Loyola University Chicago

Department of Political Science

MA in Political Science

The MA degree provides students with a general, political science graduate education that trains students in methodological techniques and research design, and provides training in at least three fields of political science. 

Degree Outcomes and Professional Success 

The MA in Political Science offers students:

  • 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 regimes, including the state, development and modernization, political, economic, and social movements).
    • 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).
  • Extensive methods training, including research design and statistical analysis, that will enable the successful candidate to effectively design and conduct research.
  • Enhanced ability to express their thoughts in writing (all Political Science graduate classes include a significant writing component).
  • Preparation 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 also encourage our MA students to take advantage of additional learning opportunities through numerous Political Science-sponsored programs:

  • Advanced methodological training
  • Advanced language training/proficiency in a language other than English
  • Advanced research skills
  • International, cross-cultural experience
  • Professional development and experience
  • Networking opportunities

Degree Requirements 

To graduate with an MA in Political Science students must complete 30 hours of course work (10 courses).  Students are required to take 3 methods courses (PLSC 401, 475, and 476) and a combination of courses in the subfields of American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Theory.  Students must take MA comprehensive exams in the semester in which they want to graduate.  They may also write an optional MA thesis, which substitutes for 2 courses (6 hours of credit).

  1. Thirty semester hours of course work (10 courses). With the approval of the Graduate Program Director, up to six hours of graduate work (2 courses) may be in related disciplines.
  2. Required Coursework: 
    • PLSC 401: Research Design
    • PLSC 475: Political Analysis I (taken in the first semester)
    • PLSC 476: Political Analysis II (taken in the second semester)
    • One core course in either comparative politics (PLSC 420) or international relations (PLSC 430)
    • Two core courses in American politics or one core course in American politics and one core course in political theory
    • Four electives (any graduate course, two of which can be in another department)
  3. Written Comprehensive Examination

All of the above requirements for the Master's degree, including removal of all existing incompletes, must be fulfilled before students can take the written comprehensive exam. Students may take the exam while enrolled in courses as long as with the completion of those courses the student has completed 30-credit hours. If the student has fulfilled all degree requirements except for the comprehensive exams, s/he should register for PLSC 605, Masters Study (zero credit hours), in the semesters leading up to and including the exam.

Thesis Option: Students may satisfy six hours (2 courses) by writing a thesis. These hours count as elective credit. Students who choose this option will take PLSC 596 for two semesters (6 credit hours) and take PLSC 597 (zero credit hours) until they are done with the thesis.  


Acceptance is based on a consideration of the following:

  • Online application (free)
  • Undergraduate academic record (applicant must provide all college transcripts)
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • A statement of purpose, not to exceed two double-spaced pages, describing academic interests and professional goals
  • Graduate Record Examination scores preferred but not required (may be requested by admissions committee as needed)

Students will be accepted in both the fall and spring semesters. Acceptance will be on a rolling basis, with the following application deadlines:

  • November 1, for matriculation in spring semester
  • June 1, for matriculation in fall semester

Program Length & Time Limit 

Students typically complete the program in 1.5 to 2 years. Graduate School policy requires MA students to complete the program within five years.

For further information, please contact Professor Molly Melin, Graduate Program Director, at mmelin@luc.edu or 773.508.8647