Jul 24, 2024  
University Catalog 2024-2025 
University Catalog 2024-2025

Political Science, M.A.

Location(s): Main Campus

The program is built on the foundation of an undergraduate government or political science major and is designed to provide systematic study in political science and related fields at an advanced level.

Requirements for the MA in Political Science Degree

A minimum of 30 units is required, with at least 15-18 in 5000-level courses.

The program offers three options:

  • A. Political Theory Option
  • B. American Politics Option
  • C. Global Politics Option

Students choose either to take the comprehensive exam or to write a thesis, the latter subject to the approval of the thesis chair and M.A. graduate advisor.  Students writing a thesis must enroll in POLS 5990  (3 units).

Students electing to take the comprehensive examination (POLS 5960 ) should expect to take the examination after the semester they complete all but one required seminar; they must also comply with college and departmental requirements. Students will be allowed two attempts to complete the comprehensive examination successfully. Failure to pass the comprehensive examination will result in disqualification from the program.

Students who have made one attempt to pass the comprehensive examination may not change to the thesis option; students who have taken POLS 5990  thesis units may not change to the comprehensive examination option.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must submit an application online through Cal State Apply. The MA program accepts students for both the fall and spring semesters. Applicants should consult the department website or CSU Apply for the current application deadline. Further information can also be found on the Cal State LA Graduate Application and Admission page. International students must comply with university rules regarding proof of English Language Proficiency. The program does not require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

In addition to university requirements for admission to graduate study, applicants must have:

  • A grade point average in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units of 2.50 or better and a major in political science. 
  • Non-political science majors who have a GPA of 2.50 or better may be accepted on a conditional basis. To achieve classified status, non-political science majors must complete three prerequisite courses from the upper-division foundation core: POLS 3710 , POLS 3720 , POLS 3730  and POLS 3740  (with a minimum 3.0 grade point average). Students will not receive graduate credit for these prerequisite courses.
  • Two letters of recommendation. At least one letter must come from a professor or an individual capable of evaluating the applicant’s intellectual and academic qualifications.
  • A statement of purpose. A letter is required stating the applicant’s purpose in applying for graduate study, the particular area of specialization or interest (American politics, global politics, or political theory), any special research interests, plans for future occupation or profession, and any additional information that may aid the selection committee in evaluating the applicant’s preparation and aptitude for graduate study at Cal State LA. The essay should be specific, well-organized, and well-written. The statement of purpose is considered an integral element of the application.
  • The inclusion of a writing sample in the application is highly recommended, but not required.

Learning Outcomes Roadmap (2022)   


Requirements for the Degree (30 units)

Culminating Experience (0 or 3 units)

Option Requirements (9 or 12 units)

  • Select one of the following three options.
  • Thesis (POLS 5990 ) students must complete 9 units from the list of courses within the selected option; Comprehensive Examination (POLS 5960 ) students must complete 12 units.

C. Global Politics Option (9 or 12 units)

Thesis students can either complete 3 units or 6 units from each of the following areas for a total of 9 units. Comprehensive Examination students must complete 6 units in each area for a total of 12 units.