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Political Science

College of Liberal Arts

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Political Science - Graduate Programs

Master of Arts in Political Science (code POSCMA01)

Student can view the general requirements of the University and the specific requirements of the department in this Catalog. Important supplementary information about the master’s degree in political science is contained in the Handbook for Graduate Students, which is available on the department website. Before or soon after entering the program, students will normally consult with the graduate advisor.

After beginning graduate study, the student is responsible for obtaining the consent of fulltime members of the department’s graduate faculty to serve on her/his graduate committee. The student should seek to have established her/his committee prior to completion of the first year or the first 18 units of work as a graduate student in political science unless Department Graduate Committee grants an exception.


1. A bachelor’s degree with a major in political science or a bachelor’s degree with 24 upper division units in political science comparable to those required for a major in political science at this university.

2. Completion of a minimum of one upper-division political theory course equivalent to POSC 301 or POSC 303 at CSULB, with a grade of “B” or better.

3. Students whose undergraduate work is deficient in political science will be required to make up certain courses. Deficiencies will be determined by the Department’s Graduate Committee after taking into account each student’s background and goals. These courses will not count toward credit in the M.A.

4. A 3.0 (“B”) GPA in political science courses taken as an undergraduate. (A student whose GPA is less than 3.0 may appeal to the Department’s Graduate Committee for a possible waiver of this requirement.)

5. Three letters of recommendation (preferably from academic sources).

Advancement to Candidacy

1. Satisfy the general requirements of the University for advancement to candidacy;

2. In order to be recommended for advancement to candidacy, students must obtain the written approval of their master’s degree program of course work by their committee chair and graduate advisor.


1. A student’s program is formulated in consultation with an advisor selected from the department’s faculty. A minimum of 30 units of acceptable upper division and graduate courses is required.

  • All students are required to take both of the following:
    • POSC 500 Foundations & Scope of Political Science (3)
    • POSC 550 Research Methods in Political Science (3)

Twenty-one units must be concentrated in three of the fields into which the department’s curriculum is divided. M.A. students, upon the prior approval of the Graduate Advisor, may take 3-6 units of upper-division (300/400) coursework in Political Science for elective credit. General Education courses may not be taken for graduate credit.

  • 2. The graduate student must complete one of the following requirements:
    • A. Comprehensive examination in each of two fields of Political Science
    • B. Thesis.

Students following the comprehensive examination option will earn 3 units of credit in POSC 697 and those writing a thesis will be granted three units of credit in POSC 698.

Interdisciplinary Minor in Public Policy (code POSCUM03)

The minor consists of 21 units including a core curriculum of 12 units and 9 units of electives. A maximum of 6 units may be taken in the student’s major department, but no units may be counted in both the major and minor.


1. Core Curriculum (12 units required):

  • Twelve units chosen from among the following courses:
    • ECON 450, POSC 328, PSY 375I, U/ST 301I
      • Note: It is strongly recommended that students take core courses in sequence, the first two courses during the Junior year; the second two during the Senior year.

2. Electives: (9 units required):

  • At least 6 units of the 9 elective units must be taken in one of the policy area concentrations outlined below. The remaining 3 units may be taken from among any of the elective courses approved for the minor.

Policy Area Concentrations:

Community Relations and Social Services, Health Care, Housing and Recreation, Education, Economic Regulation, Justice and Law, Land Use and Ecology, Computational Skills for Public Policy, Foreign Policy and International Relations, Values and Public Policy, Government Processes and Policy.Law, Politics and Policy