MA Program

About Us


The Master of Arts in Political Science is a one year program for full time students that emphasizes the development of strong research skills.  MA students in our program have access to an excellent research library, can choose from a wide range of high quality graduate courses, and can expect a high degree of interpersonal contact with their instructors, supervisors and fellow students.  In the required course, students explicitly focus on the various ways of doing political research.  Shared office space is provided to all our MA students, who are mentored throughout their teaching assistantships, learning important practical skills necessary to teach.

Many of our graduates go on to higher degrees including the PhD in Political Science, Law, teaching or work in the public or private sector.  As well as keeping training and skills current, a graduate degree increases eligibility for future career advancement.

Our areas of specialization are:

  • Canadian Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • International Relations
  • Urban Politics / Local Government
  • Political Theory

MA Program Requirements

Our full-time MA program takes one calendar year (three terms) to complete, September admission onlyYou do not need to obtain a supervisor prior to admission.  There are two ways to complete the requirements.  The first term requirements are the same for both options.  Second term requirements differ depending on the option you choose.

The MA Research Paper Option

This option requires three first-term courses, including ‘Politics 9501A’. In the second term, it requires three further courses. In the third term, students complete a major research paper, a critical literature review or original research of approximately 50 or 40 pages.  To obtain a degree that will also show a specific field specialization, a student must take three courses in the specific field, that may include no more than one special topics course in that field and write an MA Research Paper on a topic within that field.  Only one specialization can be shown on your degree.  Specializations in certain fields may not be possible due to limited course offerings in a particular year. To view MA Research Papers at Scholarship@Western.

The Thesis Option

This option requires three first-term courses, including ‘Politics 9501A’ and an overall first-term average of 83% must be achieved. In the second term, students register for one further course. The thesis is a piece of independent research of approximately 80-100 pages, to be completed and defended in an oral examination.

General Requirements

  • The MA is three full-time semesters (Fall, Winter and Summer)
  • There are two options:
    • MA Research Paper option: 6 courses in Fall/Winter, and a MA Research Paper in Summer
    • Thesis option: 3 courses in Fall, 1 course and thesis in Winter, thesis and oral defense in summer.  To be eligible for the thesis option, students must achieve a Fall term average of at least 83%

See the Political Science Graduate Student Handbook for more details.