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Political Science (M.A.)

Online and On-Campus


Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus, Virginia Tech Online (Virtual)

Residential/On Campus, Online Courses for Virtual Option  

Program Overview

Our graduate study program is designed to provide students with a firm, broadly based grounding in the discipline of political science and a strong foundation in social science research methodologies. The Master of Arts Program covers all subfields of the discipline, and it prepares students for careers in academic life and government such as pursuing a doctoral degree in political science or entering a career in a public agency, non-profit organization or private research organization. Our graduates have taken professional positions in government agencies, and political organizations, and gone on to further study in the ASPECT program and other doctoral programs at Virginia Tech and elsewhere.


Why choose this program?

  • The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Political Science was established in 1969. Currently the program enrolls 10 to 15 full-time students on campus each year, and approximately 60-70 off-campus in the online Master of Arts in Political Science Program (OLMA/PSCI).
  • The department's relatively small scale provides excellent opportunities for close student-faculty interaction in both the residential and online M.A. programs of study. 
  • Our Blacksburg campus offers students the full services of the university, including an extensive library, technology support, and the Graduate Life Center for residential students.
  • Participants in the online Master of Arts program complete their course work over the Internet through asynchronously conducted online graduate courses.
  • Department faculty is drawn from outstanding universities around the United States and around the world, and the department has strong expertise in all major subfields of political science. 
  • As active research scholars, members of the faculty regularly review research grants for major granting bodies in the U.S. and abroad, and serve as editors or on editorial boards of major peer-reviewed journals, including Administration & Society; Capitalism, Nature, Socialism; Critical Policy Studies; Congress and the Presidency; Fast Capitalism; International Political Sociology; the minnesota review; New Political Science; Peace Studies Journal; Presidential Studies Quarterly; Rhetoric & Public Affairs; and Telos.

What You'll Study

You will complete 21 hours of coursework and 9 hours of Thesis and Research.

  • PSCI 5115-Research Methods I
  • PSCI 5116-Research Methods II
  • PSCI 5214-Contemporary Political Theory
  • PSCI 5994 Thesis and Research 
  • PSCI 5994 Thesis and Research
  • PSCI 5994 Thesis and Research
  • Elective Course 1
  • Elective Course 2
  • Elective Course 3
  • Elective Course 4

Some courses includes: Collaborative governance and civil society, contemporary political theory, alternative perspectives in political theory, global conflicts, transnational migration, legislative branch, executive branch, judicial branch, political behavior, public policy analysis, electronic governance, identity migration and place, industrial democracies, communist and post-communist systems, politics of developing areas, international politics, advanced topics in information technology and public policy, critical security studies, global governance, contemporary American foreign policy, discourse analysis, global security, regionalism and political development, culture, politics and society in network environments, environmental politics and policy.

  • Minimum GPA 3.0 (4 Scale)
  • GRE Recommended
  • TOEFL/ IELTS score required  (if applicable)

Learn more 

The Department of Political Science has an extremely limited number of graduate assistantships and fellowships available for highly promising students applying for full-time study on the Blacksburg Campus. Entering students can apply for such funding as part of their admissions application. No separate application required. However, we are only able to accept approximately 30% of all applicants to the program overall, and of that group, only 30% of that pool is offered funding. As one of the few fully-funded MA programs in Political Science, we receive a high volume of applications, and can generally fund only 15% of overall applications

Find out what loans are available as a graduate student and other opportunities (US citizenship or immigration status requirements may apply).

Domestic (Blacksburg Campus Only) Application Deadlines:

  • Spring: January 1
  • Summer I: May 1
  • Summer II: June 1
  • *Fall:  August 1

International (Blacksburg Campus) Application Deadlines:

  • Spring: September 1
  • Summer I: January 1
  • Summer II: February  1
  • *Fall: April 1

*Deadline for admission with Graduate Assistantships consideration for Fall: February 15

Domestic and International (Online/Virtual Campus Only) Application Deadlines:

  • Spring: January 1
  • Summer I: May 1
  • Summer II: June 1
  • Fall:  August 1

Sarah Harvey, Graduate Programs Coordinator
531 Major Williams Hall


Sarah Harvey, Graduate Programs Coordinator
531 Major Williams Hall

Faculty Experts In Political Science

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