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Department of Political Science

MA: 2012 Assessment Summary


Two assessment mechanisms inform our evaluation of student learning outcomes.


The first of these is the written comprehensive examination process. In the case of the MA degree each of these exams contains three questions. The first requires students to demonstrate a mastery of the current scientific literature in one of the fours subfields of political science – American politics, international relations, comparative politics and political thought. The second questions probes more narrowly and more deeply into a research issue within their major field. The third portion of the exam requires students to draw broadly across the entire field of political science. The results of these exams over the past five years describe a student body that has mastered the field of political science at the Masters level. Of the thirty-three students who took the exams since the fall of 2007, none failed.


The second tool used to evaluate student learning outcomes among our MA students involves the required writing exercise – thesis, report or seminar papers. All thirty-three students passing the written exams likewise met this writing requirement in a solid fashion.