What undergraduate degrees are offered?
B.A. Bachelor of Arts
B.G.S. Bachelor of General Studies
Both programs require a sampling of courses in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, but students earning a BA also take courses in a foreign language.
Why Study Political Science at KU? (pdf)
M.A. Degree Requirements
All candidates for the M.A. degree must complete, at a satisfactory level,
- 30 semester hours of graduate credit, 21 of which must be earned in courses at the 700 level or above;
- Research methods through POLS 706; and
- A comprehensive master’s oral examination.
The student selects a principal adviser from the Graduate Faculty by the end of the first year to choose courses and prepare for the comprehensive examination. The examination is administered by a 3-person M.A. committee that includes the student’s principal adviser and 2 other members of the KU Graduate Faculty selected by the student in consultation with the principal adviser. One member of the committee may be from another department (including Special Status members of the Graduate Faculty).
Directed readings courses in excess of 5 hours cannot be counted toward the 30 hours required for the degree. With prior written approval, candidates may count up to 6 graduate hours taken outside the department (either at KU or at another institution accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools) toward the 30 hours required for the degree.
All candidates must fulfill the requirements of either the thesis or the non-thesis option for the Master of Arts degree.
Upon completion and certification of an acceptable thesis, candidates may count 6 credit hours of thesis enrollment toward the 30 credit hours required for the M.A. degree.
Candidates may complete all 30 hours of coursework and take a written exam, followed by an oral exam..
Admission to JD/MA
Candidates must submit separate applications and be accepted for admission to the School of Law and to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences' Political Science Master's Program.
Students who complete the Master of Arts degree may be eligible to pursue the Ph.D. degree, and the M.A. can be on the way toward the PhD. The Ph.D. program requires work in 2 major subfields and 1 minor subfield.
The major fields must be drawn from those offered by the division (see Fields of Graduate Study). Before their first attempt at the written preliminary examination in any subfield, all Ph.D. students must complete at least 4 courses in that field, 3 of which are at the 700 level or above. Enrollment in directed research covering a particular subfield may be substituted for one of the four courses/seminars.
The minor field may be another of the subfields, a related field from an outside department, or an interdisciplinary program. If the choice is not one of the subfields, the student must obtain written approval of the adviser and the graduate studies director. The courses for the minor field must follow the same structure as outlined above for the major fields. Courses for the minor field may not be applied to another examination field.
Students should consult their major advisers to plan a schedule of course work and seminar preparation in each of these subfields to provide adequate preparation for the written preliminary examination. Students must complete the majority of courses in their major fields, the research skills and responsible scholarship requirement, the Ph.D. residency requirement, and resolve any grades of incomplete before registering for preliminary examinations. The research skills and responsible scholarship requirement includes
Option 1: Research Methods
POLS 706 and POLS 707 plus 1 research methods course approved by the major adviser and the graduate director.
Option 2: Research Methods and Foreign Language
POLS 706 and POLS 707 plus 1 of the following choices in a language approved by the student’s adviser as well as the graduate director:
- 2 semesters of a single foreign language no more than 5 years old at the time of certification,
- Demonstrated reading knowledge of a single foreign language, or
- Native speaker.
The research skills and responsible scholarship requirement is fulfilled within the research coursework, such as in POLS705. Current policies on Doctoral Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship are listed in the KU Policy Library.
To become a Ph.D. candidate, the student must satisfactorily complete a comprehensive oral examination. No student may attempt the comprehensive oral examination until the 2 written preliminary examinations have been passed and a majority of the coursework completed. Previous Prelim Exams
After passing the comprehensive oral examination, the doctoral candidate must write a dissertation approved by a departmental dissertation committee and pass a final oral defense of the dissertation to qualify for the Ph.D. degree.