Requirements for the M.A. Program

  1. Faculty Requirements for the M.A. Program

a) If the degree is not awarded within a period of five years from initial registration, the student’s candidacy will be terminated and the student will be required to withdraw from the program.  Extension of candidacy will be granted under exceptional circumstances.

b) The progress of all students studying for a Master’s degree will be reviewed from time to time and at least once a year in the spring by the department concerned and the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.  A candidate may be required to withdraw if progress has not been satisfactory as shown by course work that does not meet the requirements, an excessive number of credits below 68% or courses with incomplete standing, unsatisfactory progress on the thesis or graduating essay, or failure to satisfy additional requirements of the Department or Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.


  1. Department Requirements

a) The requirements for the M.A. degree in political science are:

1)         Thesis:  12 credits

2)        Courses:  18 credits.  Because graduate courses are designed to be one of three courses in a term, rather than the one of five courses for undergraduate courses, graduate students enrolling in undergraduate courses are required to do additional work that, in the view of the course instructor, brings the work requirements up to that of a graduate course.  If the student prefers to receive graduate credit for the course, they may register for a directed reading (POLI 580).

At least 12 credits of graduate course work must be taken within the Department.  Up to 6 credits may be taken in another department or at the senior undergraduate level. However, students must get specific, prior approval from both the Director of the Graduate Program and their supervisor (or initial academic contact) for any course taken outside the Department or at the senior undergraduate level. Note also that approval will be granted only for courses that are taught to a broadly similar academic standard to courses in our own graduate program. Senior undergraduate courses and courses in professional Master’s programs may not be taught to the same academic standard as courses in academic graduate programs, and so may not be approved for credit. Students wishing to take a course outside the department should consult with the Graduate Director first in order to identify any difficulties that might arise. Where the outside course is not comparable in rigour to a Political Science graduate course, the student may need to ask the course instructor to make adjustments to course readings and assignments in order to bring the requirements up to a comparable standard to an academic graduate course.

3)         TOTAL:  30 credits


b) Department policy requires Faculty members to submit grades for all students in graduate seminars by January 1st for courses ending in December and by May 1st for courses ending in April.  Students who do not submit all material in time for these deadlines, and do not have medical or similar reasons for not doing so, will receive no credit for the late material.  In cases of courses being taken outside the Department’s graduate program, it is the student’s responsibility to ensure that no extension take place past the dates stated above.

c) The Department does not offer an M.A. program without thesis.

d) There are no general or comprehensive examinations for the M.A. in Political Science.  However, there is an oral examination in which the student defends his/her M.A. thesis before faculty and fellow graduate students.

e) A student with no deficiencies is expected to complete the regular requirements for the M.A. in one calendar year.  The 18 credits of course work will be taken during the winter session from September to April and the thesis written in the succeeding spring and summer.  Students with deficiencies may continue their course work in the subsequent year.