3350 Political Science

Programs Offered:

  • Master of Arts in Political Science
    • General Political Science
    • Concentration in American Politics
    • Concentration in International and Comparative Politics
    • Concentration in Political Science for Educators
    • Concentration in Professional Politics
  • Dual B.A./M.A. in Political Science
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science

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

Michael Herb, Chair
Sarah Roberts Gershon, 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:
    • Submit acceptable scores on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical sections of the GRE, except when specially waived by the Director of Graduate Studies.
    • Have an acceptable cumulative undergraduate grade-point average and the equivalent of at least a minor in political science.
    • Submit two letters of recommendation from individuals who can evaluate the applicant’s potential to do graduate work in political science or a related field.
    • Submit official transcripts from all colleges and/or universities applicant has attended.
    • Submit a statement of research interest and goals for political science degree.
    • Submit a writing sample demonstrating graduate level research capabilities
  2. Applicants to the Ph.D. degree program must:
    • Submit acceptable scores on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical sections of the GRE.
    • Have an acceptable cumulative master’s grade-point average and substantial prior coursework in political science or a related field, preferably with a thesis.
    • Submit three letters of recommendation from individuals who can evaluate the applicant’s potential to do graduate work in political science.
    • Submit official transcripts from all colleges and/or universities attended.
    • Submit a statement of research interests and goals for political science degree.
    • Submit a writing sample demonstrating graduate level research capabilities
    • Applicants who intend to pursue comparative politics as their major field should have at least one year of college level training in a world 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

  • General Political Science
  • Concentration in American Politics
  • Concentration in International and Comparative Politics
  • Concentration in Political Science for Educators
  • Concentration in Professional Politics

The department also include an informal track that provides a specialization in public law (see below).

General Political Science (33)

  1. Required Methods Sequence (9 hours)
    • POLS 6800/POLS 8800 Elements of Research Design (3)
    • POLS 8805 Introduction to Qualitative 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 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:
    • A minimum of six hours of POLS 8999 Thesis Research.
    • 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.
    • A thesis defense.
  4. Non-Thesis Option (Students wishing to pursue a doctoral degree should not choose this option.):
    • Six additional hours of graduate courses in political science.
    • 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
  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 6100/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 6100POLS 6180, POLS 8100POLS 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:
    • A minimum of six hours of POLS 8999 Thesis Research.
    • A thesis, written following successful defense of proposal before three-member faculty committee.
    • A thesis defense.
  6. Non-Thesis Option (Students wishing to pursue a doctoral degree should not choose this option):

Concentration in International and Comparative Politics (33)

  1. Required Methods Sequence
    • POLS 6800/POLS 8800 Elements of Research Design (3)
    • POLS 8805 Introduction to Quantitative Analysis
    • 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 6200/POLS 8200 Comparative Political Analysis (3) and POLS 6400/POLS 8400 International Politics (3).
  3. Four additional courses (12 hours) chosen from the areas of comparative (POLS 6200POLS 6280, POLS 8200POLS 8280) and international politics (POLS 6400POLS 6480, POLS 8400POLS 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:
    • A minimum of six hours of POLS 8999 Thesis Research
    • A thesis, written following successful defense of proposal before three-member faculty committee
    • A thesis defense.
  5. Non-Thesis Option (Students wishing to pursue a doctoral degree should not choose this option):

Concentration in Political Science for Educators (30)

  1. Required methods course
  2. Core seminars in the sub-fields of political science
  3. Courses in the teaching of political science
    • POLS 6987 Teaching Politics with Simulations (3)
    • POLS 6988 Teaching American Citizenship (3)
  4. Specialized courses in political science
    • Coursework in political science at the 6000 or 8000 level (9)
  5. A capstone course in which the student will complete a research project under the supervision of a faculty member.

Concentration in Professional Politics (30)

This concentration provides the professional skills needed by those pursuing career paths in public service and politics. It is offered as a terminal degree with a non-thesis option and can be undertaken in a traditional classroom setting, fully online, or hybridized.

  1. Required Core Courses (12):
    1. POLS 6800 Research Design and Applied Data Analysis (3)
    2. POLS 6100 Seminar in American Politics (3)
    3. Select one course:
    4. Select one course:
      • POLS 6200 Seminar in Comparative Politics (3)
      • POLS 6400 Seminar in International Politics (3)
        Necessary substitutions can be made with the advance permission of the Director of Graduate Studies.
  2.  Students should take four additional graduate Political Science courses (12 hours) selected to strengthen their knowledge of practice areas related to their professional goals.
  3. Experiential Learning Project (6 hours) – Students must complete one experiential learning project for 6 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 Director of Graduate Studies before students will be allowed to register for POLS 8995 Administrative and Policy Internship hours. Students may choose to take an additional 3 hours of experiential learning as a substitute for one graduate course, with the advance permission of the Director of Graduate Studies.
  4. Up to two courses (6 hours) in departments outside of Political Science may be used if relevant and with advance permission of the Director of Graduate Studies.
  5. A non-thesis research paper completed according to departmental guidelines is required. Students interested in completing a thesis may substitute it for six hours of course or experiential learning credit, with the advance permission of the Director of Graduate Studies.

Specialization in Public Law (33)

  1. Required Methods Sequence
    • POLS 6800/POLS 8800 Elements of Research Design (3)
    • 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 advance permission of the departmental Director of Graduate Studies.
  2. Either POLS 6100/POLS 8100 Seminar in American Politics, POLS 6200/POLS 8200 Comparative Political Analysis, or POLS 6400/POLS 8400 International Politics (3)
  3. POLS 8140 Judicial Process and Policy Making (3)
  4. POLS 8145 Law, Courts and Policy (3)
  5. Either POLS 8427 International Human Rights 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:
    • POLS 6131 Civil Rights & Liberties (3)
    • POLS 6190 Studies in American Politics (3)
    • POLS 8421 International Institutions and Organizations (3)
  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:
    • A minimum of six hours of POLS 8999 Thesis Research.
    • A thesis, written following successful defense of proposal before three-member faculty committee.
    • A thesis defense.
  9. Non-Thesis Option (Students wishing to pursue a doctoral degree should not choose this option):
    • Six additional hours of graduate courses in Public Law or Public Law-related courses.
    • 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/.

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. Only 8000-level coursework in political science will be counted towards this requirement, unless other courses are specifically allowed by the Director of Graduate Studies.
  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 qualifying 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 qualifying exam fields (POLS 8100POLS 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. Qualifying Exams
    • 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 qualifying 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 qualifying 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 qualifying 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 qualifying exams.  Students may take the exams twice if necessary.
  9. World 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 world language proficiency examination administrated by the Department of World Languages and Cultures. Ph.D. students with a major in Comparative Politics must present a world language. The Department strongly urges students to complete this requirement before taking the qualifying 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.
  12. Students must defend their dissertation proposal no later than 90 days after having completed the qualifying exams.
  13. 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 Ph.D. granting institution.
  14. First and Second Year Process
    • 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.
    • 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.
  15. Ph.D. students must have approval from the Director of Graduate Studies to count online courses towards their degree.

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.