Master of Arts in Political Science

The Master of Arts in Political Science is an online degree program designed for both recent college graduates and individuals seeking to advance their professional or academic careers. The program serves students preparing for doctoral studies or law school, high school teachers seeking to improve their professional credentials, individuals wanting to teach in the community colleges, and individuals preparing for careers or advancement in nonprofit organizations (international and domestic) and the public sector. 

Students are admitted to the graduate program for the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters, with the following application deadlines: 

Fall semester enrollment: August 1
Spring semester enrollment: December 1
Summer enrollment: May 15

Admission into the program is based on the listed requirements and faculty/student ratios. The following are required for admissions consideration:

  1. Graduate Studies Application: The Graduate Studies Application is an institutional application required by SHSU. Students must provide biographical and educational information and information relevant to determining State of Texas residency.
  2. Application fee: An application fee is required for all applications to graduate programs at SHSU.
  3. Transcripts documenting all prior degrees.*
  4. Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0: Applicants, who do not possess a graduate degree from an accredited institution, are expected to have earned a minimum GPA of 3.0 from the accredited institution granting the undergraduate degree.
  5. Applicants who do not possess a graduate degree and have an undergraduate GPA below 3.0 may submit additional information as evidence of their academic and professional potential. Additional information may include, but is not limited to: GRE scores, a narrative that provides an explanation for the applicant’s low GPA and why the GPA is not indicative of the applicant’s academic and professional potential, etc.
  6. Statement of Intent: Applicants should submit a written statement explaining why they are applying to the program; how their experience (academic, work, etc.) has prepared them to enter the program; and what they plan to do – professionally – with the degree.
  7. Writing sample of scholarly or professional work. 
  8. Names and contact information for at least two individuals who can speak to applicant’s academic and professional potential.

*Applicants may submit unofficial transcripts for review by the admissions committee. However, under university policy, admission decisions are contingent upon receipt of official transcripts.

Applicants must submit all application materials directly to the Office of Graduate Studies by the relevant deadline. A holistic review of each applicant’s file will then be completed, with admission to the MPA Program offered to applicants on a competitive basis.

Incomplete applications will not be considered. 

The program offers two degree plans:

  • a thesis option (30 hours of coursework, including a 6-hour written thesis)
  • a non-thesis option (36 hours of coursework and written comprehensive exams)

The thesis degree plan is designed for students who plan to pursue a doctoral degree. The non-thesis degree plan is designed for students who plan to pursue a career in the public and nonprofit sectors, other employment fields relevant to the study and practice of government, or teach political science/government classes at the post-secondary level. All students are admitted as non-thesis students, but may petition to change to the thesis option after completing preliminary coursework.

Requirements for the non-thesis degree plan include:

For their nine elective courses, students should choose POLS courses appropriate to their professional needs and interests. With graduate advisor approval, students may pursue a concentration in an appropriate area from one or more other departments.

Students take their comprehensive exams during the last semester of coursework.  They are required to be enrolled in the University during the semester or summer session in which the comprehensive exams are administered. 

Requirements for the thesis degree include:

For their nine elective courses, students should choose POLS courses appropriate to their professional needs and interests. With graduate advisor approval, students may pursue a concentration in an appropriate area from one or more other departments.

Students defend their written thesis during the last semester of coursework. They are required to be enrolled in the University during the semester or summer session in which the thesis is defended. 


 

Plan 1 - Thesis: MA in Political Science

Master of Arts in Political Science (Thesis)
POLS 5330American Politics3
POLS 5371Comparative Politics3
POLS 5373International Relations3
POLS Electives
Select five additional non-thesis POLS graduate courses15
POLS 6098Thesis3
POLS 6099Thesis3
Total Hours30

Plan 2 - Non-Thesis: MA in Political Science

Master of Arts in Political Science (Non-Thesis)
Specified Courses
POLS 5330American Politics3
POLS 5371Comparative Politics3
POLS 5373International Relations3
POLS Electives
Select nine additional non-thesis POLS graduate courses27
Total Hours36