The Department of Political Science and International Studies offers three tracks for an M.A. in Political Science, including an online option, an accelerated hybrid program, and a traditional residential course of study. 

1:7 faculty/student ratio
4 graduate certificate programs
35 number of M.A. students
100% complete a significant research project
What Is a Master's in Political Science?

A master's degree prepares students for doctoral work, or careers in government, non-profit organizations, and private sector research. It introduces students to the work of political scientists, builds their content knowledge, and requires them to undertake significant independent research.

Why Study Political Science Here?

Our M.A. program includes 6 hours of coursework in methodology, providing a solid foundation for the individual research required for the thesis. The program also offers electives that cover a broad range of political topics, allowing you to personalize your degree to your area of interest. 

Beyond the Classroom


The Department of Political Science offers students assistantships based on academic merit. These students recieve monthly stipends in exchange for assisting faculty in teaching or research and have the full cost of their tuition covered. 


Our diverse faculty of 34 works closely with students to design a program that fits their needs. We have particular strengths in security studies; campaigns, elections, and voting behavior; constitutional law; and environmental politics.


In addition to the three tracks available to M.A. students, we also offer four graduate certificates, including: Environmental Politics and Policy; Foundations of Political Analysis; Information, Policy, and Society; and Security Studies.

Finishing with Options

Our programs have been successful in placing students in governmental and non-profit positions, as well as launching James Madison Scholars and sending students on to prominent Ph.D. programs nationwide.

Thesis Political Science
Writing Your Thesis

Spend several semesters developing a carefully argued, in-depth, original research project that demonstrates your expertise in a chosen area.

Graduate School VT
Graduate School

Learn more about living and studying in Blacksburg as a graduate student.


Director of Graduate Studies

Dr. Scott G. Nelson

519 Major Williams Hall
(540) 231-5629

Graduate Coordinator

Karen Nicholson

531 Major Williams Hall
(540) 231-6572

Political Science Office

531 Major Williams Hall

(540) 231-6571