Graduate Program Political Science

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Political Science  Master's Degree Overview

The Department of Political Science is proud to offer an exciting and NEWLY revised graduate degree. Our Master's Degree program in Political Science (MS) is designed to help you discover your future as a political science professor. From day one of our program, we will teach you the skills you will need to be admitted and succeed in a top-ranked Ph.D. program, such as:

  • Reading academic literature quickly and with high comprehension
  • Developing original theories and testable hypotheses
  • Research skills with both quantitative and qualitative methods
  • Creating professional presentations of your research findings, with an understanding of the implications of your research for government and society.

Does this mean that our program only welcomes students who are SURE that they want to be a professor? Absolutely not! We welcome anyone who thinks that there might be a slim chance that they would want to join the ranks of faculty in academia. Think of our program as a perfect place to test the waters - after these two years, you will know for certain if being a political science professor is a good fit for you. If it is a good fit, you will have the skills to be accepted to the BEST political science Ph.D. programs in the world!

What happens if you decide after only a few months that you don't want to be a professor- will your time be wasted? Not at all! After your first year of graduate classes, you will be given the opportunity to select one of two paths:

  1. Ph.D. Path: In this path, you’ll continue on the road to becoming faculty. Your second year will be filled with one-on-one instruction for selecting potential Ph.D. programs, preparing applications, trained on how to teach political science courses, and how to give a professional conference presentation.
  2. Internship Path: If you’ve decided that being in academia is not your dream job, this path offers a top-notch internship program that has long-standing relationships with city, regional, state, and federal offices, as well as many local, national, and international NGOs. This internship program will facilitate and solidify your connections with future employers which often leads to full-time jobs in state and local government agencies, political consulting, national and international business, and journalism after graduation.

Degree Details

  • M
    Delivery Method
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term

Learn more about PSU’s academic program delivery methods.

Political Science Master's Degree: Why PSU?

We have a welcoming environment for you to experiment with academia to decide if a career as a political science professor is your dream job. No other university is currently offering what we're offering.

We are the only Master's degree in political science in the United States offering a graduate program explicitly designed for students to be in the practice of being a faculty member. You will learn the realities of teaching political science, receive instruction in the most advanced theories and methods of the discipline today, and then get one-on-one guidance for submitting successful applications to top-ranked Ph.D. programs.

If you discover that being a professor is not for you, we connect you with some of the best political internships in the state through our long-term relationships with the Portland City Council, Oregon legislature, and NGOs such as Mercy Corps, just to name a few.

Best of all, our campus is located in the heart of the city of Portland, a vibrant, fascinating city full of delicious restaurants, interesting people, and world-class public transportation.

The city of Portland is Oregon’s largest and most politically active city. Studying political science in Portland presents a unique opportunity to see how a mid-sized metropolitan city addresses issues such as gentrification, homelessness, police engagement, and social justice from a public policy, legal, political theory, and American political perspective.

What can I do with a Master's degree in Political Science?

Our faculty are enthusiastic and committed to helping students discover if a career as a political scientist will bring them fulfillment. Our faculty have graduated from the best political science Ph.D. programs in the country, such as Yale, University of Michigan, UC San Diego, and Cornell University, and are experts in their discipline. Best of all, our faculty understand what it takes to be admitted and successful in a Ph.D. program, as well as how to guide students who have chosen political careers outside of academia.

Several of our alumni have been admitted to Ph.D. programs with full-funding due to the quality of their scholarship and applications. With our training and guidance, partnered with their hard work and commitment, our alumni were highly-qualified applicants that are not paying ANY tuition for the Ph.D. Program and are earning money as teaching and research assistants.

We are proud to have alumni of our MS in Political Science accepted with full-funding at: Northwestern University, University of Michigan, Emory, Cornell, and University of Washington, to name a few. In addition, we proud to have alumni with successful full-time jobs at Mercy Corps, the Portland City Council, the U.S. State Department, and Senator Jeff Merkley's office, to name a few.

Obtaining a Master of Science in Political Science from Portland State University will give you the skills, connections, and knowledge to find and thrive in a career that makes you happy and successful.

Featured Courses

  • PS 511 Advanced Overview of Political Science
  • PS 590 Introduction to Graduate School
  • PS 594 Research Design for Politics and Policy


  • PS 516 Political Parties & Elections
  • PS 523 Civil Liberties
  • PS 525 Women and the Law
  • PS 529 American Immigration Politics & Policy
  • PS 552 European Union
  • PS 559 Political and Economic Decision Making
  • PS 569 Comparative Political Institutions


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).