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Graduate Program in Political Science

The Division of Political Science offers a graduate curriculum leading to the master of arts (M.A.) and master of science (M.S.) degrees.* The master’s program has a strong academic orientation. Through an immersion in political science scholarship, students are prepared for careers in the public or private sector that call for analytical acumen and clarity in written and oral communication. Our program features close engagement with faculty advisors in a rigorous program of study.  Being situated in the heart of Portland offers many advantages to our students including relationships with city, regional, state, and federal offices, along with active participation in internationally focused groups such as the World Affairs Council of Oregon. The Division is especially interested in attracting graduate students who plan to pursue doctoral or law degrees after finishing with their master’s degree in political science.

Graduate students may develop an expertise in any of a number of subject areas within the discipline: political theory and philosophy, American political institutions and behavior, comparative politics, regional studies, international relations and organization, public law, media and public opinion, and political economy.

Recent graduates from our program have gotten into Ph.D. programs at schools such as Cornell University, University of Michigan, and University of Connecticut.  Others have been admitted to law schools such as University of Chicago, UC Hastings, Lewis & Clark, and Willamette.

Other graduates have moved into careers in state government agencies as policy analysts, as state legislative committee staff, or as campaign consultants.  Those who are more internationally focused work for non-governmental organizations like Mercy Corps or at foreign think tanks.

The information on this website provides an overview of the master’s program in political science. More detailed information may be found on our Admissions page, Course of Study page, and in our Master’s Program in Political Science Student Handbook, all of which you are strongly encouraged to read. Rules and procedures that apply to graduate study at PSU generally are described in the PSU Bulletin (see pp. 57-68).

Professor Chris Shortell is Chair of the Division's Graduate Committee.  If you have any questions about the program, please contact him and he will be happy to help you.

* The division also participates in the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and Master of Science in Teaching (MST) degree programs, which allow a political science concentration for students pursuing a career in teaching. Political science is also one of five participating disciplines offering a major concentration in the Public Affairs and Policy (PAP) Ph.D. program. Students who are interested in the MAT/MST degree should contact Robert Mercer, Assistant Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; those interested in the Ph.D. program in Public Affairs and Policy (PAP) should contact Professor Bruce Gilley, the PAP Director.