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Master of Arts in Political Science

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Master's Degree in Political Science

The Master of Arts (MA) in Political Science provides excellent preparation for doctoral study, graduate education for secondary school educators, and individuals who would simply like to know more about the workings of government and politics. The course of study is especially ideal for students who are considering doctoral study and are looking to further their training, enhance their competitiveness and get a closer look at what more advanced graduate work would entail. We offer a range of field specializations with faculty strengths in American politics, public administration, public policy and political methodology.

Students in the MA program usually enroll in nine hours each semester and complete the program in two years. These courses include a healthy mix of masters and doctoral students representing multiple programs on-campus, with many classes scheduled during the day in addition to a few classes in the evening. Unlike our MPA program, which is designed for students who work full-time, our MA students are often full-time.

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Graduate Studies Brochure (pdf)

Application Deadline for fall 2024 is February 1, 2024.

The fall 2024 application for the MA in political science is now open.


In order to be considered for admission to the graduate program, all applicants must first meet Graduate College admission requirements as described in the Graduate College Bulletin.

The Department of Political Science expects that students seeking admittance to graduate work will have successfully completed at least 24 hours of undergraduate study in political science or 15 hours in political science plus nine of another social science field. Students lacking this preparation will be considered for admission, but they may be asked to commence their studies with additional courses in order to be fully prepared for graduate work. Additional coursework will be determined in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies in Political Science at the time of enrollment. All applicants must have received at least a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent from a regionally accredited institution.

To seek admission, applicants must apply directly to OU Graduate College Admissions by submitting the official online application, along with transcripts, application fee, and additional departmental required application materials, as detailed below.

All applicants for whom English is a second language must present evidence of proficiency in the English language. Applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit their scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The TOEFL institutional code for the University of Oklahoma is 6879. Please consult the Office of Graduate Admissions English Proficiency Requirements for more information.

Admission to the Political Science MA degree program at the University of Oklahoma is highly selective. Applicants must demonstrate the ability and motivation to succeed in a rigorous program of graduate study, and must make the case that there is a close fit between their aspirations and the offerings of the Department of Political Science at OU.

The admissions committee reviews applications once annually, following the February 1 deadline. Only complete applications are considered. In reviewing applications, the admissions committee undertakes a comprehensive examination of all elements of the application file. In addition to the Graduate Admissions application described above, students must submit the following supplemental materials along with their online application:

  • Scores on the general test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). While there is no fixed minimum for admission, and GRE scores are only one piece of evidence considered by the admissions committee, mean scores for admitted students have been in the range of 300-315 (verbal + quantitative) or higher in recent years. The GRE institutional code for the University of Oklahoma is 6879. The political science code is 1902. All applicants seeking admissions to the doctoral (D790) and master’s (M790) in political science are required to submit scores for the GRE. While not guaranteed, the admissions committee will consider a GRE waiver on a case-by-case basis. An applicant may begin the GRE waiver process by contacting the graduate programs director at
  • Three letters of recommendation from persons in a position to speak knowledgeably about the applicant's academic ability. Typically, these would be academic references rather than personal acquaintances or employers. When completing the online application you will have an opportunity to provide the names and email addresses of your recommenders. Upon submission of your application, your recommenders will be sent an email notifying them to submit their letters through an electronic system. 
  • A statement of about 1,000 words articulating the applicant's specific preparation for graduate study, proposed fields of study and area of focus, and career aspirations. A compelling statement is a critical part of the application; the applicant should invest substantial time in crafting the personal statement. 
  • A writing sample. This sample should be a substantive piece of work that displays the applicant's writing, analytical, and research skills.
  • All supplemental document may be uploaded with the online application.

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All transcripts, test scores, correspondences, and other materials submitted in conjunction with an application for admission become the permanent property of the University and will not be returned.

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Students in a classroom.
Flags in foreground of the Bizzell Memorial Library.
Allyson Shortle listening to students.

Admission decisions are announced around March 1st.   


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Political Science GTA standing and holding microphone with students in a classroom.

36 semester hours, thesis, or non-thesis options

Required Courses:
P SC 5923 (Introduction to Analysis of Political and Administrative Data)
P SC 5933 (Intermediate Analysis of Political Data)
P SC 6003 (Political Science: Survey of a Discipline)

Concentration in two of seven fields:
American Politics
Comparative Politics
International Relations
Political Methodology (secondary concentration only, non-examining)
Political Theory
Public Administration
Public Law (secondary concentration only, non-examining)
Public Policy

Major Emphasis Concentration (examining)
At least nine hours in one concentration (excludes Political Methodology and Public Law fields), including certain required courses in the concentration field.

Secondary Emphasis Concentration (non-examining)
At least nine hours in a second concentration (may include Political Methodology and the Public Law field), including certain required courses in the concentration field.

3-6 hours to fulfill remaining degree requirements may be taken from additional courses in political science, other social sciences, history, or related fields.

Other Degree Requirements:
Comprehensive Oral Examination & Master’s Thesis or Non-Thesis Research Paper
P SC 5980 Master’s Thesis (six hours) or P SC 5950 for non-thesis research (three hours)
Presentation of thesis or research paper and oral comprehensive exam in the student’s primary concentration with three-member committee

Degree Checksheet


Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA)

The University has made it a priority to increase Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) stipends. Beginning fall 2024, a standard GTA stipend paid over nine months for a political science doctoral student is $20,000 and $17,500 for a master’s student. When available the financial support package typically includes a competitive stipend, graduate tuition waiver, and student health insurance. The support package does not cover university and college fees, housing, books, food, travel, and other personal expenses.

The Department of Political Science offers a limited number of multi-year, renewable GTA appointments each year. Students have the opportunity to develop and enhance teaching skills under the guidance of a tenured political science faculty member. A political science GTA will assist in classroom management, provide instructional support, and lead discussion sections for P SC 1113 American Federal Government, a multi-section course required for undergraduate students. The standard GTA employment is .50 FTE*, which is equivalent to 20 hours per week.

All prospective applicants interested in a graduate assistantship should indicate their interest on the admissions application. A separate application is not required. Nearly everyone who is accepted to the doctoral or master’s degree in political science is eligible for funding, but funding depends on how many open positions we have, and the quality of the applicant as determined by the Graduate Studies Committee.

* GTA employment is generally measured as a proportion of Full Time Equivalent (FTE) or 1.00 FTE status.

Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis Fellowships

The Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (IPPRA) is an interdisciplinary team with decades of experience in addressing public policy challenges such as those posed by extreme weather and the changing climate, energy policy, environmental policy, the role of government intervention in pandemics, and national security.    

IPPRA offers competitive Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA) to conduct research and data analysis and assist our affiliated faculty across a variety of externally-funded projects that span multiple policy areas. These Graduate Research Assistantships enable students to augment classroom learning; develop new analytical, research and writing skills; and conduct research on complex policy problems for institutions and clients.

IPPRA Graduate Research Assistants also receive annual travel support to offset costs associated with enhancing their ability to successfully complete their doctoral program and prepare for their chosen career paths. Travel support is generally used to attend and present at academic conferences nationwide.

Basic student health insurance and a tuition waiver are benefits that accompany these GRAships. To inquire about current fellowship opportunities, please contact Joe Ripberger, Deputy Director for Research at or Hank Jenkins-Smith, IPPRA Director at


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The Graduate Association in Political Science (GAPS) is a registered OU graduate student organization in which membership is reserved to those currently enrolled in the M.A. or Ph.D. in political science degree program at the University of Oklahoma.