 8810 Uses of Intermediate Statistical Methods in Political Science Research or POLS 8840 Qualitative Research Methods (3). Students who wish to substitute another course for the third required methods course (either POLS 8810 or POLS 8840) may do so with advance permission of the departmental Director of Graduate Studies.
  2. Either POLS 8100 Seminar in American Politics, POLS 8200 Comparative Political Analysis, or POLS 8400 International Politics (3)
  3. POLS 8140 Judicial Process & Policy Making (3)
  4. POLS 8145 Law, Courts & Policy (3)
  5. Either POLS 8427 International Human Rights, POLS 6220 Comparative Legal Systems, or POLS 8139 Constitutional Theory (3)
  6. Choose one additional Public Law or Public Law-related course (3). One course may be taken in a different political science concentration with the advance approval of the departmental Director of Graduate Studies. Potential courses include, but are not limited to:
    1. POLS 6130 Constitutional Law
    2. POLS 6131 Civil Rights & Liberties
    3. POLS 6420 International Law
    4. POLS 6425 International Criminal Justice
    5. POLS 8421 International Institutions & Organizations
  7. Choose one elective course in consultation with the departmental Director of Graduate Studies (3). Two of the above courses may be taken in another department with the advance approval of the departmental Director of Graduate Studies.
  8. Thesis Option:
    1. A minimum of six hours of POLS 8999 Thesis Research.
    2. A thesis, written following successful defense of proposal before three-member faculty committee.
    3. A thesis defense.
  9. Non-Thesis Option (Students wishing to pursue a doctoral degree should not choose this option):
    1. Six additional hours of graduate courses in Public Law or Public Law-related courses.
    2. A research paper completed according to departmental guidelines.

Dual B.A./M.A. Program in Political Science

The department offers a dual Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Political Science. The dual degree opportunity enables qualified students to enroll in graduate courses late in their undergraduate program and apply the coursework toward both the bachelor’s and master’s programs.

Students must be formally accepted into the dual degree program by the department and College of Arts and Sciences to be able to take graduate courses as an undergraduate. Additionally, acceptance into the dual program does not constitute admission to the master’s program. Students must fulfill regular graduate admissions requirements and apply for the master’s program following college processes.

Information about the dual program, including application instructions and program requirements, can be found at cas.gsu.edu/dual-degrees/.

Dual Master of Arts in Political Science and Master of International Business

The purpose of this dual degree is to prepare students for business and/or governmental careers in the new global economy. Increasingly, international businesses in nation-states just as national politics and international agreements impact business operations. The joint curriculum that this program offers proposes to combine political economy and international processes in order to meet this emerging educational and professional need.

Each student must apply and be accepted separately to the graduate programs of the Department of Political Science and the Department of International Business. Students must complete the requirements for each degree. For students who are applying to the political science program as part of the dual degree program, GMAT scores may be submitted instead of GRE scores. Upon completion of the requirements, students will be awarded both a master’s in political science and a master’s in international business. The dual degree program allows students to use some courses in each department to satisfy the requirements of the other. Students reduce the total number of credit hours needed to complete both programs from 66 to 48 by pursuing the dual degrees. Please see the Master of International Business section for more information on the International Business degree.

Degree Requirements
  1. POLS 8800 Elements of Research Design (3)
  2. POLS 8805 Introduction to Qualitative Analysis (3)
  3. Either POLS 8810 Uses of Intermediate Statistical Methods in Political Science Research or POLS 8840 Qualitative Research Methods (3)
  4. POLS 8200 Comparative Political Analysis (3)
  5. POLS 8400 International Politics (3)
  6. Four additional courses (12 hours) from the areas of comparative and international politics. The Department of Political Science will accept the three required courses in the Master of International Business curriculum toward the 12 hours required for the elective coursework portion of the degree.
  7. A thesis completed according to departmental guidelines (students register for 6 hours of Thesis Research, POLS 8999), or a non-thesis research paper (requiring 2 additional courses in comparative or international politics) completed according to departmental guidelines.

Doctor of Philosophy

  1. POLS 8800 Elements of Research Design (3)
  2. POLS 8805 Introduction to Quantitative Analysis (3)
  3. POLS 8810 Uses of Intermediate Statistical Methods in Political Science Research (3)
  4. Either POLS 8830 Advanced Quantitative Methods or POLS 8840 Qualitative Research Methods (3). Students intending to write their dissertations in Political Theory may make a request to the departmental Director of Graduate Studies that up to two of the four courses in the required methods sequence be waived.
  5. An additional twenty-four hours of coursework beyond the M.A. (excluding the required methods sequence). For students without an M.A. in hand, 54 hours of coursework must be completed, including the required methods sequence.
  6. Distribution Requirement: To ensure a broad knowledge of the discipline of Political Science, all students must take at least one course each in two fields that will not serve as comprehensive exam fields. For the purposes of this requirement, the fields are: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Politics, Political Theory, and Public Law. The remaining courses should be chosen by the student in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies in accordance with the student’s planned comprehensive exam fields (PolS 6130-8980).
  7. Students admitted to the program without a previously earned MA will earn an ‘MA in passing’ consisting of a rigorous research paper. This requirement must be met by the completion of 33 hours of coursework.
  8. Comprehensive Exams and Field Paper Requirements
    1. All doctoral students must pass a written examination in two of the following fields: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Politics, Political Theory, Public Law, and Research Methods. All students are expected to take their comprehensive exams after completing no more than 42 credit hours of coursework in political science at Georgia State beyond the M.A. In order to take these exams, a student must have a 3.4 grade-point average in political science courses taken in the Ph.D. program at Georgia State University. Students who do not have the required 3.4 GPA for graduate Political Science courses taken at Georgia State after 36 hours will be issued a scholastic warning. Students who have failed to achieve the required 3.4 GPA to take the comprehensive exams after 42 hours will be subject to scholastic termination. Students must also have taken at least three courses in each of their examining fields in preparation for the comprehensive exams. Students must register for PolS 8900 during the semester of the exams. Individual exam committees, at their discretion, may require students to complete an oral examination as part of their comprehensive exams.  Students may take the exams twice if necessary.
    2. All doctoral students must also write one “major area” paper; this requirement must be completed within 90 days of successful completion of the written comprehensive exam requirement. Major area paper topics must be related to the student’s proposed dissertation interests, and approved by the Director of Graduate Studies as well as a member of the graduate faculty from the student’s primary field.
    3. Major area papers will be read and reviewed at a set date each semester (90 days after the last comprehensive exams were returned) by committees composed of three members of the graduate faculty of the Department of Political Science. Two members of the major area paper committee will be specialists in the chosen topic area or in a related field; the third committee member will be someone whose primary research is in a separate field. Outside readers will be selected by the Director of Graduate Studies at the outset of each academic year. The other two committee members will be chosen by the student in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies and the student’s major advisor; the major advisor may serve as one of the committee members.
  9. Satisfaction of the foreign language and research skill requirement: In addition to the required methods sequence, students must demonstrate further research competency by either taking one additional methodology course (to be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies) or passing a foreign language proficiency examination administrated by the Department of Modern and Classical Languages. Ph.D. students with a major in Comparative Politics must present a foreign language. The Department strongly urges students to complete this requirement before taking the comprehensive examination.
  10. Professionalization/Research Presentation Requirement: All doctoral students will be required by the time they have completed 36 hours of coursework to present a major research paper at the annual GSA Graduate Student Conference. Doctoral students will also be expected to attend Departmental colloquia, workshops, and other events and presentations on a regular basis as part of their ongoing professionalization activities.
  11. Twenty hours of POLS 8999 Thesis Research. Students must defend their dissertation proposal no later than 90 days after their major area papers are approved.
  12. Dissertation written and approved by a three-member faculty committee. The chair and at least one member of this committee must come from the department’s graduate faculty, but the third member may come from the graduate faculty of another department at Georgia State University.  Subject to the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, additional members beyond the required three may also come from outside the university, normally among members of the political science graduate faculty at a PhD granting institution.
  13. First & Second Year Process
    1. First Year Review: Based on each first year doctoral student’s research interests, he or she will be assigned a faculty mentor in that area. All doctoral students will be evaluated at the end of their first year by the Department’s graduate faculty as to their performance in the program to date. An unsatisfactory review may result in dismissal from the program.
    2. Second Year Review: All doctoral students will again be evaluated at the end of their second year by the Department’s graduate faculty as to their performance in the program to date. An unsatisfactory review may result in dismissal from the program.

No grade below a “C” may be used towards the M.A. or Ph.D. degrees. In addition, because the field of political science changes so quickly, the department will not normally support the use of coursework and other qualifications older than seven years towards the M.A. and ten years towards the Ph.D.