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Political Science MA Degree Requirements

A master's program must satisfy these criteria:

  • Completion, at Stanford, of at least three quarters of residency as a graduate student and 45 units of credit.
  • At least two graduate seminars (10 units) in each of two fields and at least one graduate seminar (5 units) in a third field. These 25 units must be taken in Political Science graduate seminars of 300 level and above. Cross-listed classes, workshops and directed readings do not count towards this requirement except with prior approval from the Director of Graduate Studies.
  • The remaining 20 units must come from courses numbered above 100. Of those 20 units, a maximum of 10 units of classes taken from outside of the Political Science department may count towards the master’s degree. Classes taken from outside the Political Science department must be highly relevant to the discipline and approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. A maximum of 10 units of directed reading coursework may count towards this requirement.
  • A grade point average (GPA) of 2.7 (B-) must be maintained for all classes taken to fulfill master’s degree requirements. All courses must normally be taken for a letter grade. Due to the disruption caused by COVID-19: 
    • Winter 2019-20 courses with a grade of 'CR' (credit) and spring 2019-20 courses with a grade of 'S' (satisfactory) may count toward the MA degree requirements.
    • Courses taken in the 2020-21 academic year for a grade of “CR” (credit) may count toward the MA degree requirements. 
  • No thesis is required.

The Political Science fields that students may choose from are: International Relations, Comparative Politics, American Politics, Political Theory and Political Methodology. Not more than 25 units of the 45-unit requirement may be taken in a single field.

In general, the middle number of the course number indicates to which field the class belongs:

1= International Relations 2= American Politics 3= Political Theory 4= Comparative Politics 5= Political Methodology

For example, Poli Sci 440A is a Comparative Politics class and Poli Sci 410A is an International Relations class.