Degree Requirements

Politics Masters Program Requirements

The Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts offers both the Master of Arts in Politics and the Master of Politics. 

Master of Arts in Politics: 30 credit hours

Coursework: 24 credit hours

The course of studies is planned in consultation with, and with the approval of, the director of the program. 

Up to 6 credit hours may be taken outside of the department in courses closely related to the study of politics. 

 Thesis: 6 credit hours

The thesis requirement comprises 6 credit hours.

The M.A. student must complete all course work (with a GPA of at least 3.0), pass the comprehensive examination, and fulfill the language requirement before enrolling in the six credit hour Thesis Research course. No one is allowed to do a thesis on a topic whose major texts are in a language in which the student has not attained reading proficiency.

The student should think of the Masters Thesis as a potentially publishable journal article-one that is, however, somewhat longer than a typical politics journal would publish. It should have a clearly articulated, original argument. The body of the thesis should engage appropriate primary and secondary literature on the topic. The length should be between 13,000 and 20,000 words (including notes, but excluding bibliography). That would be about 45 to 70 pages, double spaced. Theses shorter or longer than that will generally not be accepted. The student must include an abstract of the argument (100 to 150 words). The thesis must adhere to The Chicago Manual of Style or Turabian's Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, To see what the use of this style looks like in the context of a journal article, consult The Review of Politics.

The Thesis Committee consists of a First and Second Reader. It is the student´s responsibility to find two Politics professors who regard the topic as appropriate, and who believe that the student is capable of writing competently on it. Students are encouraged to discuss their plans with their proposed Readers well before they begin the Thesis Research course. They should work with a potential First Reader in selecting an appropriate topic and in preparing the thesis proposal.

The formal proposal should be 2 to 3 pages, with a bibliography. The proposal should sketch (1) the topic of the thesis, (2) the main arguments that are likely to be made in it, and (3) the main sources of supporting evidence. The bibliography should give the primary sources and demonstrate a knowledge of some of the principal secondary literature on the topic. After the two Readers have approved the proposal, the student should submit the proposal, together with a Master's Thesis Proposal Approval form, to the Program Director. If the Director and Graduate Dean approve the Thesis Proposal, the Dean will then officially appoint the student's Thesis Committee.

An electronic version of the final, approved copy of the thesis must be submitted to both Readers and to the Politics Graduate Director. A printed version goes to the Graduate Office. Further details on preparing this copy are here.

Foreign language requirement

Demonstration of reading knowledge of one foreign language is required. 

Comprehensive exam

The Comprehensive Examination is intended to test whether students can recall material learned in their courses and discuss that material in a coherent way. The questions will be based on the courses the student has taken in the Masters program. A careful review of class notes is appropriate preparation, assuming that the notes are sufficiently detailed. Students are likely to be asked to discuss texts or topics studied in more than one course.

The examination is given on an as-needed basis. The student and the graduate director will decide on a three day period (e.g., Friday to Monday) on which the examination will be taken. The student will be given two questions on the morning that the examination period begins. Essays on the two questions are to be written over the next three days and turned in on the third day by noon. For example, if the exam period begins on a Friday, the essays are due on Monday at noon.

Each essay should be 1,500 to 3,000 words long. Each should have a clear thesis and strong supporting evidence, quoted or paraphrased from the relevant authors, where appropriate. Students will get their questions by email, and answers should also be turned in by email. Students must provide the graduate director with a contact phone number in case of difficulties with email. If email fails, a printed copy of the examination will be due by 2:00 pm in the Politics Department.

 

Master of Politics: 30 credit hours 

Coursework: 30 credit hours 

At least six credit hours must be in advanced Politics courses (6000 or above) with a substantial paper in each course. Up to 6 hours may be taken outside the Department in courses closely related to the study of politics.

Comprehensive exam

The Comprehensive Examination is intended to test whether students can recall material learned in their courses and discuss that material in a coherent way. The questions will be based on the courses the student has taken in the Masters program. A careful review of class notes is appropriate preparation, assuming that the notes are sufficiently detailed. Students are likely to be asked to discuss texts or topics studied in more than one course.

The examination is given on an as-needed basis. The student and the graduate director will decide on a three day period (e.g., Friday to Monday) on which the examination will be taken. The student will be given two questions on the morning that the examination period begins. Essays on the two questions are to be written over the next three days and turned in on the third day by noon. For example, if the exam period begins on a Friday, the essays are due on Monday at noon.

Each essay should be 1,500 to 3,000 words long. Each should have a clear thesis and strong supporting evidence, quoted or paraphrased from the relevant authors, where appropriate. Students will get their questions by email, and answers should also be turned in by email. Students must provide the graduate director with a contact phone number in case of difficulties with email. If email fails, a printed copy of the examination will be due by 2:00 pm in the Politics Department.

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