Wilfrid Laurier University Graduate Calendar - 2013/2014
Canadian Excellence

Master of Arts in Political Science

The MA program aims to provide students with a grounding in the theoretical debates at the heart of the discipline in order to assist those students who opt to continue in doctoral studies. This is accomplished through the compulsory core seminar, PO601 - Core Seminar: The Scope of Political Science. At the same time, our heavy emphasis on research strategies and methodological questions enables those for whom the MA is a terminal degree to enter the workforce with an impressive set of marketable skills.

Additional Information
Admission Requirements

In order to be admitted to the master's program, a student must meet the general admission requirements of the university. An honours graduate in a program other than political science and general degree graduates may be admitted if evidence justifying admission is offered; however, a program of appropriate preparatory studies (qualifying year) may be required of such applicants. Honours graduates in political science may also be required to successfully complete additional undergraduate courses before they are admitted to the master's program.

Program Requirements

Candidates in the master's program in political science may specialize in one of three fields of study: Canadian political studies, comparative politics/international relations, or public opinion and electoral studies. All students must complete the two core courses: PO601 - Core Seminar: The Scope of Political Science examines some of the central epistemological debates in contemporary social science in general, and political science in particular; PO602 - Understanding Research Methods introduces students to research design and methodology.

Other course requirements:

  • Students following the Canadian political studies field must take PO618 - Contemporary Issues in Canadian Politics
  • Students following the comparative politics/international relations field must take either PO641 - Theories of International Relations or an approved course in comparative politics
  • Students following the public opinion and electoral studies field must take PO603 - Applied Research Methods

All other courses in the program are organized as seminars and therefore include a significant research and presentation component. In each course, students will be required to complete at least one substantial research paper and to defend that paper during the seminar.

There are three options for completing the MA degree:

  • Course option: PO601 - Core Seminar: The Scope of Political Science; PO602 - Understanding Research Methods, and six half-credit courses
  • Major Research Paper option: PO601 - Core Seminar: The Scope of Political Science; PO602 - Understanding Research Methods; four half-credit courses, and PO695* - Major Research Paper
  • Thesis option: PO601 - Core Seminar: The Scope of Political Science; PO602 - Understanding Research Methods; two half-credit courses, and PO699 - Thesis

With the approval of the graduate co-ordinator and the dean of graduate & postdoctoral studies, students may choose some of their electives from those courses offered by other master's programs at Laurier, or by another university.