MA in Political Science

Poli-sci graduate students in class

Photo: Troy Wachala

The MA in Political Science serves diverse purposes related to intellectual development, preparing students for doctoral study or government, political and advocacy careers.

Student Testimonials

"All the professors have been top-notch. They love what they do. If you have a question or concern, they'll go out of their way to help you." – Peter Wittemeyer, MA in Political Science

Degree Requirements

Credit Requirement
Masters students must complete 30 credit hours:

  • Eight courses (24 credits) and Master's Thesis (6 credits), or
  • Nine courses (27 credits) and a Research Project Paper (3 credits) 

Core Course Requirement
Masters students are required to take the following Department Core Courses:

  • PSC 500 – Introduction to Political Inquiry
  • PSC 508 – Basic Statistics for Social Science

Master's students must also take the Core Courses in two of the four fields:

  • PSC 503 – Comparative Politics
  • PSC 504 – International Politics
  • PSC 505 – American Politics
  • PSC 561 – Public Law

A maximum of three courses (9 credits) may be taken outside the department, subject to prior approval for each by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Comprehensive Exams
MA students who opt for the Comprehensive Exam option must inform the Director of Graduate Studies (D.G.S.) of their intention to take the comprehensive exam in early September for February 1st conferral or in early February for June 1st conferral (the exact deadlines will be announced annually by the D.G.S. during the prior summer). At this time, the student must also state the field – American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Politics, or Public Law – in which they want to take the comprehensive exam. Normally, the exams are scheduled in the latter half of each semester. The exam option is generally not offered during summer (i.e., for September 1st conferral). The comprehensive exam requires the student to answer two essay questions that test their knowledge of the literature in their chosen field. MA students who plan to continue on for the PhD degree are strongly encouraged to choose the project or thesis option instead of the exam option.

Master's Thesis or Research Project Paper
The Master’s Thesis or Research Project Paper option is written under the direction of, and must be approved by, two faculty members; it is also subject to the approval of the D.G.S. Although the research paper is ordinarily less substantial than the thesis in scope, it is expected to be of comparable quality. As appropriate, faculty outside the department may participate in the guidance of theses or research papers.

Time Limit

According to Graduate School regulations, a maximum of four years is permitted for completion of all MA requirements, unless an extension of time is requested and granted.

Residency Requirement

Master's students must complete 24 credits at the University at Buffalo. A maximum of six transfer credits may be allowed. 

Contact Us

513 Park Hall

Phone: (716) 645-8448

mbenson2@buffalo.edu

Associate Professor
Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Political Science
College of Arts and Sciences

513 Park Hall

Phone: (716) 645-8448

mbenson2@buffalo.edu

Mary E. O’Brien

521 Park Hall

Phone: (716) 645-3441

meobrien@buffalo.edu

Graduate Coordinator
Department of Political Science
College of Arts and Sciences

521 Park Hall

Phone: (716) 645-3441

meobrien@buffalo.edu