Political Science is the study of how societies govern themselves and interact with
one another. Courses of instruction in the Political Science M.A. program are offered
in the following subfields: American politics, comparative government, international
relations, political philosophy, public law, and public administration. Areas of focus
include analysis of government structures and processes, citizens’ influence on government,
policy content, philosophical concepts and traditions, political systems of other
states, and resolution of conflicts between nations. By developing critical thinking
and analytical skills, the major prepares students for effective participation in
the political process, successful careers in the public and private sectors, and further
study in law, political science, and public administration.
We continuously and actively assess the Political Science graduate curriculum to ensure
that the following learning outcomes are being met for each of our graduates: Acquisition
of a knowledge and understanding of the values, beliefs, and institutions that constitute
governing processes; Acquisition of an understanding of the distinctions among the
major subfields of the discipline including: American politics and law, international
relations, comparative politics, and political theory; Development of a knowledge
and understanding of citizens’ roles within governing processes; Acquisition of a
knowledge of the theories and analytic skills necessary to evaluate conflicting arguments,
assemble and present appropriate evidence, and make reasoned conclusions from the
evidence available; and The ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in
While an undergraduate degree provides students with a broad knowledge of political
science, graduate education is an opportunity for more focused study. Masters students
will earn most of their credits in courses sharing a common theme, such as a sub-field
of the discipline (American Politics, Comparative Politics, Political Theory, Public
Law or Methodology), a world region, a particular policy issue area, or a phase of
The MA in Political Science, the MA in International Studies, and the Master of Public Administration are offered by the School of Politics, Public Affairs, and International Studies. The school’s mission is to give graduate students an understanding of the theories
and methods necessary for success in (1) research or in post-baccalaureate study in
any of the subfields in political science, (2) high school teaching in social science,
or (3) careers in policy analysis or public administration in local, state, or federal
government, or international governmental, non-profit, or non-governmental organizations.
Our graduate students have progressed to senior positions in government, the U.S.
Foreign Service, and international organizations; they have pursued rewarding careers
in education and the private sector; and they have advanced to Ph.D. programs in political
science and related fields.
Students must pass an oral examination and/or thesis defense at the completion of
their program. Normally the examination or defense will center on the thesis, but
may also encompass coursework of the candidate. When setting up a defense students
will need to pick a date and time, students should know their defense is public, and
students will also need to prepare an announcement that can be electronically distributed
to all of the UW Faculty.
Political science is a discipline you can use no matter where your journey takes you.
The research and writing skills, the habits of mind, and the understanding of systems,
human behavior and data translate into jobs in industry, government and the nonprofit
In addition to pursuing law degrees and Ph.Ds, graduates from the UW political science
program have distinguished themselves in the highest echelons of government, including
vice president of the United States. Our alumni have also made contributions to prominent
political campaigns, worked in Congressional offices (both the House and the Senate),
the state department, law and academia.
UW’s Political Science M.A. graduates have held such titles as:
Others have gone on to doctoral degree programs at these institutions:
The deadline for admissions and Graduate Assistantships for the Fall term is February
1st. Applications are accepted year-round, on a rolling basis, until August 15th for
that Fall semester. However, applications received by the February 1st deadline will
receive priority consideration for admissions and in the assistantship award process.
Once your application has been submitted and all materials have been uploaded, including
your letters of recommendation, your application is considered complete. Beginning
in February the SPPAIS graduate committee will review complete applications, and the
Graduate Director will send a recommendation to the Graduate School to admit or deny