Academic Programs Catalog

College of Social Science

Graduate Study

The Department of Political Science offers a Master of Arts and a Doctor of Philosophy degree program in Political Science and a Master of Public Policy degree program in Public Policy.

The graduate degree programs in the Department of Political Science are designed to help students become thoroughly grounded in the knowledge base and research methods of political science. Training is given in the following major fields of political science:  American politics, comparative politics, international politics, public policy, political thought, formal theory, and research methodology.

The Department of Political Science and the Department of Economics jointly offer a Master of Public Policy Degree, as well as Linked Bachelor’s-Master’s Degree in Public Policy.  The Master of Public Policy Degree and the Linked Bachelor’s-Master’s Degree in Public Policy provide students with the requisite skills to address complex societal problems, reconcile conflicting political and ethical values in policymaking, make informed decisions about program activities, and provide effective leadership in policy development and implementation.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Social Science, graduate students must meet the requirements specified below.

Admission

A bachelor's degree from an accredited educational institution is required for admission. Applicants should have the equivalent of an undergraduate major in political science, in a related social science, or in mathematics, statistics, or computer science. Some background in social science research methods, statistics, and/or basic mathematical operations is recommended. Normally, a minimum grade–point average of 3.20 in the last two years of undergraduate work is required for admission.

Applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test. Official results from this examination should be sent to the Department of Political Science. 

Admission to the doctoral program is limited to fall semester only.  For the Master of Public Policy program, most students are admitted for fall semester; applications for the spring semester will be considered on the basis of available openings. Applications for admission and financial aid should be submitted by March 1. Applications for admission alone will be accepted until approximately May 15.

Academic Standards

Graduate students must maintain a cumulative grade–point average of at least 3.00. Only those courses completed with a grade of 2.5 or higher may be counted toward the requirements for the master's or doctoral degree. A student who received two grades of 2.5 or below, or one grade of 2.0 or below, may be withdrawn from the program. A student who received three grades of 2.5 or below, or two grades of 2.0 or below, will be withdrawn from the program.



Political Science - Master of Arts

The Master of Arts program is designed to prepare students for doctoral studies. Those accepted are judged by the committee on admissions as qualified to enter the doctoral program, and it is anticipated they plan to complete this program at Michigan State University.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university, of the College of Social Science, and of the Department of Political Science, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Requirements for the Master of Arts Degree in Political Science

The program is available only under Plan B (without thesis).  The student must meet the requirements specified below: 

  1. Complete at least 30 credits distributed as follows:
    1. At least 24 credits in Political Science courses at the 800–900 level including Political Science 800, 801, and 802
    2. No more than 6 credits in courses at the 400–900 level in related disciplines
  2. Submit two substantial research papers acceptable to the department.  These papers normally will be written in graduate seminars in Political Science and will be evaluated by the instructor(s) of the courses.

    With the written approval of the department, a student may complete fewer than 24 credits in Political Science courses and more than 6 credits in courses in related disciplines.

Academic Standards

The student must maintain an overall grade–point average of 3.00 or higher.

Transfer Credits

For Law College students who have been admitted to the dual J.D.-M.A. program with Michigan State University -  College of Law, a maximum of 12 credits from Michigan State University - College of Law may be transferred to the M.A. program with a major in political science. A grade of 2.0 in a Law course will transfer to MSU as a passing grade. Students will be assessed at the Law College tuition rate with a graduate assistantship covering only the MSU cost of in-state tuition.

 

 


Public Policy - Master of Public Policy

The Master of Public Policy degree in Public Policy is designed to provide students with theoretical knowledge and specific skills essential for professional achievement in the public and non-profit sectors. The objective of this program is to develop an analytical approach to the public decision-making process through the systematic study of policy and policy analysis. Current professionals in the field of public policy or others who are interested in a career in public policy in the non-profit sector or in government will find this program appealing.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university, the College of Social Science, and the Department of Political Science, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Requirements for the Master of Public Policy Degree in Public Policy

The program is available only under Plan B (without thesis).  The student must complete 39 credits in courses approved by the director of the Master in Public Policy program and distributed as follows:

               
1. Complete all of the following courses:  
  PPL 801 Quantitative Methods in Public Policy 3
  PPL 802 Quantitative Methods in Public Policy II 3
  PPL 805 Microeconomic Theory 3
  PPL 806 Policy Evaluation 3
  PPL 807 Public Policy 3
  PPL 808 Policy Development and Administration 3
  PPL 813 Public Finance 3
  PPL 890 Policy Workshop 3
  PPL 891 Issues in Public Policy 6
2. Complete an additional 9 credits of course work at the 800-level or above as approved by the director of the program.  
3. Students with no professional experience will be required to complete 3 credits of Public Policy 894 Field Experience Practicum.  
4. Successful completion of a final examination or evaluation.  



Political Science - Doctor of Philosophy

The doctoral degree is generally undertaken by students wishing to teach political science and government at the college level and by those seeking professional careers in political and social research. Special attention is given at the doctoral level to intensive training in political research.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university, of the College of Social Science, and of the Department of Political Science, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Political Science

The doctoral student must:

1. Earn at least 45 credits in political science courses including:
a. All of the following courses (15 credits):
PLS 800 Proseminar: Political Theory and Research Methods 3
PLS 801 Quantitative Techniques in Public Policy and Political Science I 3
PLS 802 Quantitative Techniques in Public Policy and Political Science II 3
PLS 803 Political Thought 3
PLS 809 Proseminar in Formal Theory 3
b. At least four courses in a major field, approved by the student's guidance committee, selected from one of the following political science fields: American politics, comparative politics, international relations, public policy or political philosophy.
c. At least three courses in a minor field, approved by the student's guidance committee, selected from one of the following political science fields: American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political philosophy, public policy, research methodology, or formal theory.
2. Pass a comprehensive examination in both the major and minor field.
3. Successfully write and defend a doctoral dissertation in a public oral examination.

Additional requirements and evaluations are described in the Ph.D. Handbook on the department's Web site at www.pls.msu.edu.

Academic Standards

Academic standards for the Doctor of Philosophy degree program are described in the Ph.D. Handbook on the department's Web site at www.pls.msu.edu.