Political Science (M.A.) – Admissions Suspended – No Longer Accepting New Applications

NOTE: The Political Science Department has suspended admissions for the MA in political science and is no longer accepting new students. For those interested in a graduate degree in public affairs, we recommend you consider the Masters in Public Public Administration (MPA).


This page is a description of the MA program for students admitted Fall 2017 or later. For those admitted between Fall 2013 and Summer 2017, 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.

In addition, applicants must have:

  • Completed 12 hours of undergraduate social science coursework and have an undergraduate degree Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale;
  • A personal statement discussing the applicant’s interest in political science and how the M.A. degree will benefit them; and
  • Two letters of recommendation that discuss the applicant’s abilities (college instructors strongly preferred).

Conditional Admission

The Political Science program may admit applicants conditionally, for one term, pending receipt of final official undergraduate transcript.

Provisional Admission

The Political Science program may admit applicants provisionally who have an undergraduate GPA between 2.50 and 2.99 on a 4.0 scale.

Degree Requirements

Students must complete 36 hours of credit, which includes the required hours below.

Required Core Curriculum and Suggested Sequence (18 Hrs.)

  • PSC 600 Research Design (3 hrs) – First Semester
  • PSC 604 Data Analysis (3 hrs) – Second Semester
  • Four Core 600-level Seminars (12 Hrs.)— 1 per Semester. Seminars are taken from a rotation of PSC 606, 609, 611, 612, 614, 629 and 648. Students with Legislative Internship hours can substitute PSC 675 as a Core Seminar course. All other course substitutions by permission of Director of Graduate

Electives (18 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 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. Students in a dual degree program (e.g., PSC MA/MPA) may count up to 9 hours of outside credit as electives. Thesis hours (PSC 681) can count toward elective credit with approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.

Thesis Option

Students can choose the written thesis (and subsequent oral defense) as a culminating project for the Political Science M.A. degree.

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 addition to writing the thesis, all students must pass an oral defense.

Comprehensive Exam Option

Students can choose the comprehensive exam as their culminating project for the Political Science M.A. degree. Over a two-week period in their fourth semester, students will work with core seminar instructors to develop a portfolio of written responses evaluating their competency in the core fields of Political Science. For students admitted prior to Fall 2017, additional classes can be substituted for core seminars with approval of the graduate instructor.

Evaluation of student competency is based on written responses and 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.

Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management

The Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management is designed to enhance job skills, earn recognition, increase marketability, and meet professional development requirements. This is an interdisciplinary program housed in the Political Science department. The coursework focuses on the practical aspects of managing nonprofits, as well as the theoretical underpinnings of all organizations. With advisor approval, certificate program course credit may be applied towards a graduate degree in either Public Administration or Business Administration.

Admission Requirements:

Students already enrolled in the Master of Public Administration or the Master of Business Administration should submit a Secondary Program Request form (www.marshall.edu/graduate/secondary-program-request-form) to Graduate Admissions. A prospective certificate-only student should apply for admission to Marshall University as a Professional Development student and select the application form for the Certificate in Nonprofit Management.

Program Requirements:

The program requires 18 hours (PSC 532, PSC 533, PSC 553, MGT 672, MGT 682, LS 626). All classes for this certificate are online.