MA Political Science
M.A. Program in Political Science at NEIU
Admission to the Program
The College of Graduate Studies and Research initially processes applications for admission into graduate programs at the University. After reviewing the student's application and transcripts, the College of Graduate Studies and Research sends the credentials of those applicants who meet the College of Graduate Studies and Research admission requirements to the Department for the Department's admissions decision.
The Departmental Program
Students have two options to choose from to fulfill the master's degree program requirements:
1. Thirty credit hours of course work, a thesis for six credit hours, and an oral examination, or See materials, below, for further information regarding the thesis option.
2. Thirty-six credit hours of course work, a written comprehensive examination, and an oral examination. See materials, below, for further information regarding the written comprehensive examination option.
A student interested in the thirty credit plus thesis option must secure approval of the Department. Only students who have demonstrated high proficiency in various aspects of graduate studies (writing, discussion, analysis, creativity, etc.) will be permitted to write a thesis.
Departmental Degree Requirements [For Additional University Requirements, see the University Catalog]
Students must select one area of emphasis from the following:
American Politics and Public Affairs
International and Comparative Politics
Students are required to take:
PSCI-401 Classics of Political Science, preferably as a first course.
PSCI-402 Research Methods in Political Science, if possible, before graduate seminar courses.
Five courses in the area of emphasis.
Three courses selected from a second area.
Two elective courses from any areas of emphasis.
Student must maintain a "B" average in the Master's Program. General requirements of the College of Graduate Studies and Research concerning grades may be found in the Academic Catalog or at the College of Graduate Studies and Research Office.
Typically, all courses offered for graduate credit will be at the 400 level. The Department may permit graduate students to apply to their program up to three 300-level courses, or 10 credit hours, from a list of 300-level courses. The following 300-level courses are pre-approved for graduate credit by the Department, College of Graduate Studies and Research and University:
American Politics and Public Affairs
PSCI 310: Congress and the Legislative Branch
PSCI 311: The American Judiciary and the Judicial Process
PSCI 320: Constitutional Law
PSCI 344: Public Organization Theory
PSCI 345: Government Budgeting
PSCI 346: Public Personnel Administration
International Relations and Comparative Politics
PSCI 354: Islamic Civilization: Government and Politics
PSCI 358: Modern European Government
PSCI 363: Politics of the Middle East
PSCI 365: Politics and Government of Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean
PSCI 366: Politics and Government of South America
PSCI 376: Principles of International Relations
PSCI 380: International Law
PSCI 390: Classical Political Theory
PSCI 391: Modern Political Theory
Up to nine (9) credit hours in Political Science taken at other institutions may be accepted as transfer credits towards fulfilling the degree requirements. Please consult the College of Graduate Studies and Research for the policies and procedures for transfer credits. Discussion of these transfer hours with the Graduate Coordinator of the Department is necessary and should be undertaken as early as possible.
Independent and Tutored Study:
An independent/tutored study course will be accepted as part of the graduate program assuming the student has presented a reasonably well worked out proposal, there is no regular course available on the topic, a faculty member has agreed to supervise the course, and other relevant considerations.
Students admitted to the M.A. program in political science by the College of Graduate Studies and Research must see the Graduate Coordinator immediately. They then may be referred to a departmental advisor from their major area of concentration.
The Graduate Coordinator will advise students on the overall program requirements and develop with them a course of study. The advisor in the major area of concentration will give specific advice in that area.
It is imperative that students communicate with the Graduate Coordinator each term before registering for courses, to review and, if necessary, to revise their program of study.
Any changes concerning registration for courses, major area of concentration, minor area of concentration, or program revision must receive prior approval of the Graduate Coordinator.
Examinations and Theses:
Students should inform the Graduate Coordinator, at completion of course work, or in their final term, that they wish to take the written comprehensive examination. The Coordinator will then set a date, select the committee in consultation with the student, and collect questions from the committee members.
Note: The student is responsible for being aware of impending graduation deadlines. Arrangements for written comprehensive examinations take time. Students should not expect to be able to take written exams during summer terms, when many faculty are not on campus.
Rules and Regulations for the Written Examination
Questions on the examination will be based on issues and topics drawn from courses taken by the students from one faculty member as part of their major field of graduate study, from courses taken from another faculty member as part of the minor field, and questions from a third faculty member selected by the Graduate Coordinator in consultation with the student to be examined.
The number of questions, and whether they will be open book/notes or closed book/notes, will be determined by the members of the examining committee.
The examination will take approximately seven - three hours; a one hour break; and three additional hours.
Grading for this examination is on a Pass-Fail system. The student fails to meet those standards will be allowed to retake the examinations, or any necessary part of it, no more than twice. There will be an interval of at least one month between the first and second examination, and at least two months between the second and third examinations.
The Graduate Committee of the Department shall review the case of any student who has failed to pass the written comprehensive examination three times. It may recommend further study, termination, or another course of action.
A student may request the use of a personal computer at this examination.
Note: Only after a student has successfully completed this examination will that student be allowed to sit for the Oral Examination.
Students interested in writing a thesis may first approach a faculty member to see if that individual is interested in supervising a thesis. Typically, that faculty member would be familiar with the subject area of interest to the student and would have had the student in two or more courses.
At least two to four weeks should be allowed for faculty readers to review and return each draft or revision to the student.
Note: Students who plan to write their theses in the area of International and Comparative Politics should work under the supervision of the appropriate faculty member for that area. Exceptions to this policy will be made only by special arrangement among the student, faculty member, and Graduate Coordinator.
The students must see the graduate advisor to begin formal thesis application procedures. These procedures include a formal petition to write a thesis, that petition to include:
- A prospectus of two to three pages, outlining the research question or topic the student will address, and how the student intends to address it. Any background information on the relevance and importance of the thesis topic would be included, here;
- A preliminary list of primary and secondary sources the applicant believes to be appropriate to the thesis question or topic;
- A letter from the potential advisor indicating that the advisor has reviewed the proposal and is willing to supervise it;
- A sample of the applicant's writing, such as a previous exam or course paper;
The proposal shall then be given to the graduate committee for review.
After approval of the petition to write a thesis, a completed typed first draft of the thesis shall be given to the thesis advisor. Individual typed copies of subsequent drafts and revisions shall be provided to each of the members of the thesis committee. At least two to four weeks should be allowed for the readers to revise and return each draft to the student. Longer periods may be necessary when summers, term breaks, holidays, or faculty leaves or sabbaticals are involved.
Two copies of the thesis in its final form will be submitted to the graduate Coordinator prior to the Department notifying the College of Graduate Studies and Research of the completion of the requirements for the degree.
Beginning in the Fall 1997 term, the style of the thesis shall follow the APA (American Psychological Association) format [also called "parenthetical references"]. Failure to conform to this style standard will be sufficient grounds for refusal to consider the paper. Students writing a thesis should obtain a copy of the "Manual of Thesis Procedures" from the College of Graduate Studies and Research for additional information about format.
The length of each thesis depends on the subject matter, purpose, sources and other factors determined by the student and the members of the Thesis Committee.
The final draft of the thesis must be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator at least one month before the deadline for completion of work for any specific graduation date. Dates of deadlines for completion of work can be found in the Schedule of Classes, or are available from the College of Graduate Studies and Research.
An oral examination will be administered to all students at the completion of their work in their graduate program.
On the oral examination, students should be prepared to respond to questions on all aspects of their course work and their thesis or the topics covered by their written comprehensive examination. Oral examination questions may also cover a student's second area of concentration.
Rules and Regulations for the Oral Examination
Only students whose theses or written comprehensive exams are approved will be allowed to take the oral examination.
The examination usually will last approximately one hour.
The Oral Examination Committee will determine success or failure on the part of the student being examined. In cases in which the student fails, that student will be allowed to retake the oral examination no more than twice. There will be an interval of at least one month between the first and second examinations and at least two months between the second and third examinations.
The Graduate Committee of the Department shall review the case of any student who has failed to pass the oral examination three times. It may recommend further study, termination, or another course of action.
If, for whatever reasons, students desire exemption from any requirements of the program, they may present a petition, with explanation, through the College of Graduate Studies and Research for action by the Department Graduate Committee.
Students whose courses have become dated as a result of passage of time in excess of University regulations may petition the College of Graduate Studies and Research for an extension of time allowed for the completion of the degree requirements.
Merit Tuition Waivers:
Every semester, including summer terms, the Department will award a small number of Merit Tuition Waivers. Interested students should apply to the Graduate Coordinator of the Department at the start of the term preceding the term for which a Waiver is sought.
Other Imporant Reminders for Graduate Students
Join the Grad Program NEIUport Group ASAP.
See your advisor each semester to double check and confirm your plans (courses available, what you're registered for, requirements needed, etc.).
Talk with each other about ideas; talk with your advisor about the program after the first semester, always bring a copy of your unofficial transcript to advising sessions (transcripts are available in the College of Graduate Studies and Research).
Please study the requirements of the College of Graduate Studies and Research and of the Department of Political Science carefully (see the NEIU Catalog).
Make sure that you take PSCI 401 and 402 early in your M.A. career. These courses are offered only once each year, and are required.
The department's expectation is that you take 400-level courses specifically designed for graduate students and only use pre-approved 300-level courses occasionally or as a last resort (limit of three for the M.A.).
If taking a 300-level course for graduate credit, you must identify yourself, so the course's instructor can give you additional assignments.
When you complete 12 hours of course work applicable to your degree requirements, apply to the College of Graduate Studies and Research for candidacy. This application is required to initiate the formation of your M.A. Committee.
Be sure to keep apprised of the deadlines for application for graduation. Deadlines are well in advanced of actual graduation dates.
If you change your address or phone number, let the College of Graduate Studies and Research and the Department know.
The faculty and staff of the Department are here to help you in your work toward completion of your Graduate Program. Please feel free to stop by or call whenever you have anything with which we may be of help.