Master’s Program

The scholarly one-year Master of Arts (MA) program in Political Science at UBC Vancouver will prepare you in pursuing academic or non-academic careers in a vast array of political science subfields.

With a great deal of flexibility in areas of concentration, you can explore the discipline of political science at an advanced level and assess whether or not you wish to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Political Science or a non-academic career in government, international organizations, or nongovernmental organizations.

We welcome around 25 students each year into the one-year MA program.

Our MA students have been highly successful in pursuing both academic and non-academic careers.

In recent years, approximately one-third of MA graduates from our program have gone on to pursue a PhD.

Many of our MA graduates have been offered PhD admission at domestic and international institutions, including:

  • University of British Columbia
  • Brown University
  • University of California San Diego
  • Cambridge University.
  • Duke University
  • John Hopkins University
  • University of Michigan
  • Northwestern University
  • Queen’s University
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Wisconsin

Many of our MA graduates have gone on to careers in the worlds of policy, politics, and NGOs, within Canada and internationally.

Careers include work as policy analysts, planners, data analysts, researchers, and consultants. They have gone on to work for government agencies, NGOs, and private sector employers including the United Nations Development Program, the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, Statistics Canada, the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, Public Services and Procurement Canada, the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, the First Nations Health Authority, the City of Vancouver, and the Royal Bank of Canada.


MA Thesis

The MA thesis consists of a research paper which has, as its model, an article for submission for publication and is typically between 8,000 and 12,000 words in length, including notes.

The thesis will typically originate as a research paper in a graduate seminar and undergo revision under the direction of a Political Science faculty member (normally the seminar instructor).

If the thesis does not originate as a research paper in a seminar, the student should prepare a thesis prospectus by the end of April which indicates the nature of the topic he/she plans to investigate, specific research methods, plans to be followed in the study, and the body of literature, relevant materials, etc. to be used. The approval of the prospectus rests with the Thesis Supervisor.

The subject matter and orientation of the thesis must be within the generally recognized boundaries of Political Science.

In practical terms, any topic for which a Thesis Supervisor within the Department can be obtained will be acceptable.

It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the necessary source materials are available.

Students should feel free to consult Department members for suggestions as to possible thesis topics.

Once an acceptable thesis topic has been outlined, a MA student must identify and secure agreement from an appropriate faculty member to serve as supervisor of the thesis, in consultation with the Graduate Director.

The Supervisor will be a person with special interest and competence in the field of research being undertaken.

A two-member committee, composed of the Thesis Supervisor and one other faculty member, chosen by the Director of Graduate Studies in consultation with the student and the Supervisor, decides on the acceptability of the thesis. Academically qualified persons from outside the Department may serve as committee members.

After the thesis topic is approved, and until the final evaluation of the finished thesis, the student’s primary contact will be with his/her Supervisor.

The candidate must keep in frequent touch in order to receive advice and to report on the progress of the research. If his/her research does not permit him/her to be in Vancouver, such reports can be submitted by mail or email.

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