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Columbia University Course/Program Name
Application closes on
National :07 Apr 
International :07 Apr 

MA Political Science

 Course Level
Masters / PG
 Type
Full Time

 Duration
2 Years
 Start month
August

 Tuition fee

International
54360 USD
National
54360 USD

Application fee

International 105 USD
National 105 USD
Department
Department of Political Science
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7.5
TOEFL-IBT (min)100
TOEFL-PBT (min)600
GRE (avg)315
15

World University Ranking

About this course

Political science is an academic discipline focused on understanding the exercise of power in a variety of settings. The subfield of American politics focuses on party politics, elections, the branches of government, public policy, social movements, and other political and governmental issues in the United States. The subfield of comparative politics looks at similar issues in countries other than the United States, and tries to find out how differences in culture, levels of development, social structures, and forms of government influence the ways in which politics are conducted around the world. The subfield of international relations studies the relationships among states in the international system and also looks at international institutions, transnational organizations, and the role of norms and law in international affairs. The subfield of political theory focuses on normative issues such as justice and legitimacy in politics, both through the study of the history of political thought and by seeking to make original contributions to thinking on classic problems.

Our Master of Arts program maintains a strong focus on political science research and analysis. By providing access to Ph.D.-level courses and involvement in the intellectual environment of the department, including stimulating co-curricular workshops and seminars, we expose M.A. students to the highest quality of research. Moreover, the department offers a one-semester proseminar tailored specifically to introduce M.A. students to the research being done in the department, the approaches of the different subfields, and the most recent developments in the discipline of political science.

Another advantage of Columbia's M.A. program over larger programs is the size of the cohort. Since we admit only about twenty students each year, each student receives individualized advising and one-to-one mentoring from faculty in the department. 

An M.A. in political science provides advanced study in political science and political analysis that makes our graduates strong candidates for jobs in many fields, including political consulting, government, international organizations, business, law, and journalism. The M.A. program may also represent the beginning of an academic career. The program offers professionalization workshops both for students interested in pursuing academic careers and those pursuing professional careers outside higher education.

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Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for admission, applicants must have earned a bachelor's degree by the date in which they enroll at the Graduate School.

Applicants who hold American doctorates or their international equivalents in the same or similar fields as those to which they propose to apply, or who have completed most of the work required to earn the PhD elsewhere, are not eligible for admission to the Graduate School.

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Course Modules

 

Degree Requirements

In order to qualify for the Master of Arts degree, students must meet the following requirements.

  • Residence Requirement
  • Course Requirements
  • Research Tool Requirements
  • Good Standing

Residence Requirement

In addition to registering for individual courses, students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences are required to register for residence at the University. 

Two Residence Units are required for the Master of Arts degree in political science.

Consult the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Bulletin for further detail on residence requirements.

Course Requirements

Students in the M.A. program must complete (within one academic year) a minimum of eight graduate-level political science courses for a total of at least 30 points, including:

  • two colloquia or seminars (8000- or 9000-level courses) offered by the Department of Political Science, or, with prior approval of the Director of the M.A. program, advanced graduate courses that include the requirement of writing a paper;
  • three additional courses offered by the Department of Political Science, normally in one of the four subfields of political science (i.e., American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory);
  • three additional courses offered by the Department of Political Science or, with prior approval of the Director of the M.A. program, courses offered by another department that relate closely to political science.

One of the two sets of courses in the non-colloquium section of the requirement must be completed with an average grade of B+ or better. The other set of courses in the non-colloquium section of the requirement may include up to two courses completed for R credit; however, courses offered in fulfillment of the research tools requirement must be completed for examination credit.

Course Requirements Beginning Fall 2017

Students in the M.A. Program must complete (with in one academic year) a minimum of eight graduate-level political science courses for a total of at least 30 points, including:

  • two colloquia or seminars (8000- or 9000-level courses) offered by the Department of Political Science, or, with prior approval of the Director of the M.A. program, advanced graduate courses that include the requirement of writing a paper;
  • three additional courses offered by the Department of Political Science, normally in one of the four subfields of political science (i.e., American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory);
  • two additional courses offered by the Department of Political Science or, with prior approval of the Director of the M.A. program, courses offered by another department that relate closely to political science.
  • The MA Proseminar Course (POLS GR5000)

One of the two sets of courses in the non-colloquium section of the requirement must be completed with an average grade of B+ or better. The other set of courses in the non-colloquium section of the requirement may include up to two courses completed for R credit; however, courses offered in fulfillment of the research tools requirement must be completed for examination credit.

MA Proseminar Requirement

The course was created to introduce students to the different subfields of the discipline by presenting various perspectives on one key topic in political science. This year the course focuses on the topic of Democracy, a concept that has been at the center of the political discourse for a long time, both in democratic and non-democratic regimes. Throughout the course, both theoretical and empirical debates surrounding the study of democracy are explored.

Although the specific topic may change from year to year, the goal and structure of the course will remain the same: to contribute to the students' understanding of an important topic in political science and discuss it through the lens of the different subfields: American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory. By doing so, students will also learn the technical language, important concepts, and different methodological approaches of each subfield.

Research Tool Requirements

For the M.A. degree, students must demonstrate command of one research tool selected from the following list:

  • a reading knowledge of a foreign language, demonstrated by successfully passing the proficiency exam offered by the relevant language department, or by placing out of the fourth year on the placement exam offered in those departments that do not offer a proficiency exam (for example, the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures). Native speakers of a language other than English may offer their native language in satisfaction of this requirement;
  • an approved two-course sequence in quantitative analysis with an average grade of B or better;
  • an approved two-course sequence in formal modeling with an average grade of B or better;
  • one course in qualitative methodology in combination with any one of the above quantitative or formal modeling courses with an average grade of B or better;
  • a comparable level of proficiency in a comparable research tool, approved in writing by the M.A. Program Director upon recommendation of the student’s adviser.
  • Courses taken to fulfill the research tool requirement can count toward the 8 courses for the degree.

Two-course sequences that fulfill the Research Tool requirement are:

Quantitative analysis:

  • POLS GU4710 and GU4712
  • POLS GU4710 and GU4714
  • POLS GU4710 and GU4730
  • POLS GU4714 and GU4790
  • POLS GU4764 and any above 4000-level quantitative courses
  • POLS GU4768 and any above 4000-level quantitative courses

Formal modeling:

  • POLS GU4700 and GU4730
  • POLS GU4730 and GU4732

Qualitative methodology:

  • POLS GU4702 (Methods of Inquiry and Research Design)
  • POLS GR4780 (Qualitative & Interpretative Methods in Political Science)
  • SOC GR6091 (Historical Method & Documentary Analysis)
  • Or an alternative approved by the DGS

Languages used to fulfill the requirement are to be chosen in consultation with the adviser from among those encompassing a significant literature in political science, including Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish. Certain other languages necessary for the student’s research interests may, upon approval by the student’s adviser and the M.A. Program Director, be offered as a foreign language. English may not be offered as a foreign language.

GOOD ACADEMIC STANDING IN A DEGREE PROGRAM

Good standing in the Graduate School involves two components: academic good standing within the student’s department and administrative good standing in the Graduate School.

To be considered in good academic standing, students must make satisfactory academic progress as determined by their department. Satisfactory progress for M.A. candidates includes but is not limited to:

  1. Acquiring an advisor
  2. Meeting time-to-degree requirements for the M.A. degree
  3. Completing degree requirements and maintaining superior quality of work
  4. Maintaining a cumulative grade point average (GPA)* of at least 3.0
  5. Fulfilling GSAS pedagogical requirements and responsibilities
  6. Meeting other criteria specified by the department.

Departments or programs should communicate the express criteria for good academic standing to their students; candidates should be familiar with them.

GOOD ADMINISTRATIVE STANDING IN THE GRADUATE SCHOOL

Additionally, students are expected to remain in compliance with all applicable administrative policies and procedures of the University such as those of the Columbia Libraries, University Housing, etc.

Consequences for failing to make academic progress or adhere to applicable administrative policies and procedures may include academic or administrative warning, probation, suspension, or dismissal.

* The cumulative GPA is derived from all courses in which a student has registered and received a grade.

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How to Apply

All prospective students must apply using the online application. Printed applications are not available.

You must specify in your application the department, doctoral program subcommittee, or free-standing master’s degree program in which you wish to study. If required, you must indicate the sub-field of study and the term for which you are applying. A complete application includes: 

  • transcripts of all previous post-secondary education 
  • a statement of academic purpose
  • a curriculum vitae or résumé
  • three letters of recommendation from academic sources 
  • GRE scores and, if applicable, results of the TOEFL or IELTS examination to fulfill the English Proficiency Requirement
  • a sample of scholarly writing, if required by the department or program
  • payment of the application fee

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