M.A. in Political Science

Masters Degree in Political Science  


The Department of Political Science offers a Masters degree in Political Science. The Masters degree prepares students to work in the public and private international sectors, as well as in non-governmental organizations, think-tanks, foundations, and media companies focusing on regional, national and global issues.

Rutgers Newark is an exciting setting for pursuing graduate work. The university was ranked 12th in the nation for quality among small research universities by the 2005 Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index, which is a metric that was designed to create a benchmark standard for the measurement of the degree of academic and scholarly quality. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education has also classified Rutgers University–Newark as a Research University with a High Research Activity rating (RU/HRA). Our location just 15 minutes away from Manhattan and on the Amtrak corridor offers easy access to key destinations on the Eastern Seaboard such as Washington DC and Boston.

With Rutgers Newark the most diverse university campus in the nation, our student body hails from far and near and from all sorts of backgrounds. Rutgers Newark is proud of its historical mission to be an institution that makes a quality education available to a diverse student body, in every sense of the word.

Master of Arts in Political Science (30 credits)


Students may attain the MA by completing the requirements for a Specialization in 1) The American Political System or 2) International Relations. A Specialization in The American Political System focuses on American politics and public policy and U.S. urban politics and public administration. A Specialization in International Relations focuses on global and international politics, international political economy, and comparative politics.  Courses are also regularly offered in political theory, constitutional law, comparative politics, and research methodology.  Students may complete the Concentration in Women and Gender Studies in conjunction with the Master’s degree.

The Masters degree requires 30 credits of coursework and is composed of the following requirements: Students will need to complete three core courses: the introductory Approaches to Political Science, a research methodology course and the Capstone course in Political Science. In order to fulfill the requirements for the specialization, students will need to take three courses in their specialization, either in American or Global Politics. The remaining four courses can be taken from the general course offerings.

Accordion Content

  • Students in the Political Science M.A. Program must take the Comprehensive Examination or complete a master's thesis.  Students who are keenly interested in a particular topic they want to explore in depth may apply for the thesis option.  Students considering pursuing the thesis should meet with the Graduate Director to discuss the process, and for guidance in assembling a committee.  Students should ideally plan to spend two semesters working on the thesis, and would register for three (3) thesis credits during each of those semesters.


    A.  The thesis is to be a substantial piece of work, more than simply the size of two Individual Study papers.  It is difficult to specify size, but an M.A. thesis should generally be about 60 to 80 pages of text, plus bibliography, and any relevant tables or appendices.

    B.  It is expected that there will be theoretical content to the thesis.  That is, the work will include a framework for analyzing substantive information, and discussions of a larger context into which the particulars fit.  To accomplish this, one section of the thesis will be a review of relevant theoretical literature.


    A.  Applications for permission to do the thesis should be submitted to the Graduate Director and Thesis Advisor during the semester prior to the one in which the work is to start.

    B.  The application should be in the form of a thesis proposal and should include:

    A statement of the problem to be researched, and its significance.

    A Preliminary outline, in some detail.

    A preliminary bibliography.

    A list of graduate courses (and instructors) for which the student has written a formal research paper.

    C. Once the proposal is approved, students will register for 790:697 and 698 in consecutive semesters, for six (6) credits total.


    A.  For each thesis, the Graduate Director will, in consultation with the master's candidate, appoint a Faculty Supervisor, and two additional faculty members who will serve as the Thesis Committee.  The Committee will examine drafts of the thesis, suggest revisions, and generally advise the candidate.  On completion of the thesis, the Committee will conduct an oral examination.  Acceptance of the thesis and passing of the examination will result in the award of six (6) credits, with an assigned grade.

    B.  If the thesis is judged to be not acceptable, the Committee may at its discretion award the student six (6) credits equivalent to those of regular course work, but direct that the student must take the Comprehensive Examination.