MA in Political Science


Program Description

Our Master of Arts in Politics and Policy combines coursework, professional development, and independent research to build skills in qualitative and quantitative analysis; grant writing; and analysis of complex policy environments. We prepare students to address normative political questions; apply advanced statistical methods to policy analysis, and network in political and non-profit sectors. 

The M.A. in Politics and Policy can be completed in a single calendar year, and many of our students also join the Community Fellows Program. We prepare students for further study in political science, public policy, or the law. Many of our recent graduates have secured careers in health policy analysis, administration in nonprofit and public organizations, grant administration, organizational development, community organizing, state and local government leadership, lobbying, and communications.

Graduate Program

The Master of Arts in Politics and Policy program prepares students for public service, careers in the private sector, and/or further study in Political Science, public policy, or law school. Students have the option of enrolling in a traditional master’s program or applying to the Community Fellows program. Students who are interested in continuing their graduate experience beyond the master’s level, teaching in a community college or high school, or working in a private company are encouraged to pursue the traditional track. Students who would like to pursue a career in a state or local public service agency or engage in nonprofit work may wish to pursue the Community Fellows program, where a student will work for 15 hours per week in a local agency on a project related to community development. Regardless of track option, there is a particular emphasis on a close faculty-student interaction in classes and on projects with local or regional partners.

Degree Requirements

In order to complete the Master of Arts program, students must complete 30 credit hours (a research methods course plus 27 additional credits). A comprehensive examination, research project, or thesis is also required. Students will work closely with the director of graduate studies in order to devise a curriculum plan.

Financial Support

There is an array of opportunities for students to pursue the Master of Arts program, including teaching assistantships, research assistantships, partial or full tuition remissions, or the Community Fellowship.

Application Requirements

The Department of Political Science has rolling admissions for the Master of Arts program. For students who would like to be candidates for financial aid for the fall semester, applications are due on February 15.

GRE scores are not required as part of the application process for the Master of Arts program. However, applicants are welcome to submit their GRE scores if they choose to do so. In order to complete the application process, transcripts are required, 3 letters of recommendation (at least 2 must be from academics), a resume, and a statement of objectives.

For the Community Fellows program, applicants must submit a brief supplementary statement as to why they are interested in working in a nonprofit agency, including any relevant community or volunteer experience or skills they may possess.

Facilities and Resources

The Department of Political Science is located in 307 Maginnes Hall on the main campus. A computer room is located in Maginnes Hall where students can access the university’s main computer, library services, and a variety of online resources. The university’s libraries contain one of the most technologically advanced information systems in the United States.

Number of MA Students

In a typical year, the Department of Political Science has 15-20 graduate students.

Recent Examples of Research Projects by MA Students

  • Study of predatory lending practices in Lehigh Valley.
  • Development of WDIY Public Radio segments on suburban sprawl.
  • Study of community activism in West Bethlehem No-Mall Movement.
  • Market-Towns Initiative in the Delaware-Lehigh River Heritage Corridor.
  • Work with Community Action Committee of Lehigh Valley on Green Futures Fund and regional farmers market.
  • Overview of regional Latino political activism.
  • Study of direct foreign investment in democratization in former communist-bloc nations.
  • Analysis of political activism by Lehigh Valley nonprofit organizations.

Length of Typical Graduate Program

Completion of the Master of Arts program is typically 12 months for Community Fellows and 12-15 months for the students on the traditional track.

Admission Requirements

Admissions open: Fall

Fall Deadline for Application Review: March 1

Fall Deadline for Financial Aid consideration: February 15 

Contact Information

Holona Ochs, Graduate Director
Phone Number: 610-758-6508 

Admission Requirements

3 Letters of Recommendation (two of which are Faculty), GRE scores not required

International Applicants

International Applicants are required to demonstrate English language skills equal to those required of degree-seeking students. All international applicants whose native language is not English must take the TOEFL test and submit scores.

Last updated Jun 2020

About the School

As Lehigh’s largest and most diverse college, we are home to the social sciences, arts, humanities, and natural sciences. With 1,894 undergraduate students, 342 graduate students, 270 full-time facult ... Read More

As Lehigh’s largest and most diverse college, we are home to the social sciences, arts, humanities, and natural sciences. With 1,894 undergraduate students, 342 graduate students, 270 full-time faculty and 90 professional staff, we are comparable in size and offer the intimacy of a liberal arts college, yet benefit from the resources of a research university. Our faculty are accomplished scholars, artists, and writers, recognized nationally and internationally as leaders in their fields, who share a commitment to the integration of teaching and scholarship into innovative, dynamic curricula set in an intellectually stimulating environment. Read less