Master of Arts in Political Science 

General information

MA degree requirements

Student Advisory Committee

Program of study

M.A. comprehensive examination

M.A. with a certificate in International Service

Requirements for certificate option

Student Advisory Committee

Program of Study

MA Certificate: Comprehensive Examinations

Admission requirements

Application procedure

Graduate financial assistance

Graduate scholarships

 

The Political Science Master of Arts program meets the educational and professional needs of three groups of students:

  • Those planning to become high school teachers or instructors in two-year colleges.
  • Working professionals and other adults desiring to improve their qualifications or seeking a greater understanding of political life.
  • Students wishing to prepare for Ph.D. or other advanced study.

The degree requirements are structured, therefore, to provide students with an education which prepares them for a mature grasp of politics, a respect for intellectual integrity, and an ability to communicate effectively.  Graduate work in political science is offered in American government and politics, comparative government and politics, international relations, and political thought.

The following requirements supplement those prescribed by the University and the Graduate School.

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MA DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

All candidates for the Master of Arts in political science must fulfill the following requirements.

Core Courses [15 credit hours]:  The Master of Arts degree in political science is a 30 hour degree program.  All candidates are required to take the following core courses.  Please note that they are only offered once per academic year as indicated below.

POLSC 700   Research Methods in Political Science Fall Semester
POLSC 805   Seminar:  American Government Problems Fall Semester
POLSC 841   Seminar:  Comparative PoliticsFall Semester
POLSC 811   Seminar:  International PoliticsSpring Semester
POLSC 821   Seminar:  Political ThoughtSpring Semester

Area of Concentration/Political Science Electives [15 credit hours]: Candidates for the MA in political science are required to focus their studies upon an area of concentration within the discipline.  The majority of the fifteen hours of coursework beyond the required core courses will typically focus in the area of concentration.  The department offers four such areas including American government and politics, international relations, comparative government and politics and political thought.  Students are advised to decide upon an area of concentration at or before the completion of nine hours of coursework.

Writing Requirement Options:   Candidates for the MA in Political Science are required to complete a substantial writing/research project.  Students may choose, in consultation with the MA Director and their supervisory committee, one of three programs leading to the Master of Arts degree:

  • Option A: Thesis.  This option requires 30 hours of graduate credit including 6 hours of credit for a thesis.  Of the remaining 24 hours, at least 18 hours must be in political science.
  • Option B: Report.  This option requires 30 hours of graduate credit, including two hours of credit for a written research report.  Of the remaining 28 hours, at least 19 hours must be in political science.
  • Option C: Non-Thesis/Report.  This option requires 30 hours of graduate credit in political science which will include the four required 800-level seminars.  In addition, students in this option should write four research papers in conjunction with the field seminars acceptable to the professors involved. The four papers should be turned in to the major professor/chair or the student’s supervisory committee.

Residency and Other Requirements:  Master's students should earn 60% or more of their credit hours in courses numbered 700 or above.  No more than three hours of "non-class" seminars or courses (e.g., readings, problems, internships) count toward the 30 hours required for the M.A.  Students must be enrolled for a minimum of one credit hour the semester they expect to receive their degrees.  Normally a minimum of 18 semester hours of graduate work must be completed in residence.  For details see www.k-state.edu/grad/

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STUDENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Upon completing nine hours of course work students should meet with the MA Director to identify a major professor and supervisory committee.  This committee (including the major professor) shall be composed of at least three members.  One committee member may be from outside the Political Science Department. 

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PROGRAM OF STUDY

Each student should file a Program of Study upon the completion of nine hours of coursework.  This document formalizes the membership of the student’s supervisory committee and summarizes the course work completed and projected.  The Program of Study form is available on the Graduate School’s web site -- http://www.k-state.edu/grad/forms/.  It should be completed in consultation with the student’s supervisory committee. 

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M.A. COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION

All Master of Arts degree candidates must successfully complete a written comprehensive examination.  The responsibility for initiating the process rests with the student in consultation with his/her supervisory committee. 

This exam is normally taken late in the student’s final semester.  Students shall receive evaluation of their performance approximately two weeks after the examination.  Passing performance requires agreement among a majority of the committee.  The committee will give an overall grade of pass with honors, pass, or fail.

A second examination is permitted if a candidate fails all or a portion of a master's examination.  The second exam cannot take place fewer than two months or more than fifteen months after the failed examination unless an extension is granted by the Dean of the Graduate School.  No third examination will be allowed.

Contents of Comprehensive Examinations:  The comprehensive examination is typically structured as follows.

  • One section [question(s)] is designed to evaluate the student's ability to integrate materials in the major area of concentration -- presumably based in large part upon the field seminar.
  • One section [question(s)] deals specifically with other course work in the major area of concentration.
  • One section [question(s)] is designed to evaluate the student's ability to synthesize materials from several fields of political science -- presumably based upon all field seminars taken. 

Supervisory Committee Meeting:  Early in the semester during which the candidate plans to take the examination, the candidate should convene a meeting with his/her supervisory committee.  This is a critical step in the process as the purpose of this meeting is to make procedures and expectations clear to the candidate.   Typically the student will follow-up individually with each member of the committee as regards substantive preparation for the examination.  Following the meeting the candidate should communicate his/her understanding of the issues addressed at the meeting in written form to all supervisory committee members. 

Approval to Schedule Final Examination Form:  In order to schedule the examination, an “Approval to Schedule Final Examination” form must be obtained from and returned to the Graduate School.  The form is available on the Graduate School’s web site 
[http://www.k-state.edu/grad/forms/].  All members of the supervisory committee must sign this form.  The Graduate School will then prepare notices and a ballot for the examination. 

The Graduate School views both the written examination and the oral defense of a thesis or report as part of the same examination process.  Hence, if you are pursuing the non-thesis/report option, the date on the approval form is the date of the written exam.  If, however, you are writing a thesis or report, the date on the approval form is the date of the oral defense of the thesis or report.

Examination Preparation:  All exam questions will be prepared by the student’s supervisory committee.  Where necessary, committee members will consult with professors from whom the student has taken course work.

Administration:  Each semester the MA Director announces the comprehensive examination date.  This date is typically late in the semester.  Normally the duration of the exam is a maximum of six hours.  In unusual situations, the candidate in consultation with their supervisory committee may request an alternative to the established exam date.  The MA Director is responsible for exam logistics.  

Reading/Grading of Exams:  All questions will be read by each member of the student's supervisory committee. Occasionally, a non-committee faculty member from whom the student had classes is asked to contribute question(s) for the exam. In such situations, that faculty member will also read the student's exam, but will not be a voting member of the committee.  Under certain circumstances, and at the discretion of the student's advisory committee, an oral exam may be administered as a follow-up to the written comprehensive exam.

Oral Defense of Thesis or Report:  Candidates choosing either the thesis or the report option are required to pass an oral defense of the research.  At the discretion of the student’s supervisory committee, the oral defense may also include questions of a general nature pertaining to the field of political science.  The oral examination is taken when the student's committee certifies that a satisfactory copy of the report/thesis/seminar papers has been presented.  Passing performance requires agreement among a majority of the committee.

Non-Thesis/Report Requirements:  Students taking the non-thesis, non-report option are reminded that they must complete their internships, reports, and related course requirements before they are eligible to receive their degrees.

Student Responsibility:  According to the Kansas State University Graduate School, graduate students are held responsible for knowing the academic policies and degree requirements set forth in the Bulletin (General Catalog).  They are likewise held responsible for knowing the regulations concerning the degree they plan to take and any special requirements within the department or academic unit.  In addition, it is the student's responsibility to be informed regarding the University's policies as to the standard of work required for continued enrollment in the Graduate School.  The Graduate Office should be consulted if additional information is needed.

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M.A. WITH A CERTIFICATE IN INTERNATIONAL SERVICE

The purpose of the M.A. degree in Political Science with a Certificate in International Service is to prepare students for a career in the international arena including: diplomacy, intelligence, international business, international agriculture, the military, non-governmental organizations, the United Nations, education, and the private sector. 

The Certificate program is part of the M.A. program, and the basic requirements of the M.A. program must be met in order to obtain the degree and the Certificate.  The Certificate cannot be earned without the M.A. degree.

While most other universities offer either an M.A. in political science or international relations, we offer an MA degree with a certificate that prepares you for an exciting career in a variety of fields in international service.  In addition to a more traditional program emphasizing diplomacy, our program has the flexibility to permit you to specialize not only in geographic areas, but also in international agriculture, business or planning.

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REQUIREMENTS FOR CERTIFICATE OPTION

All candidates for the Certificate in International Service with an M.A. in Political Science must fulfill the following requirements.

Language Examination:  Candidates for the Certificate are required to pass an examination in a foreign language.   Choice of language will depend on the student’s area of specialization and will be chosen in consultation with the MA Director and the student’s supervisory committee.  Normally language examinations will be administered by the K-State Department of Modern Languages.  Foreign language credit hours may not be applied towards the master’s degree.

Course Requirements:  The total number of credit hours required for this certificate is 42.  These credit hours are divided as follows.

  • MA Core Courses [15 credit hours]:  Please note that these courses are only offered once per academic year as indicated below. 

    POLSC 700   Research Methods in Political Science  Fall Semester
    POLSC 805   Seminar:  American Government Problems  Fall Semester
    POLSC 841   Seminar:  Comparative Politics Fall Semester
    POLSC 811   Seminar:  International Politics  Spring Semester
    POLSC 821   Seminar:  Political Thought    Spring Semester
  • Other Political Science Courses [9 credit hours]:  If the courses below are not offered, substitutions may be made in consultation with the candidate’s supervisory committee and the MA Director.

    POLSC 647 - International Law
    POLSC 651 - International Organizations
    POLSC 754 - The Professional Diplomat and Foreign Policy Formulation
  • Other Required Courses [6 credit hours]:

    History:  One graduate course in history chosen in consultation with the M.A. director and the student’s supervisory committee.
    Economics:  ECON 681 - International Economics or POLSC 756 - International Political Economy.
  • Area of Specialization [12 credit hours]:  The remaining 12 hours will consist of specialized courses which must be at the 600 level or higher, have an international focus and must be on a par with those required for the political science MA.  Two three credit hour internships in the student’s area of specialization may be substituted for two of these courses.   Example areas of specialization include a focus in:  political science; a discipline outside of political science (see sample course list below); a regional area; (Latin American, Africa, etc.); or, a particular theme (ex: women in politics, economic development). 

Writing Requirement Options:  Candidates for the MA in Political Science with an international service certificate are required to complete a substantial writing/research project.  Students may choose, in consultation with the MA Director and their supervisory committee, one of the four options described below. 

  • Option A:  Thesis:   If this option is taken, the 12 hour area of specialization requirement would consist of six hours of traditional course work and six hours of thesis.
  • Option B1:  Report:  The candidate may take under the specialized course requirement, a two hour report and a one credit POLSC 785 Directed Reading.
  • Option B2:  Report based on Internship: The candidate may take the three hour internship option under the specialized course requirement.  The internship will include a written report.  The written portion of the internship would be expanded to a report in consultation with the student’s committee.
  • Option C:  Non-Thesis/Report:  This option requires 42 hours of graduate credit in political science including the four 800 level field seminars.  In addition, students in this option should write four research seminar papers acceptable to the professors involved. The four papers should be turned in to the major professor/chair or the student’s supervisory committee.

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STUDENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Upon completing nine hours of course work students should meet with the MA Director to identify a major professor and supervisory committee.  This committee (including the major professor) shall be composed of at least three members.  One committee member may be from outside the Political Science Department. 

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PROGRAM OF STUDY

Each student should file a Program of Study upon the completion of nine hours of coursework.  This document formalizes the membership of the student’s supervisory committee and summarizes the course work completed and projected.  The Program of Study form is available on the Graduate School’s web site – http://www.k-state.edu/grad/forms/.  It should be completed in consultation with the student’s supervisory committee. 

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MA CERTIFICATE:  COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATIONS

All Master of Arts degree candidates selecting the International Service emphasis must successfully complete comprehensive written and oral examinations, normally in the last semester of study.  The responsibility for initiating the process rests with the student in consultation with his/her supervisory committee. 

Students shall receive evaluation of their performance on the written examination approximately two weeks after the examination.  Notification of performance on the oral exam will typically take less time.  Passing performance on both the written and oral components of the comprehensive require a majority of the student’s committee.  The committee will give an overall grade one of pass with honors, pass, or fail.

If a candidate fails either component of a master’s examination, he or she may be allowed to take that component a second time.  This cannot take place fewer than two months or more than fifteen months after the failed examination unless an extension is granted by the Dean of the Graduate School.  No third examination will be allowed.

Contents of the Written Examination:  The written comprehensive examination is typically structured as follows.

  • One section [question(s)] is designed to evaluate the student’s ability to integrate materials in the major area of concentration – international politics and service.  This section will presumably be based in large part in on the international relations field seminar and the capstone seminar – The Professional Diplomat and Foreign Policy Formulation
  • One section [question(s)] deals specifically with other international relations course work, particularly relating to the student’s chosen area of specialization.
  • One section [question(s)] is designed to evaluate the student’s ability to synthesize materials from several fields of political science – presumably based upon the four field seminars.

Supervisory Committee Meeting:  Early in the semester during which the candidate plans to take the examination, the candidate should convene a meeting with his/her supervisory committee.  This is a critical step in the process as the purpose of this meeting is to make procedures and expectations clear to the candidate.   Typically the student will follow-up individually with each member of the committee as regards substantive preparation for the examination.  Following the meeting the candidate should communicate his/her understanding of the issues addressed at the meeting in written form to all supervisory committee members. 

Examination Preparation:  All exam questions will be prepared by the student’s supervisory committee.  Where necessary, committee members will consult with professors from whom the student has taken course work.

Administration:  Each semester the MA Director announces the comprehensive examination date.  This date is typically late in the semester.  Normally the duration of the exam is a maximum of six hours.  In unusual situations, the candidate in consultation with their supervisory committee may request an alternative to the established exam date.  The MA Director is responsible for exam logistics.  

Reading/Grading of Written Exam:  All questions will be read by each member of the student’s supervisory committee. Occasionally, a non-committee faculty member from whom the student had classes is asked to contribute question(s) for the exam. In such situations, that faculty member will also read the student’s exam, but will not be a voting member of the committee. 

Contents of the Oral Examination:  The student’s oral examination is composed of three parts:

  • Questions pertaining to a career in international service, which may highlight the student’s area of emphasis.
  • Questions of a general nature pertaining to the field of political science.
  • Questions pertaining to the student’s thesis or report, if the student chooses to write one.

Approval to Schedule Final Examination Form:  The oral examination is taken when the student’s committee certifies that the student has successfully completed the written comprehensive examination.  In order to schedule the examination, an “Approval to Schedule Final Examination” form must be obtained from and returned to the Graduate School 
[http://www.k-state.edu/grad/forms/].  All members of the supervisory committee must sign this form.  The Graduate School will then prepare notices and a ballot for the examination. 

Evaluation of the Oral Examination:  Faculty members participating in the oral exam will include the members of the student’s committee and the International Service advisor. As with the written exam, passing performance on the oral exam requires a majority of the committee.

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ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

To be eligible for admission, a student must have a Bachelor's degree with a minimum of 3.0 GPA (on a four point scale).  Others with at least a 2.7 GPA may be admitted on "probation," or on "special student" category.  The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is recommended for all students applying to the Political Science program, but is not required.

Additional Requirements for International Students

  • English Language Proficiency:  The Graduate School requires each international applicant whose native language is not English to demonstrate competence in the English language by making a satisfactory score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). 
    • There are three types of TOEFL scores: paper-based TOEFL, computer-based TOEFL and TOEFL IBT (internet-based TOEFL taken in real time). TOEFL scores are valid for two years from the initial test date.
    • A score of at least 550 (paper-based test), 213 (computer-based test), or 79 (IBT - internet-based test) on the TOEFL is required to be considered for admission to the Graduate School. Applicants with scores of 600 (paper-based), 250 (computer-based) or 100 (IBT - internet based) or above may be considered for regular admission. Applicants with scores between 550/213/79 and 599/249/99 may be admitted provisionally and must at the time of their enrollment demonstrate proficiency in reading and writing English and in understanding spoken American English to the satisfaction of the Graduate School.
    • All international students entering the Graduate School with a TOEFL score less than 600 will be required to demonstrate proficiency in written and oral English at the time of enrollment.  Those who do not meet the minimum proficiency standard will be required to complete specified coursesoffered by the English Language Program (ELP) at Kansas State. 

  • Affidavit of Financial Support:  U.S. Immigration regulations require Kansas State University to verify that international students have the financial resources to pay for all educational, living, and other expenses.  This form is available on the Graduate School’s web site [http://www.k-state.edu/grad/gsprospective/apply/international/index.htm] .

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APPLICATION PROCEDURE

Applicants should begin the process by completing the on-line application for admission to the Graduate School [http://www.k-state.edu/grad/gsprospective/apply/index.htm].  The completed application will then be forwarded by the Graduate School to the Department of Political Science.  In addition, the following supporting materials should be sent directly to the Department of Political Science.

  • An official transcript from all colleges previously attended.
  • Three letters of recommendation (on official letterhead)
  • A statement of the candidate's personal objectives and how a Master’s in Political Science furthers those objectives.
  • International Students Only:
    • TOEFL Scores
    • Affidavit of Financial Support

Admission deadlines are as follows:

  • Fall Semester:          August 1 [February 1 for international students]
  • Spring Semester:     December 1 [August 1 for international students]
  • Summer Term:         May 1 [December 1 for international students]

Additional information and application materials can be obtained by contacting:

M.A. Program Director
KSU Department of Political Science
244 Waters Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506 
Tel: (785)532-6842
Fax: (785)532-2339
polsci@ksu.edu

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GRADUATE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

Types of Assistantships: The Department of Political Science provides financial aid for assistance with faculty teaching, or research, or both.  Specific assignments to teaching or research depend on the needs and abilities of the graduate assistant, and the needs of the department.  Assistantships must be applied for on a yearly basis.

Selection Criteria:  Awards reflect the following criteria:

  • Academic performance, promise, and intellectual ability.
  • Past performance as a departmental assistant, if applicable.
  • Teaching and research needs of the department faculty.
  • Financial need.
  • Minimum six hour enrollment during term of assistance, under ordinary circumstances.
  • Reasonable progress toward Master's degree.

Amount of Assistance:  Graduate assistantships are measured in "tenths" time, ranging from .1 to .4, each tenth corresponding to a dollar amount which changes annually with university and department appropriations.  In addition, graduate assistants are eligible for waivers or reductions of tuition fees, depending on legal residence and amount of assistance.

Duties:  Each tenth of assistance corresponds to an average of four hours' work each week, or 16 hours' work for a full .4 assistantship.  Faculty supervisors are responsible for arranging an equitable correspondence of tenths' assistance and duties, and each graduate assistant is responsible for keeping his or her principal faculty supervisor informed on how this obligation is met.

Supervision:   Each assistant is assigned to one or two faculty members, depending on the department's needs and the student's preference.  Graduate assistants may be asked to help any member of the department faculty, subject to clearance with the student's principal advisers.

Conditions of Assistantship:  All teaching assistants are expected to maintain a 3.0 GPA during the period of appointment and to perform their duties satisfactorily.  The department reserves the right to withdraw support if academic performance falls below the 3.0 GPA or if the job performance is not satisfactory. 

Renewal of Assistantship:  The assistantship is awarded for one academic year.  A reapplication is required for each additional year of support.

Application procedure:  Besides the materials discussed above for admission to the MA Program, applicants should submit the following to the program director

  • One copy of an application form available which is available on the department’s web site.
  • A formal covering letter of application.  This letter may also be used to expand on items in the application form, and to request financial assistance.

Award Announcement:  All applicants will be notified of the department's decisions, and award recipients will be asked to acknowledge acceptance formally.  Awards are announced on or about March 15, and November 15.  Ordinarily, there are no summer term graduate assistantships.

Admission deadlines are as follows:

  • Fall Semester:          August 1 [February 1 for international students]
  • Spring Semester:     December 1 [August 1 for international students]
  • Summer Term:         May 1 [December 1 for international students]

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GRADUATE SCHOLARSHIPS

The department of Political Science also offers a number of scholarships.  These vary in terms of the amount of assistance and the exact requirements for each.  For details see 
[http://www.k-state.edu/polsci/scholarships.html]

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