Loyola University Chicago

Department of Political Science

MA in Political Science

To graduate with an MA in Political Science students must complete 30 hours of course work (10 courses) in the Department of Political Science.  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.  They may also write an optional MA thesis, which substitutes for 2 courses (6 hours of credit).

Learning Outcomes and Professional Success

The 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 extensive 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 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 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.

Degree Requirements

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 (taken in the first semester)
  • 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 520) 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)

3. Comprehensive Examination: All MA candidates must also pass a 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 be currently registered for courses necessary for the degree in the semester in which they take the exam. 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. 


Time Limit

Graduate School policy require MA students to complete the program within five years. A student failing to meet this deadline may submit a petition to the Graduate Studies Committee requesting an extension of this deadline.

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