This 36-credit Master of Arts degree is composed of 3 Required Core Courses, 1 Customizable Core Course, and 8 Elective Courses. Within the Required Core Courses is the culminating experience of a Research and Thesis III course. In addition, you can choose to pursue one of the three optional Areas of Concentration, including:

  • Democracy Studies and Governance
  • Political Communications
  • Security Studies

Core Courses - Required

Complete all 3 courses.

• Schedule "Government & Politics" during your first semester.
• Enroll in "Research & Thesis III: Government" during your final semester.

This course offers an overview of power and politics through the study of the government of the United States. All governments combine coercion and legitimacy. In a stable and legitimate system of government, coercion is hardly noticed. Government comes to be seen as a source of benefits. The purpose of the course is to look behind institutions, practices, and benefits to appreciate how, for what, and for whom we are governed. We shall examine some of the major institutions of American government, some of America's political processes, and some of the key forces competing for power in the U.S. to see how decisions in the areas of economic, social and foreign policy are reached. This is a core course of the Government Program but is open to all students.

(Core course for the MA in Government) The purpose of this core course in the Government Program is for students to refine their thesis topic, develop their research design and complete a working outline for their thesis. Students will begin to research and write their thesis during this class in earnest. The course format is working sessions focused on specific research-oriented tasks. Emphasis will be placed on completing the literature review and methodology sections of the thesis. Students will also complete by semester end a preliminary chapter of their thesis papers and work with the professor to develop a plan for the other two papers that will comprise the portfolio thesis.

Core course for the MA in Government) Directed research in an appropriate subject determined in consultation with the student's adviser is the focus of this final course. Students are expected to propose research topics based on their classwork and/or on material derived from professional experience. Class meetings are designed to give guidance in the clarification of issues, collection of data, assembly of various parts, and the final writing of the thesis. Graduation is subject to approval of the thesis by the thesis committee. Students may enroll in this course and take their last elective with it. They must have completed 7 electives and all other core classes before registering for this course. Research and Thesis III is offered in all three terms—in the summer, fall, and spring—to provide as much scheduling flexibility as possible. Prerequisite: Students must have passed either Research and Thesis II or have passed any of the following: 470.709 Introduction to Quantitative Methods, 470.854 Fundamentals of Quantitative Methods or 470.781 Probability and Statistics.

Core Course - Customizable

Choose 1 course:

(Core course for the MA in Government. Please note that 470.709 Introduction to Quantitative Methods may be substituted for this requirement with permission from the instructor) This directed research course is designed to help students complete the second paper of their thesis portfolio (and in some cases if a student has two papers ready for revision, both their second and third papers). Students will work closely with the instructor to revise a current paper, turning it into a research paper that 1) is tightly linked to the theme of the student's first paper and overall thesis portfolio; and 2) meets research and writing standards for being included in the thesis portfolio. Class meetings are designed to give guidance on the methods of research and on the clarity and focus of the research question the student is pursuing. Prerequisite: Students must have passed Research and Thesis I or Research and Thesis II: Global Security Studies.

The main purpose of this class is to train students to be informed consumers of quantitative studies, in addition to teaching the tools of basic statistical work. The emphasis in this class is on application and understanding of existing results, rather than on theory or derivations. The course material will cover basic descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, and data collection. The key learning objective is for students to finish the class with a better understanding of the statistical and econometric results they may encounter, both in papers they read in other classes, as well as in the course of their work. The second key objective is for students to have the skills to employ basic quantitative tools in their own work in the fields of public policy and global security studies. As much as possible, assignments and readings used in class will be drawn from the public policy and security fields. There is no mathematical or statistical pre-requisite for the class. (Core course for the MA in Public Management and the MA in Global Security Studies.)

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of statistical analysis as well as the R programming language and RStudio environment. Students will learn the building blocks of descriptive and causal inference, including summary statistics, survey sampling, measurement, hypothesis testing, linear regression and probability theory. Students will also learn how to create data visualizations in R, including times series plots, scatter plots and bar graphs. In addition, students will focus on interpreting statistical findings and presenting results in a compelling manner. By the end of the course, students will be able to conduct a statistical analysis to answer a meaningful policy question and will be prepared to take more advanced methods courses. Prerequisites: none

Elective Courses

You will choose 8 electives from the courses listed within any of the concentrations.

You may choose to pursue one of the three optional Areas of Concentration. To qualify, you must select 4 courses from within that Area of Concentration.


Students should be aware of state-specific information for online programs. For more information, please contact an admissions representative.

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