The MA in Political Science

downtown Los Angeles

Our Master's degree program is designed to provide students with an advanced understanding of the key concepts, theories, and substantive findings of contemporary political science. Our curriculum ensures that students develop a thorough knowledge of the core areas of the discipline, including political theory, American politics, comparative politics, and international relations. In addition, students can specialize by taking elective courses that align with their intellectual interests or career aspirations. The program also allows students to conduct original research through a thesis or a directed study course. Our graduates go on to careers in many areas, including academia, government, think tanks, non-profits, and the private sector. With a Cal State LA Master's degree in Political Science, students will be well-prepared to make a meaningful impact in any field where a deep understanding of politics and government is needed.

The Political Science Graduate Advisor is Prof. Michael McLendon, who can be reached at: [email protected]. Phone: (323) 343-2284.

Our Mission

The Master of Arts program provides graduate students with an advanced understanding of the main subfields in the discipline of political science, ensuring mastery of established theories and findings, and the ability to analyze current challenges and controversies. Graduates will be trained to engage in theoretically-based and methodologically-sound academic research, to be thoughtful contributors to political debates and policy discussions, and to transmit their knowledge to others via teaching, writing, and scholarship.

California state capitol.

Earning a master's degree in political science opens a wide array of opportunities. Many of our graduates find a place in education, teaching in community colleges, high schools, or other educational institutions. Some find employment with government agencies at the national, state, local, and international levels. Others develop careers in the world of campaigns, elections, and political parties, or such non-governmental organizations as interest groups, research firms, think tanks, and non-profits. Political journalism and commentary on the internet or via traditional media is another choice. The MA degree also provides a foundation for pursuing professional degrees in such areas as law or business, or doctoral studies in political science or a related field.

los angeles

The CSULA MA program offers unique advantages for its students:

  • An experienced faculty with expertise in multiple fields of political science.
  • A diverse graduate student cohort composed of students from many parts of the world (just recently, the program has hosted students from Italy, Poland, Pakistan, Nigeria, Norway, Greece, Chile, and Saudi Arabia).
  • Access to the vast cultural, political, and intellectual resources found in the city of Los Angeles and southern California.
  • A schedule of evening classes designed to accommodate students with full or part-time jobs.
  • A record of graduates accepted into leading Ph.D. programs and other academic programs, and hired at local community colleges and other public and private institutions. 

Structure of the Program

The program requires all students to complete the following (Degree Planner):

  • A core of six courses (a total of 18 units):

-- POLS 5040 Seminar: American Political Behavior 
-- POLS 5050 Seminar: American Political Studies
-- POLS 5100 Seminar: Political Theory 
-- POLS 5260 Seminar: International Political Economy or POLS 5270 Seminar: Advanced Studies in IR
-- POLS 5440 Seminar: Jurisprudence in a Globalized World
-- POLS 5500 Seminar: Comparative Politics

  • A concentration, chosen from American Politics, Political Theory, or Global Politics, which consists of an additional four elective courses (a total of 12 units).
  • A comprehensive exam or a thesis. A thesis is subject to the approval of the thesis chair, the MA graduate advisor, and the department chair. Students who are approved to write an MA thesis may, with the approval of the MA advisor, substitute 3.0 thesis units for one concentration course. 

Further detail on the structure of the MA program can be found in the online University Catalog.