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Degree Requirements

Degree Hours Thesis Option Minor Option
M.A. 36 hours Non-Thesis No minor
M.A. 33 hours Thesis No minor

Master’s Degree Time Limit:

A program leading to a master’s degree must be completed within six years from the date of a student’s initial enrollment in graduate courses used toward the degree. This time limit applies to credit hours earned at Texas State as well as credit transferred to Texas State from other accredited institutions. Requests for an extension must be submitted to the graduate director, who in turn submits a recommendation to the Dean of the Graduate College.

Areas of Emphases

Students may wish to complete a particular set of courses that highlight their area of interest while fulfilling the requirement for their MA in political science. While not required, these tailored courses can help demonstrate a learning focus for future employment or an advanced degree. Visit our emphases page to learn more.

Leveling Courses

Students without an undergraduate degree in political science or undergraduate minor in political science, or a minimum of nine (9) advanced hours in political science or related field, are only eligible for conditional admission and will be required to take leveling courses prior to enrolling in graduate political science courses.  

Once a student has been accepted, the graduate director reviews the student’s transcripts and determines how many leveling courses are needed. Students who are lacking in advanced political science undergraduate or post graduate hours may be required to complete up to 15 hours of undergraduate hours before beginning to take graduate political science courses. 

The requirements will be listed on the student’s degree outline, which is processed and distributed by the Graduate College after the graduate director approves the requirements for the major. Political science background courses must be chosen in consultation with the graduate director. A grade of “B” or better must be earned on all background courses. 

Leveling work is not computed for the graduation GPA requirement, nor is graduate-degree credit granted for background work for the degree to be earned.


The office of the Graduate College will notify applicants officially by mail regarding admission.  Since applications are for specific semesters, an applicant should notify the Office of the Graduate College as soon as possible if he or she will not be enrolling in the semester for which the applicant was accepted.

Registration in the Graduate College beyond the first semester depends on satisfactory progress in fulfilling any admission conditions that may have been imposed and maintaining satisfactory academic progress.

Course Load

At the graduate level, the full-time course load during a long semester is 9 or more semester hours; ¾ time is 7-8 hours, ½ time is 5-6 hours and the maximum load is 15 hours. The full-time course load during each summer session is 5 graduate-level hours; the maximum load is 6 hours. Course loads exceeding the maximum hour loads require written approval of the Dean of the Graduate College. This request must be submitted by the graduate director.


M.A. students may enroll in an internship course (POSI 5370) if they are interning or are employed by a unit of federal, state, regional, or local government. The student must secure a position himself/herself. Neither the political science department nor the graduate director places students in internship positions. The graduate director will make available information about any positions that are brought to the department’s attention. Students who work 20 hours per week for at least 14 weeks may receive 3 credit hours.

The graduate director will provide students with a syllabus listing the requirements for the internship. The graduate director will be the instructor of record for all students enrolled in the internship course. Visit TRACS for help with finding an internship.


Directed Reading

Students, with permission from the graduate director, may take up to two directed reading courses (POSI 5398). These courses must be taken with two different professors and with a different emphasis. Students may only enroll in directed readings with professors with whom they have taken an M.A. course. Directed readings courses are to provide the student with advanced studies beyond the scope of in-class coursework. POSI 5398 may not be taken in the first semester of coursework. A directed reading course is required for thesis students.

Post-Graduate Credit

Up to 6 hours of graduate-level courses taken as a post-graduate certification, non-degree, or certificate student with a grade of “B” or better may be permitted for degree credit, after a student is granted regular degree-seeking admission. Such credit requires approval of the Dean of the Graduate College.

Transfer Credit

A maximum of 6 semester hours of credit earned at another institution may be accepted as transfer credit and applied toward the master’s degree.  Those hours must fulfill certain requirements; speak with the program director for more information.