Loyola University Chicago

Department of Political Science

Dual BA/MA Degree in Political Science

The dual BA/MA program allows our best undergraduate Political Science majors to pursue the BA and MA in a shorter period of time than if both programs were pursued separately.  Students typically complete the dual BA/MA program in 5 years, as opposed to the 6 years (4 years for the BA and 2 years for the MA) if both programs were pursued separately.  Students admitted to the program may apply up to 9 semester hours (3 classes) earned toward the BA degree to satisfy the 30 semester hours (10 courses) required for the MA degree. The 9 hours must include at least 6 hours of 400- or 500-level courses and up to 3 hours of 300-level courses.

Learning Outcomes and Professional Success

The dual BA/MA in Political Science is designed to achieve the following learning outcomes:

  • Acquire an overview of the theories and scholarly literature devoted to four major subfields within the discipline of Political Science:
    • American Politics (study of U.S. institutions and political processes).
    • Comparative Politics (study of political processes in various regions of the world, such as Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East).
    • International Relations (study of global processes throughout the international system).
    • Political Theory (study of political philosophy ranging from Ancient to Modern and Contemporary political thought).
  • Obtain methods training, including research design and statistical analysis, that will enable the successful candidate to effectively design and conduct research.
  • Enhance the ability of students to express their thoughts in writing (all Political Science graduate classes include a significant writing component).
  • Prepare BA/MA students for purposeful careers in politics, government, international affairs, law, the non-profit world, journalism, business, education, social services, and other professions, as well as for further graduate (PhD) study at professional schools and institutions of higher learning, both in the U.S. and abroad.

We as a Political Science department also encourage our BA/MA students to take advantage of additional learning opportunities through numerous Political Science-sponsored programs that will enhance learning outcomes:

  • Acquire advanced methodological training, including taking advanced statistics courses at Loyola, as well as participating in specialized programs outside of Loyola, such as the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)
  • Pursue advanced language training/proficiency in a language other than English by taking language courses at Loyola, as well as by participating in specialized language programs outside of Loyola, especially if the student is planning on conducting field research outside of the United States.
  • Acquire advanced research skills by working on a research project under the mentorship of individual faculty members who have received internal or external grants.
  • Gain international, cross-cultural experience by participating in study abroad opportunities led by Political Science faculty or more broadly offered through Loyola’s Office for International Programs (OIP).
  • Obtain professional experience through our Chicago-based internship program that places students in host offices throughout Chicago during the fall, spring, and summer sessions, including participating in an internship class where you share your experiences with other student interns.

Strengthen class-based learning by attending Political Science-sponsored events, most notably our endowed Hartigan (fall semester) and Covey (spring semester) lecture series that bring prominent scholars and political figures to Loyola every semester to share their ideas and to meet with students.

Who may apply to this program?

Junior political science majors with an overall GPA of at least 3.30. Students must apply by the end of their junior year, since they will have to take one graduate course in each semester of their senior year.

How does this program work?

Students admitted to the program may apply up to 9 semester hours of credit earned toward the 120 semester hours needed for the BA toward the 30 semester hour requirement for the MA degree. The nine hours must include at least 6 hours of 400- or 500-level credit and may include up to 3 hours of 300-level credit. The nine hours of credit applied toward the MA degree are in addition to the 33 semester hours of credit normally required for the undergraduate political science major. The application of the nine hours of credit toward the 30 hour MA requirement means that students will only be required to take 21 additional semester hours of coursework beyond the 120 hours required for the BA degree. As a result, students will be able to complete the MA degree in less time than normal.

How do you apply?

Junior political science majors meeting the minimum GPA requirements are eligible to apply for admission. You must follow the normal admission procedures for application to the MA program, except that the requirement to submit GRE scores does not apply. You must submit a completed application, which includes a personal statement of goals and reasons for pursuing the MA degree, along with three letters of recommendation; your Loyola transcript will be supplied by the department. There is no application fee.

What about tuition costs?

Until you have satisfied all of the requirements for the BA degree, you are classified as an undergraduate and pay undergraduate tuition and fees. After you have satisfied all of the requirements for the BA degree, you are classified as a graduate student and pay graduate tuition and fees. You should note that full time graduate study normally involves taking three courses (nine semester hours), which means that your tuition will be significantly lower in your fifth year of study, based upon the current fee schedule.

Where can you find out more about the BA/MA Program?

For further information, please contact Professor Molly Melin, Graduate Program Director. E-mail: mmelin@luc.edu.  Office phone: 773.508.8647.