the Master of Arts in Politics offers concentrations in political theory, world politics, and American government. Class sizes are small — generally under 10 students per course — and feature traditional seminar-style environments and close working relationships with Department of Politics faculty. A limited number of half-tuition merit scholarships are available on a competitive basis for highly qualified students.

The program is designed to be completed in two years of full-time study (three courses in each of the first three semesters, plus a 10th course in the spring of the second year along with the comprehensive examination). Students with prior graduate coursework, or who take a more ambitious course load, are often able to meet the program requirements in a year and a half. Students also have the option to enroll in the M.A. program part-time taking one or two classes per semester; our classes are generally scheduled in the evenings to facilitate this.

Graduates of our program frequently pursue careers in public service, politics, and education, or advance in careers they had already begun in these areas. Several of our M.A. students have also continued their education in Ph.D. programs, either at Catholic University or at other nationally renowned universities.


  • Students may be admitted to the department provided they have graduated from an accredited college with an average of B or better.
  • They should have completed 15 semester hours in the social sciences, nine of which must have been in political science.
  • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required.


  • For the master's degree, a minimum of 30 semester hours of coursework is required.
  • A 3.0 grade point average or better must be maintained.
  • American government and political theory students must take POL 651 and 652 (Political Theory I and Political Theory II). World politics students may concentrate in either international relations or comparative politics, and they must take POL 606 (Introduction to International Affairs) and 607 (Graduate Introduction to Comparative Politics). Students who concentrate in American government are required to complete POL 625 (Graduate Introduction to American Government). Students who select political theory or world politics as their fields of concentration must take at least six hours in the other fields offered by the department.
  • Students may elect to write a master's thesis, for which they receive six hours of credit, on a topic approved by the department and the dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. Students who do not choose to write a thesis must demonstrate research competence by means of the papers prepared for their research seminars. Two such papers must be submitted to the department for review and approval.
  • All M.A. students (excepting only those in congressional and presidential studies) must demonstrate basic competence in a research skill, which can be either a foreign language or a methodology. For students in political theory, only languages are acceptable. For students in world politics, either languages or statistics are acceptable. For students in American government, languages, statistics, historiography, and other qualitative methodologies, such as archival methods, are acceptable.

    For the acceptable means of demonstrating basic competence in a foreign language, which may be a classical language, students should consult "General Requirements for Graduate Study" in the Graduate Studies Announcements.

    With the approval of the department, a student may demonstrate basic competence in a methodology relevant to the discipline of politics. Normally, this is fulfilled by completion of an approved methodology course at Catholic University. The department maintains a list of courses that can be taken for that purpose. Among the methodologies that may be accepted are statistics and quantitative data analysis.

    The department may approve coursework done prior to graduate study in the department as demonstrating competence in a methodology. The department may require additional research skills if this is considered necessary for satisfactory completion of the student's program.
  • Students who have completed or are in the final semester of 30 hours of coursework must register for and take a written comprehensive examination in their field of concentration. All appropriate research skill requirements and seminar paper requirements must be satisfied prior to this examination.