Political Science (M.A.)

Political Science (M.A.)
Political science professor giving a lecture

Why get a master’s degree in political science?

With an M.A. degree in political science, you’ll gain the critical thinking skills necessary to analyze and evaluate the workings of government, politics and public policy in today’s world. Focus on American, comparative or international politics, or tailor your program to meet your needs. Our faculty comprise a wide range of expertise including U.S. elections, environmental politics, international organizations, food and wine politics, democratization, social movements and identity politics. You’ll learn howto design academically rigorous projects, how to research and gather data, and how to analyze data with both qualitative and quantitative methods. Our students are well-prepared for professional careers or advanced studies.

Why choose UNH for your political science degree?

UNH’s internationally recognized faculty will work closely with you to tailor a curriculum that best suits your interests and professional needs. Our faculty match their academic expertise with practical, applied experience, and we include our students in our research projects. You’ll have the opportunity to conduct your own research and present your findings at professional conferences. You’ll enjoy meeting the high-profile national and international guest speakers who regularly visit our campus. Thanks to New Hampshire’s unique role in presidential elections, you’ll have a front row seat to the primaries, with opportunities to meet candidates, campaigners and observers of the electoral process.

Potential career areas

  • Business/corporate analyst
  • Campaign operative
  • CIA analyst or agent
  • Congressional office/committee staffer
  • Foreign Service/State Department officer
  • Immigration officer
  • Journalist
  • Local government official
  • Public opinion analyst
  • Public policy analyst
  • Research analyst
  • Urban policy planner
Contact

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Curriculum & Requirements

Since 1948, the Graduate Program of the Department of Political Science has been educating students, scholars and civic leaders in all domains of political life. Encompassing a range of research fields, our graduate program allows students to explore the nature and distribution of political power and resources at the individual and community levels, as well as federal, state and local governments, electoral politics, and in the international arena.

The Department of Political Science at UNH offers the Master of Arts in Political Science. The program provides advanced study in international relations and American and comparative politics. The program serves students interested in working in government, public service, nonprofit management, electoral politics, education and research, and in preparing for Ph.D. programs. It gives students the flexibility to tailor their coursework to individual interests within a curriculum that ensures a strong foundation in international and domestic politics, research methods, and analysis. Faculty engage in teaching and research activities encompassing the fields of international and comparative politics, American politics, and political thought.

The program is offered to full- and part-time students.

Degree Requirements

Students may choose between the Thesis option and Non-Thesis option.  Both options require a minimum of 40 graduate credits.

M.A. with Thesis Option

Master's degree students must complete a minimum of 40 credits for the degree: ten courses, two of which may be thesis credits (POLT 899 Master's Thesis). Of the ten courses, two are required seminars: Pro Seminar (POLT 800 Political Science Pro-Seminar) and an introductory statistical analysis course (e.g.,  PPOL 908), and are to be taken during the student's first year.

Students are encouraged to work with the MA program director to identify relevant courses of interest across the College of Liberal Arts graduate offerings.  The MA program director must provide course approval for courses offered outside the department. Successful completion and defense of a 8-credit master's thesis is required.

POLT 800Political Science Pro-Seminar 14
Select one introductory course on statistical analysis
PPOL 908Quantitative Methods for Policy Research3
Thesis
POLT 899Master's Thesis8
Select six additional courses from the following:24
POLT 801
Courts and Public Policy
POLT 805
Elections in the United States
POLT 809
Reforming American Government
POLT 821
Feminist Political Theory
POLT 840
States and Societies in the Middle East
POLT 842
Politics of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India
POLT 848
Food and Wine Politics
POLT 850
Politics of Poverty
POLT 851
Comparative Environmental Politics and Policy
POLT 860
Theories of International Relations
POLT 862
International Political Economy
POLT #865
Security Intelligence Study
POLT 878
International Organization
POLT 897B
Seminar in American Politics
POLT 897C
Seminar in Comparative Politics
POLT 897E
Seminar in International Politics
POLT #897I
Seminar in Political Thought
POLT 898B
Seminar in American Politics
POLT 996
Independent Study
1

To be taken during the student's first year

M.A. Non-Thesis Option

Master's degree students must complete ten courses totaling a minimum of 40 credits for the degree. Of the ten courses, two are required: Pro Seminar (POLT 800 Political Science Pro-Seminar) and an introductory statistical analysis course (e.g., PPOL 908), and are to be taken during the student's first year. In their final semester, students will enroll in a capstone course, and may choose from POLT 995 Capstone Research Project  or POLT 990 Internship Capstone. Students should consult with their faculty mentors to select the capstone experience that will best align with their long-term professional goals.

Students are encouraged to work with the MA program director to identify relevant courses of interest across the College of Liberal Arts graduate offerings. The MA program director must provide course approval for elective courses offered outside the department.

POLT 800Political Science Pro-Seminar 14
Select one introductory course on statistical analysis
PPOL 908Quantitative Methods for Policy Research3
Select seven additional courses from the following:28
POLT 801
Courts and Public Policy
POLT 805
Elections in the United States
POLT 809
Reforming American Government
POLT 821
Feminist Political Theory
POLT 840
States and Societies in the Middle East
POLT 842
Politics of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India
POLT 848
Food and Wine Politics
POLT 850
Politics of Poverty
POLT 851
Comparative Environmental Politics and Policy
POLT 860
Theories of International Relations
POLT 862
International Political Economy
POLT #865
Security Intelligence Study
POLT 878
International Organization
POLT 897B
Seminar in American Politics
POLT 897C
Seminar in Comparative Politics
POLT 897E
Seminar in International Politics
POLT #897I
Seminar in Political Thought
POLT 898B
Seminar in American Politics
POLT 996
Independent Study
Capstone Experience4
POLT 995
Capstone Research Project
or POLT 990
Internship Capstone
1

To be taken during the student's first year

This graduate program is approved to be taken on an accelerated basis in articulation with certain undergraduate degree programs.

General Accelerated Master's policy, note that some programs have additional requirements (e.g. higher grade expectations) compared to the policy.

Please see the Graduate School website and contact the department directly for more information.

  • Building advanced skills in analyzing, processing, and communicating complex information, using qualitative and quantitative approaches.
  • Effectively and persuasively presenting analysis and findings in written, oral, and graphical form.
  • Facilitating student exploration of thematic, regional, and methodological areas of specialization and interest. Areas of strength include the study of public opinion, international politics and international relations, political economy, environmental politics, Latin American politics, Middle Eastern politics, Asian politics, and American politics.

Apply now

Deadlines

Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall: Feb. 15 (for funding); April 1 (recommended US; final international); Aug. 7 (final)
  • Spring: Jan. 1
  • Summer: Feb. 15 (for funding); May 7 (final)
  • Special: N/A

Application fee: $65

Campus: Durham

New England Regional: ME VT

Accelerated Masters: Yes (for more details see the accelerated masters information page)

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence Form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.

Transcripts

If you attended UNH or Granite State College (GSC) after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester, UNH Non-Degree work and GSC. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must upload a copy (PDF) of your transcript in the application form. International transcripts must be translated into English.

If admitted, you must then request an official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to grad.school@unh.edu. Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Transcripts from all previous post-secondary institutions must be submitted and applicants must disclose any previous academic or disciplinary sanctions that resulted in their temporary or permanent separation from a previous post-secondary institution. If it is found that previous academic or disciplinary separations were not disclosed, applicants may face denial and admitted students may face dismissal from their academic program.

Letters of recommendation: 3 required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

Test Scores: GRE Required

GRE required. However, if you are currently a UNH undergraduate Political Science major, and applying for Accelerated Master’s admission, then please email grad.school@unh.edu to request a waiver of the GRE requirement. Your email must include your student ID number. Request official test scores to be sent directly to the Graduate School by the testing service. Test scores more than five years old are not acceptable. Student copies and photo copies of scores are not considered official. Our CEEB code is 3918.

For general information about test scores required for admission into our programs please visit our Test Scores webpage.

Personal Statement/Essay Questions

Prepare a brief but careful statement regarding:

  1. Reasons you wish to do graduate work in this field, including your immediate and long-range objectives.
  2. Your specific research or professional interest and experiences in this field.

Important Notes

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program-specific application questions.

International Applicants

Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.

Explore Program Details

The master's degree program in Political Science is suitable for enterprising students seeking careers from teaching to research, electoral politics, and government work. Additionally, many students choose to pursue Ph.D.s after graduating. The M.A. program allows full or part-time students to tailor a curriculum that best suits their interests and professional needs by choosing seminars from quantitative methodology to ancient political thought — and all points in between. When appropriate, students may enhance their graduate experience with coursework in related departments. The M.A. degree program culminates in a research thesis of the student's choosing, overseen by his/her thesis director and thesis committee. The M.A. degree also allows for a non-thesis option, where students take an additional two courses instead of the thesis, and successfully complete a comprehensive examination. Students should work with their faculty advisors and the graduate program coordinator and master's program director to determine which option is best suited for their career and academic goals.

Our graduate program works closely with faculty and staff and promotes the benefits of the University of New Hampshire main campus in Durham. Students are encouraged to take advantage of frequent lectures, speaking engagements, and presentations by faculty and experts, high-profile national and international guest speakers, candidates in and observers of the unique New Hampshire presidential primary and state electoral campaigns.

International relations are a strength of the program. Award-winning faculty members engage in teaching and research in the areas of international organizations, Asian politics, international environmental politics and organizations, and emerging democracies.

For more information, see our brochure:

Political Science Degree: MA

Courses

Each semester, the Department offers a selection of graduate seminars and required courses that include at least one course in each of our four subfields (American/PA; international relations, comparative, and political theory). The required courses for the M.A. (POLT 900 Pro-Seminar and POLT 905 Introduction to Statistical Analysis ) should both be taken during the student's first two semesters. Summer course offerings are more limited.

Faculty

UNH political science faculty specialize in a range of teaching and research areas such that graduate students have valuable resources and potential mentors throughout the M.A. program. In addition to teaching cognate areas, faculty teach research techniques from close readings of primary texts to quantitative methods and polling research.

Students

Current and recent students in the M.A. program have a range of backgrounds from government work and teaching to recent graduates in the social sciences. They are available to answer questions about the M.A. program and life as a UNH graduate student.

Comprehensive Exam

Students may choose to take a comprehensive exam to complete their master's degree requirements. The comprehensive exam is administered once each fall and spring semester. All students planning to take the comprehensive exam must complete the Comprehensive Exam Application Form at least 30 days prior to the scheduled examination dates. Students complete one essay in a three-hour morning session covering research design and methodology from POLT 900 and POLT 905. Students complete a second three-hour essay focused on their chosen subfield in Political Science and other coursework in the afternoon.

What are the career opportunities for graduates with the M.A. in Political Science degree?

Graduates of our M.A. program have gone on to work in management-level positions for government agencies at all levels; political science professors at post-secondary institutions throughout the U.S.; elected government officials; research positions; and public opinion survey and polling management.

What type of institutions do M.A. graduates go on to complete Ph.D. programs?

In the recent past, our graduates have entered or have completed Ph.D. programs at Brandeis, Boston University, the University of Massachusetts, Michigan State and University of Arizona

How long will it take me to complete the degree requirements?

Full-time students generally take 18 months to complete their degree requirements. Part-time student completion times vary. Full and part-time students have 6 years to complete their graduate degree program.

How important is the GRE for admission to the M.A. program?

Students are required to submit scores for the GRE general test. These scores are considered in the context of the whole application.

Does the Department offer financial assistance for graduate students?

The department's graduate program offers a limited number of graduate assistantships and tuition scholarship to full-time students each year. These opportunities are awarded on a competitive basis. For more information go to the Graduate School website.

For information on other financial assistance options, visit the Financial Aid website.

What opportunities exist to assist faculty research?

Opportunities exist for students to present papers and research findings at professional conferences with the assistance of faculty mentors. Graduate assistants occasionally help faculty with research as part of their work duties. Faculty advise students on their own research, which often dovetails with faculty research.

What is the deadline for admission?

The graduate program works on a rolling admission basis. Applications should be received by Feb. 15 for financial assistance, July 1 for non-aid fall semester matriculation, and Dec. 1 for spring semester matriculation. Applicants are strongly encouraged to send their completed applications as early as possible for timely response.

Can I transfer credits into the master's program?

The program allows a limited transfer of credits pending the approval of the department and the Graduate School. Students may, with the approvals, transfer up to eight credits, or two courses of related graduate work completed at an accredited institution toward their degree. If you have specific questions about transfer credit into our M.A. program, please contact the graduate program coordinator. For general information, go to the Graduate School website.

Are there special application procedures for international students?

Yes. Visit the Graduate School.

Financial aid information can be found on the department Financial Aid page.

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