The curriculum of the Hopkins Master of Arts in Government program is designed for working adult students who have specialized skills in a particular field and desire the broader perspective necessary for leadership in politics and administration. The courses are based on the latest scholarly and scientific knowledge, but emphasize the application of such knowledge to the practical governmental, political, and policymaking problems of today. Classes are designed to maximize individual attention, encourage student contribution, build analytical skills, and provide tools for engaging in original research. All of this leads to lively and stimulating seminar discussions and an enriching graduate school experience. There is an active speaker and symposia series as well, and most students are required to attend two symposia per semester.
Throughout their studies, students consider possible topics and gather relevant information and data so that early in their final semester they can complete their research and finalize their thesis. Students begin the thesis process by taking two core courses, Government and Politics in the United States and Research and Thesis I, which introduce the basic tenets of government and politics and the methodology of social inquiry. Students continue through the program preparing for their master’s thesis and completing their electives. Research and Thesis III is the twelfth and final course in the curriculum.
There are three concentrations offered in the MA in Government program: The concentration in Legal Studies focuses on the intersection of law and politics, as well as law enforcement issues. The concentration in Political Communication provides students with the opportunity to study with practitioners in the field: reporters, political operatives, journalists, and campaign and news and media professionals. The concentration in Security Studies covers the fundamentals of administering and preserving American security.
- Three core courses:
- 470.602 Government and Politics in the United States
- 470.850 Research and Thesis I
- 470.852 Research and Thesis II (or 470.709 Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods, with permission from the instructor)
- Eight elective courses and symposia
- Final thesis course:
For more information about core and elective courses, please see the course descriptions page. Please note that not all courses are available each semester. Consult the course schedule for current course offerings.
For information on exact dates, times, locations, fees and instructors for any term, students should consult the Advanced Academic Programs Course Schedule, which is issued several months before each term begins. Courses are open only to students who meet enrollment requirements.
Sequence of Study
Electives courses may be taken in any order, but the core and required classes must be taken in a certain order. Most students begin the program by taking 470.602 Government and Politics along with an elective of his or her choice. We suggest that students take the next required course, 470.850, Research and Thesis I (RT I) as their third or fourth class in the program, or once they have a better sense of what their thesis topic will be. Research and Thesis II (RT II) 470.852 will then be taken shortly after the successful completion of RT I. The final class taken in the program is 470.800 Research and Thesis III (RT 3). This class may be taken with an elective, but is considered the final class before thesis defense. Students may not enroll in RT III until they have successfully completed RT 1 and RT II.
A concentration is optional. Students who choose to concentrate must take four classes in that area of study.
Security Studies Concentration
Examples of Security Studies Concentration courses include:
- 470.644 Democracy and its Modern Critics
- 470.653 Contemporary Russian Politics
- 470.663 Administering Homeland Security
- 470.692 Military Strategy and National Policy
- 470.693 National Security
- 470.711 Intelligence from Secrets to Policy
Political Communication Concentration
Examples of Political Communication Concentration courses include:
- 470.709 Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods
- 470.615 Speechwriting: Theory and Practice
- 470.622 Interest Groups, Lobbying, and Policymaking
- 470.626 Understanding the Media: Old and New
- 470.628 Parties, Campaigns, and Elections
- 470.631 Public Opinion and American Democracy Media and Politics
- 470.637 Lobbying and Influence
- 470.638 Negotiating as a Leadership Skill
- 470.649 Behind the Numbers: Polling and American Elections
- 470.652 Political Psychology
- 470.687 The Political and Social Media Revolutions
- 470.732 Communications and Congress
- 470.735 Politics and the New Journalism
- 470.737 The Media and Presidential Politics
Legal Studies Concentration
Examples of Legal Studies Concentration courses include:
- 470.660 Foundations of Law and Justice
- 470.661 Constitutional Law
- 470.616 Law of Public Institutions
- 470.617 The Courts as Agents of Change
- 470.646 Poverty, Law, and Social Policy in the US
- 470.671 Criminal Law and the Constitution (formerly Courts, Trials, and Sentencing)
- 470.673 Seminar in Criminal Justice Administration
- 470.674 Administrative Law
- 470.712 The American Civil Trial
- 470.727 Equality Law
State-specific Information for Online Programs
Note: Students should be aware of state-specific information for online programs. For more information, please contact an admissions representative.
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