This page provides an overview of the Marquette University Political Science Department graduate program. It presents a summary of the official guidelines for the program, which can be found in the Marquette University Graduate Bulletin, as well as providing additional links that include more detailed descriptions of the various aspects of our two M.A. programs.
The Department of Political Science offers M.A. degrees in Political Science (POSC) and International Affairs (INAF). Students can also pursue an M.A.-J.D. joint degree in Political Science and Law or in International Affairs and Law. Through this combined program, students can receive both the J.D. and M.A. degrees in only four years. Additional joint degree programs are available with the College of Communications and the College of Business Administration. Undergraduate students at Marquette University can also pursue a Five Year B.A.-M.A. degree.
All graduate students must successfully complete at least 30 credit hours for the M.A. degree. Students may select from either a thesis (Plan A) or a non-thesis (Plan B) plan. Unless otherwise specifically requested following consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies, it is assumed that students will pursue their degree under Plan B. The M.A. degree is not awarded merely for the accumulation of graduate credits, although an overall grade point average of "B" or better must be maintained. Graduate students are expected to demonstrate independence, creativity, and originality in thought, research, and expression.
The coursework includes required core seminars, research seminars, and a research methodology seminar. Students can also take a limited number of graduate courses from outside the Department of Political Science and 100-level (upper-division undergraduate) Political Science courses for graduate credit. Each year, eight to ten different graduate seminars and many additional 100-level courses that carry graduate credit are available. Additional information on these options is available on the M.A. Degree Requirements page and on the pages describing the M.A. program in Political Science and the M.A. program in International Affairs.
Students in both programs are required to take a comprehensive exam in two fields, generally in their last semester of the program. Details about the comprehensive exam can be found on the M.A. Degree Requirements page.
We are continuing to raise the standards for admission into the program. The result is a body of graduate students small enough to create a collegial and intellectually-energizing climate, and yet large enough for students to find others in their cohort with similar interests inside and outside the classroom. Graduate students come to Marquette from a variety of backgrounds. About one fifth come from Wisconsin schools; two thirds are from out-of-state universities; and one sixth are foreign students. Our program includes many part-time and "non-traditional" students, and we welcome such students to apply.
Students studying Political Science or International Affairs at Marquette University are learning at a top university from a distinguished faculty. Their areas of specialization cover all the fields and most of the subfields of Political Science. Along with their strong orientation to scholarship and research, the faculty members share a commitment to high quality teaching. Owing to the relatively small size of the program (approximately 40 students), students have easy access to faculty members and can work closely with them in seminars, lecture courses, and special readings and research courses. Class sizes vary, but are generally small in graduate seminars (averaging around 10 students in the 2008-09 academic year), and the faculty spend numerous hours each week meeting with students during office hours.
We offer many of our students financial aid, although the financial aid process is competitive, and not all students admitted into the program will receive financial support. Information on aid, including suggestions for outside sources of funding, can be found on the Financial Aid for Graduate Students page.
Applying to the M.A. program in Political Science or in International Affairs requires a formal application along with an application fee. The application process is done on-line. Details about the application process can be found on the Application Requirements and Procedures page.
Any questions about the M.A. programs or about submitting an application can be directed to the Director of Graduate Studies, Prof. Lowell Barrington. We look forward to seeing your application!
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