MA Program


About Us

The Master of Arts in Political Science is a one year program that emphasizes the development of strong research skills.  Classes in Canadian and Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Theory, and Urban Politics and Local Governance introduce students to the latest debates and theories in political science.  Western also offers the best political methodology training in Canada, and MA students can take advantage of this training by taking introductory and advanced PhD courses in quantitative and qualitative methods.  Students who complete our MA program are well-prepared for PhD programs and jobs in the public and private sectors that require advanced research and communication skills.

As an MA student, you will have access to:

  • Office space in the Department;
  • One-on-one interactions with faculty members;
  • Opportunities to be a Research Assistant;
  • Opportunities to fast-track into our PhD Program;
  • Small class sizes;
  • Strong funding packages, including the opportunity to serve as a Teaching Assistant;
  • Untapped data sets for publishing new and original research.

MA Program Progression Requirements

Line of graduating students

Our full-time MA program takes one calendar year (three terms) to complete (Fall, Winter, Summer). You do not need to contact or obtain a supervisor prior to admission. There are two ways to complete the requirements:  


1. Research Paper Option

This option requires completing three first-term courses in the Fall term, including ‘Politics 9501A: Research Design', and three additional courses in the Winter term.  In the Summer term, students complete a major research paper under the supervision of a full-time faculty member. 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.

2. Coursework Intensive Option

This option requires the completion of one additional course, in the summer, instead of the Research Paper. 


General Requirements

  • The MA is three full-time semesters (Fall, Winter and Summer)
  • There are two options:
    • Research Paper option: 6 courses in Fall/Winter, and a Research Paper in Summer
    • Coursework Intensive option: 3 courses in Fall, 3 courses in Winter, 1 course in Summer

See the Political Science Graduate Student Handbook for more details. 


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