Feb 19, 2020  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Political Science MA

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►   Graduate School Rules  apply to this program

The political science department offers a master of arts (MA) degree in political science with an emphasis on building academic and practical skills in key areas of the discipline. Research and teaching in the department centers on the major fields of American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory and public policy; however, the department also offers more specialized training in human rights, legal studies, gender politics, race and ethnic politics, European studies, indigenous politics and urban politics. Students pursuing the MA have the option of completing the traditional track or an alternative track centered on the study on politics, public policy and leadership. Students completing the alternative “politics and public policy” track take most courses in weekend, off-campus locations. Students completing either track have gone on to PhD programs across the country and work in a variety of areas, including; state and local elected office, government service, directors of community-based organizations and nongovernmental organizations, legislative analysts, UN affiliates, lobbyists, teachers, media analysis and political consulting.

Requirements for Admission

Students applying for admission to the MA program in political science should present at least 18 semester hours of previous academic work in political science, at least 9 hours of which should be at the upper-division or graduate level. The department may make exceptions to these requirements in unusual cases (for instance, if course work in related fields such as psychology, economics and history compensates for the deficiencies in political science). Applicants should present an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 to be considered; however, the department typically admits students with a GPA of 3.2 or higher. In their applications, students must submit transcripts and letters of recommendation (from academic sources) as specified by the Graduate School. In addition, applicants must submit a statement of academic objectives and an academic writing sample. Standardized test scores are not required of applicants, but will be considered if submitted.

In order to take graduate courses in political science, students must either be admitted to the MA program or secure permission as a nondegree student. Nondegree students may take up to 12 semester hours of graduate course work; however, they must first secure permission from the department graduate advisor to enroll in all graduate course work.

Degree Requirements

In addition to the requirements for admission and details of the program spelled out here, graduate students in political science must also abide by department rules and procedures specified in the Graduate School Policies and Procedures . Failure to meet these policies may result in a student being dropped from the program.

Under the MA program in political science, two degree plans are available:

  • Plan I requires the completion of nine graduate courses (27 semester hours) and a 6-credit thesis
  • Plan II requires the completion of ten graduate courses (30 semester hours) and a 3-credit project.

Course work in both plans completed under the traditional track offered on the Downtown Campus must include:


Additionally, at least one graduate seminar is required in each of the following areas: American politics, comparative politics or international relations, political theory and research methods.

Students will complete between 12 and 15 elective semester hours, depending on whether they are working under Plan I or II, which may be fulfilled through graduate course work in political science, related disciplines, independent study or internships. Ultimately, the total combination of independent study, graduate course work in related disciplines and internship cannot exceed 9 semester hours. With either plan, students are required to complete a minimum of 16 semester hours with the political science department at the University of Colorado Denver, and maintain a minimum B (3.0) overall GPA or better. Any course in which a student receives a final grade lower than B- cannot be counted toward the total credits for the Master’s degree. Students who are on probation must meet regularly with the graduate advisor and must secure approval from the advisor for all course work while on probation.

Plan II is available both under the traditional MA track offered on the Denver campus, as well as through an alternative track offered off-campus through the Center for New Directions in Politics and Public Policy. For details about this off-campus track in politics and public policy, see New Directions, MA in Political Science  .

The Political Science graduate program offers two transcripted certificates, allowing students to focus their studies in a particular direction and to note that particular focus on their transcipt.

For more information on the graduate certificate in Democracy and Social Movements, click here .

For more information on the graduate certificate in Community Leadership, click here  

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