Master of Arts in Political Science

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Admission to Program

Most political science graduate students have an undergraduate degree in political science. While this is recommended, the department accepts applications from students with other majors.

The minimum cumulative GPA is 3.25. Applicants with lower GPAs may be considered if they have received scores of 550 or above on both the math and verbal portions of the GRE exam.

All applicants are required to submit two letters of recommendation evaluating their ability, promise, and past performance.

All foreign students whose native language is not English are required to meet all SF State requirements, including a score that meets University requirements on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). See the University requirements for specific scores.

Applications are to be received by March 31st for the fall semester, and November 1st for the spring semester.

Written English Proficiency Requirement

The University has a requirement for written English proficiency that is to be assessed at two different levels.

Level One (pre-admission/admission)

A GRE score that demonstrates proficiency in writing (i.e., a score of 4.0 or better). Students who do not meet this requirement must take an appropriate graduate level writing course in their first year at SF State.

Level Two

Satisfactory completion of Culminating Experience requirements  - either a Comprehensive Exam in two fields or M.A. thesis. Students who elect to take the Comprehensive Exam must enroll in PLSI 896EXM.

Advancement to Candidacy

Candidates for the M.A. degree must have classified status; have successfully completed PLSI 700, PLSI 740, PLSI 760 and PLSI 780; maintained an overall grade point average of 3.0; and have the approval of the graduate coordinator.

Political Science (M.A.) — Minimum 30 units.

Core Requirements (12 units)

PLSI 700Research Methods3
PLSI 740Seminar in American Politics3
PLSI 760Seminar in Comparative Politics3
PLSI 780Seminar in Political Theory3

Elective Requirements (6 - 9 units)

Students choosing to do a thesis should take at least two courses; those opting for comprehensive examinations should select three courses from the following:

  • Topics in American Politics - Any political science course with a number in the range of 741 to 759
  • Topics in Comparative Politics - Any political science course with a number in the range of 761 to 779
  • Topics in Political Theory - Any political science course with a number in the range of 781 to 797
  • or Graduate seminar (3 - 4 units) in a related field upon advisement and approval

Related Courses (9 units)

Graduate seminars and/or upper division undergraduate courses in political science or related fields upon advisement and approval of the graduate coordinator.

Culminating Requirement (0 - 3 units)

PLSI 896EXMCulminating Experience Examination0
PLSI 898Master's Thesis3

Students who want to enroll in a course of independent study (PLSI 899) must have a GPA of at least 3.25.