Political Science (M.A.)

Campus: Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus

          Virginia Tech Online (Virtual)

Instructions: Residential/On Campus 

                                         Online Courses for Virtual Option  

This 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.












Our Master’s Program in Political Science

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 On-Line Master of Arts in Political Science Program (OLMA/PSCI).

Why Study Political Science Here?

The department's relatively small scale provides excellent opportunities for close student-faculty interaction in both the residential and on-line M.A. programs of study. Department faculty is drawn from outstanding universities around the United States and around the world, and the department has strong expertise in all major sub-fields 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

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 MA degree requires a minimum of thirty semester hours of graduate-level coursework including successful completion of a thesis. Each student will engage in an independent research project closely supervised by a committee of three faculty members selected by the student. Students are required to submit and orally defend a thesis proposal in the academic term preceding the semester in which they plan to write the thesis. The completed thesis will be evaluated by the student's faculty committee, consisting of at least three members and must be successfully defended before that committee in an oral examination.

Careers of Program Graduates

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, political organizations, and research institutes.

MA Program In Political Science with Residential Option

This degree program is also offered at the Blacksburg campus. The Blacksburg campus offers students the full services of the university, including an extensive library, technology support, and the Graduate Life Center.

On-Line MA Program In Political Science

The On-Line Masters of Arts (OLMA) in Political Science is identical in course content, requirements, and work-load to the residential MA degree program. Building upon the experience and expertise of Virginia Tech faculty in teaching on-line undergraduate courses through the Virginia Tech Cyberschool since 1995, this on-line learning site is aimed at place -bound students, who want to earn a graduate degree, but are unable to begin a residential degree program at Virginia Tech's main campus in Blacksburg. Participants in this On-Line Master of Arts program complete their course work over the Internet through asynchronously conducted on-line graduate courses. In addition, VTOnline, Virginia Tech's virtual campus, provides access to the university's many administrative, financial aid, library, and student support services.

Students interested in applying to the Political Science (M.A.) degree should contact the program director, Scott Nelson, by email at scnelson@vt.edu or by phone at 540-231-5629.

Visit our office at 519 major Williams Hall, 220 Stanger Street, Blacksburg, VA 24061 

Domestic Application

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

International Application

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

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


Scott Nelson
Director of Graduate Studies
519 Major Williams Hall

Karen Nicholson
Graduate Programs Coordinator
531 Major Williams Hall

Department of Political Science
531 Major Williams Hall (0130)
220 Stanger Street
Blacksburg, VA 24061