Graduate Program: What to Expect from a Political Science Master’s Degree Program

Posted June 20, 2013 by

The political science master’s degree program is a rewarding course designed to enhance your understanding of politics. It trains you to analyze current and past political events, express your thoughts in a mature and sophisticated way, and come to your own conclusions supported by evidence.

It’s a fantastic addition to anybody’s list of qualifications. Before signing up for a master’s degree program in political science it’s important to know about the program. Here’s some detailed information about what you can expect.

How Long Does it Last?

A master’s program in the United States usually lasts for two years. Political science is a highly malleable subject. This means you can tailor your degree according to your desires and the type of experience you’re looking for.

The standard program takes place in one city on one campus. Others can involve spending a year at another institution abroad. Alternatively, you can spend part of your course gaining practical experience in the workplace.

It’s really up to you as to what you want to do. Institutions change their programs regularly to freshen them up.


Assessment usually revolves around coursework and oral examinations. Standard written examinations have less emphasis than standard college education, but they do exist. Colleges place a different amount of emphasis on each area. Check the most current curriculum information to find out more about how your course is currently assessed.

Generally, you can expect to have a healthy balance between the various areas. It’s a program which develops your skills in multiple forms.

Subject Areas

There are four main subject areas involved in a master’s degree in political science, as well as conventional undergraduate courses. Below is a small explanation of what each area entails. You’ll normally have a choice of different modules on your degree course, so you have some flexibility over what you choose.

1.    American politics. Arguably, this is the most relevant section of the course. You’ll focus on the history of American politics and how it all links to what’s going on in the world today.

2.    Comparative politics. This focuses more on the systems of politics, rather than just what’s happened over the past ten years. Expect to evaluate different systems based on their advantages and disadvantages.

3.    International politics. This is self-explanatory. It takes very much the same standpoint as the American Politics area but it focuses on international systems.

4.    Political theory. Political theory centers on certain viewpoints. It could include learning about a capitalist political system, or things like communism, socialism, and liberalism.

Student Body

You can expect to debate many political beliefs whilst taking a master’s degree. Political science is one which elicits a wide variety of opinions. Programs have many international students who have existed under other political systems and have different beliefs. It’s the perfect breeding ground for debate.

This is why it’s such a valuable degree. It teaches you how to speak to others and how to defend your views through evidence-based approaches. These are the main skills you can expect to learn from one of these degree programs.

Dr. Hyun Jung Yun














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Tess Young holds an online political science Master’s degree. She has experience working with the Heinz College and considers her qualification a vital part of her character. She regularly helps new students choose the right modules in political science for them.

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