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 Master of Arts in Political Science

The Political Science MA program at Texas Tech University provides selected students an opportunity to expand their background in one or more fields of political science that may be relevant to their career goals. It also provides a sound preparation for students who expect to transfer to another institution to study toward a Ph.D. in political science. Students may follow one of two tracks toward completion of their MA degrees: the Thesis Track or the Comprehensive Exam Track.

Thesis Track

Under the thesis plan, the student is required to complete 24 hours of course work plus 6 hours of thesis for 30 hours total. Under the thesis option, students declare a single major field of study drawn from American politics, comparative politics, or international relations. Under the guidance of a thesis chair and committee thesis students will write, and must successfully defend, a thesis to receive the M.A. degree. For a more detailed discussion of the basic requirements, students should consult the Graduate Handbook.

Comprehensive Exam Track

Under the comprehensive examination plan, students complete 36 hours of graduate courses. The student must declare a major field drawn from American politics, comparative politics, or international relations, along with a minor field drawn from these three or from political methodology, public administration, or public policy. At the culmination of the students coursework s/he must pass written comprehensive
examinations in each field. For a more detailed discussion of the basic requirements, students should consult the Graduate Handbook.

Standardized First-Year Curriculum

M.A. students under either plan are required to begin their graduate study through courses in our standardized first year curriculum. This curriculum consists of: POLS 5380 “Data Management,” POLS 5381 “Research Design,” POLS 5382 “Data Analysis,” POLS 5383 “Advanced Quantitative Research Methods in Political Science,” POLS 5322 “Pro-Seminar in American Politics,” POLS 5360 “Pro-Seminar in International Relations,” POLS 5370 “Pro-Seminar in Comparative Politics,” and three sections of POLS 5100. Students must obtain at least a B in POLS 5380, 5381, 5382, and 5383 or retake the classes. There are, however, two exceptions. First, Comprehensive Exam Track M.A. students are required to take only two of the three pro-seminars, though the third may also be taken if consistent with the students degree objectives. Second, unless the student is serving as a T.A., terminal M.A. students are not required to take the socialization courses (POLS 5100). If serving as a TA the student should take the teaching section of POLS 5100.