Students must complete 30 credits and a capstone project to earn a  master's degree. Students complete one course from each of the three concentrations within the program. 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. 

Beyond these general guidelines, the political science department seeks to customize a plan of study to suit every student's needs. The graduate director is available to work with students and to adjust the course of study if need be as their plans evolve.  After consultation, students for example can take up to six courses outside the department. In past, students have taken graduate courses in history, philosophy, public administration, statistics and religious studies to pursue their educational goals.

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 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.

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

Students will take their remaining six courses from any of the three concentrations.

Degree Final Requirements


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.
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Contact and Apply

Further information may be obtained by writing to:

Diane Mozzone
Senior Administrative Assistant
Department of Political Science
Villanova University
Villanova, PA 19085-1699
Phone: 610.519.4710
Fax: 610.519.7487