The College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences offers students a traditional liberal education to meet the needs of the 21st century, allowing them to compete for a variety of careers in an increasingly complex and evolving world.

Master of Science in Political Science


The master’s degree program in political science offers students an opportunity to gain advanced, in-depth training in political science and is designed for students who seek academic or professional careers. Students explore the leading literature in the key political science fields of American politics and international relations, receive advanced training in research methods, where they gain significant skills in quantitative and qualitative analysis, have the opportunity to take electives in comparative politics and data analysis, and undertake an independent research project on a topic of interest under the guidance of program faculty.

The program requires ten courses or thirty credit hours: six required courses and four electives. See the plan of study for details. Two of the required courses include the two-semester thesis seminar in which master’s candidates work on an article-length, independent research project under the guidance of a three-member faculty committee. Students are able to choose a topic that reflects their individual interests, goals, and area of specialization.

The program offers students two primary areas of specialization. One path enables students to study American politics, exploring its institutions and the interplay between public opinion and policymaking in the context of America’s unique political, social and economic development. Students specializing in American politics can study such areas as Congress, constitutional law, judicial politics, elections, political parties, interest groups, public opinion, Southern politics, and state and local politics.

Students specializing in international relations explore a variety of topics including U.S. foreign policy, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, transnational advocacy networks, the global economy, and the sources and significance of such contemporary dynamics as globalization, international norms, democratization, and changing power differentials.

Elective courses also are offered in comparative politics, making it possible for students to explore, for example, the impact of such factors as institutions, economic development, party systems, and national identity using broad, cross-national comparisons or, given the expertise of our faculty, developing more specific investigations in the African or European contexts.

A low student-faculty ratio ensures that each graduate student receives hands-on training from faculty members who are experts in their fields; their research has appeared in highly regarded academic journals including Journal of Politics, British Journal of Political Science, Political Research Quarterly, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Justice System Journal, Public Administration Review, Comparative Political Studies, Review of International Studies, and International Studies Quarterly.

Our graduates are well positioned for a variety of career paths. Recent graduates have continued their studies in the Auburn University-Auburn University Montgomery Joint Ph.D. Program in Public Administration and Public Policy whereas others have entered the workforce, accepting positions with public sector organizations or private sector entities.

All courses meet in the classroom. The master’s degree program in political science is designed to be completed in two academic years.

Applications are accepted throughout the academic year. Merit-based scholarships are available. See the program’s application instructions for details on the application process. Students are encouraged to start the program in the fall if possible, but are welcome to begin in the Spring term. For more information, please contact the faculty and staff of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration or send inquiries to

Application Instructions
MPS Plan of Study
MPS Brochure