Political Science (M.A.)

This page is a description of the MA program for students enrolled Fall 2013 and later. For those enrolled earlier, see here. Please contact the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Jamie Warner with any questions at warnerj@marshall.edu.


The Department of Political Science is committed to those items enumerated in the mission statements of Marshall University and its College of Liberal Arts. First and foremost, the Department of Political Science strives to prepare future leaders by providing undergraduate and graduate students with a quality liberal arts political science education. This education includes critical thinking skills, problem solving skills, research skills, language/communication skills, and development of students’ intellectual capabilities. The Department of Political Science is committed to (1) applied and basic research; (2) leadership and public service to the community; and (3) developing insight into multicultural and global issues.

Admission Requirements

Applicants should follow the admissions process outlined in the Graduate Catalog or at the Graduate College website at www.marshall.edu/graduate/admissions/how-to-apply-for-admission. Although applicants will be considered according to university application deadlines, the program strongly recommends that students plan to start in the Fall semester if they wish to complete the degree within four semesters.

Additional requirements:

  • Completion of 12 hours of undergraduate social science coursework;
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test or GRE Revised General Test, no older than five years at time of application (requirement may be waived if applicant has an undergraduate Grade Point Average of 3.3 or higher on a 4.0 scale for all previously completed undergraduate university work, and/or holds an advanced post-graduate degree from a regionally accredited college/university);
  • Two letters of recommendation that discuss the applicant’s abilities (college instructors strongly preferred);
  • A personal statement (1-2 page essay regarding the student’s interest in political science and how the M.A. degree will benefit him or her);
  • An undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale for all previously completed undergraduate university work.

The program will consider provisional admission (see definition elsewhere in this Graduate Catalog) for students who meet all of the above requirements with the exception of the undergraduate GPA. To be considered for provisional admission an applicant must have an undergraduate GPA between 2.50 and 2.99 on a 4.0 scale for all previously completed undergraduate university work.

Degree Requirements

Students must complete 36 hours of credit, which includes nine thesis hours.

Required Core Curriculum and Suggested Sequence (15 Hrs.)

  • PSC 600 Research Design (3 hrs) – First Semester
  • PSC 604 Data Analysis(3 hrs) – Second Semester
  • PSC 680 Master’s Thesis Workshop (3 hrs) – Third Semester
  • PSC 681 Thesis (6 hrs) – Fourth Semester

Electives (21 Hrs.)

These electives must be selected with approval of the Director of Graduate Studies and may be a mixture of any 5XX and 6XX political science courses.

A minimum of six elective hours must be seminars from the following list: PSC 606, 609, 611, 612, 614, 622, 629, 648, 650-1, 652, 660, 675 (may count for a maximum of three hours toward this requirement), and others with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.

A maximum of six elective hours from graduate courses taken outside of the political science department may be counted toward the degree with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.


The written thesis (and subsequent oral defense) serves as the culminating project for the M.A. degree in Political Science.

In cooperation with the Director of Graduate Studies, a student should form a thesis committee. The thesis committee assists in selecting and developing the research problem and evaluates the student’s work on that problem. The student should also determine the graduate faculty member of the department who will serve as chair of the student’s thesis committee.

Students will develop a written thesis prospectus, approved by their thesis committee, in PSC 680. The remaining thesis credit hours (PSC 681) will usually be taken in the subsequent semester. In addition to writing the thesis, all students must pass an oral defense.


Each new graduate student must meet with the Director of Graduate Studies before his or her first semester as a graduate student. Continued advising throughout a student’s tenure at Marshall University is strongly encouraged.

Plan of Study

A Plan of Study approved by the Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Dean must be filed in the Graduate College office before the student registers for the 12th semester hour.

Two-C Rule

A student who earns more than two grades of C or lower in any graduate courses may be withdrawn from the program.

Accelerated Master’s Degree

An Accelerated Master’s Degree is available for qualified undergraduate political science majors. See the Accelerated Master’s Degree section in this catalog for details.