Degree Requirements

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Students must complete 30 credits (10 courses) and a capstone experience to earn a  master's degree. Students complete one course from each of the three concentrations  ( Am. Government, International Relations, Political Philosophy) within the program, as well as a required Scope and Methods course. Students will take their remaining six courses from any of the three concentrations.

Beyond these general guidelines, the political science department seeks to customize a plan of study to suit every student's needs. The graduate director works with students to plan their course selection in accordance with their career goals.

To maximize curricular flexibility, students can take up to six courses outside the department. In the past, students have taken graduate courses in history, philosophy, public administration, statistics and religious studies to pursue their educational goals.

Students will find that, regardless of the concentration and courses they choose, Villanova's diverse faculty members offer a variety of philosophical, pedagogical and theoretical approaches to the study of politics, and boast a wide range of scholarly interests.

As a capstone to their studies, some students opt to write a master's thesis, which earns six credits in lieu of two courses. All other students take a comprehensive oral exam following completion of their ten courses.

Capstone Options

Thesis Option:

In their third semester, students with a GPA of 3.3 or higher can enroll in PSC 9078 Thesis Research Problems to work on and prepare their M.A. thesis proposal. After successful completion of PSC 9078, students enroll in PSC 9079 Thesis Direction to complete their thesis for defense in the spring of their fourth semester.

Oral Exam Option

Students may (1) complete ten courses and take a comprehensive oral exam after all course work is completed., or (2) complete eight courses and write a thesis. The oral exam tests the student’s knowledge of course specifics and general themes in political science.

Students may (1) complete ten courses and take a comprehensive oral exam after all course work is completed, or (2) complete eight courses and write a thesis. The oral exam tests the student’s knowledge of course specifics and general themes in political science.

Prior to the exam, the student submits to the graduate director:

  • A portfolio containing an abstract of each paper written while in the program.
  • A list of courses taken.
  • At least five discussion questions which may be used during the exam at the discretion of the evaluation committee.

Course Load

The expected full-time course load is nine credits (three courses, per semester), making it possible to complete the degree comfortably in two years. Some students can complete their work more rapidly by taking advantage of summer courses, which are offered but not required.

Part-time students are welcome and are encouraged to apply.

DEPARTMENT CONTACT
Diane Mozzone
Senior Administrative Assistant
Department of Political Science
Villanova University
Villanova, PA 19085-1699
Phone: 610.519.4710
Fax: 610.519.7487
diane.mozzone@villanova.edu

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