FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Which Program is Right for Me?
Explanation of Programs
- The M.A. program is for applicants seeking broader knowledge of the field of Political Science as well as training in research design and data analysis. The M.A. can be a terminal degree for those seeking professional advancement, or it can be used as a stepping stone to the Ph.D. program.
- The Ph.D. program is for applicants desiring to be trained as independent, original scholars. Most Ph.D. graduates seek faculty positions at colleges or universities.
Yes, we offer a stand-alone M.A. program.
M.A. students can complete three- or six-hour internships, taking advantage of our location in the heart of Atlanta. Previously students have interned at the Carter Center, CARE, the Georgia Legislature, and with the Secret Service, among others. See our Internship Opportunities page.
The Direct Admit Ph.D. program is for: applicants who do not have a master’s in Political Science, but know they want to pursue a Ph.D.; applicants coming straight from undergraduate programs are eligible to apply, as well as mid-career applicants and non-traditional students.
The 4+1 program is for high-achieving Georgia State undergraduate students who are majoring in Political Science and wish to complete both their B.A. and M.A. degrees in five years. Undergraduate Political Science majors should have approximately 90-100 hours of coursework completed prior to beginning the program. Students must have at least a 3.5 GPA, and must have successfully completed POLS 3800 (Research Methods), in order to be considered for admission to the 4+1 program.
Course requirements for the programs of study can be found here.
- Dual-Degree (4 + 1) Program
- Direct-Admit Ph.D.
- Post-M.A. Ph.D.
Studying Political Science at Georgia State and Beyond
Students in our program may study American Politics, Comparative Politics and International Relations, Public Law and Political Theory. Please click on these respective program links to review the faculty in each field.
We pride ourselves on the level of mentorship we provide for our graduate students. Faculty members are always willing to make appointments to meet with current graduate students and many of our advanced doctoral students have offices in the department to further collegial and professional interactions.
Definitely. Students with graduate assistantships often work as research assistants for various faculty members. Additionally, many of our graduate students have worked with our faculty as co-authors. See details about articles recently published.
- Our M.A. graduates have found jobs in government or with non-profit organizations and NGOs as well as in the private sector. Recent M.A. graduates are now at the World Affairs Council, CARE and pursuing doctoral degrees.
- Our Ph.D. students have received both academic placements at top universities and colleges across the country as well as non-academic jobs. A full listing of our recent M.A. and Ph.D. placements is available.
Graduate School Logistics
In making your plans to enroll, the following estimated costs and fees will help you determine your potential financial plans. In addition, you can use the Georgia State Cost Calculator, to get an early estimate of the cost of attendance.
Information about graduate tuition is available on the Student Financial Services site.
Yes. We have one of the few nationally-ranked Ph.D. programs in the country that allows students to attend part-time. In order to aid those attending part-time, we offer the majority of our graduate seminars in the afternoons or evenings.
Most graduate courses are offered on campus although some A. level courses are available online.
We generally offer a special topics methods course in the summer, a course to prepare doctoral students for teaching at the university level, as well as 1-2 substantive courses. Students also may work with faculty individually on a directed reading, or complete an internship.
The expectation is that post-M.A. students will complete the Ph.D. degree in 4-5 years, while Direct-Admit students will complete the Ph.D. degree in 5-6 years.
D. students have the option of either showing mastery of a foreign language or acquiring advanced research methods skills. Students whose major field is Comparative Politics must complete the foreign language requirement.
We generally do not accept transfer credits. However, students who have completed an M.A. in political science at another institution are eligible to apply for the post-M.A. Ph.D. program.
Admission Requirements and Process
- Ph.D. applications for Fall: April 15, Priority deadline for assistantships: January 15, Spring: Does not admit, Summer: Does not admit.
- The deadline for M.A. applications for Fall: Rolling Admissions. Final Deadline is July 1. Spring: Does Not Normally Admit, Summer: Does Not Normally Admit, Contact Program Director to See if Exceptions are Available.
- Politics, Philosophy, Economics, M.I.S. applications for Fall: June 15, Spring: November 1.
- We generally do not accept students who have undergraduate GPAs below a 3.0 or graduate GPAs below a 3.3.
- Our target scores for the GRE are a 300 combined for M.A. applicants and 310 combined for Ph.D. applicants and at least a 4.5 on the Analytical section.
The only exception is if the country is an English-speaking one, such as the U.K. or Ireland.
Scores expire after five years. You will need to retake the exam if your scores are over five years old.
Yes, all applicants must submit a writing sample. The writing sample should be between 20-40 pages and should be an example of academic writing, such as a paper you have done for a course or a thesis paper.
The statement of purpose should lay out your proposed research agenda and areas of interest for study and research. Please provide a concise statement of your research interests and how Georgia Stat's Department of Political Science will help you meet your career and educational goals. Be as specific as possible. Applicants also should speak to how their research interests align with those of the faculty in the department.
Given that we are a research-oriented department, recommendation letters that speak to your academic abilities and research and writing skills are best.
You can upload unofficial transcripts directly to the application. Students who are offered admission will be required to send official transcripts from every post-secondary institution to the Office of Graduate Services.
We look for the best applicants, regardless of area of specialization.
We currently have graduate students who received undergraduate degrees in Sociology, History, Psychology and Economics, to name a few.
The graduate admissions committee reviews each and every application. All of the parts of the application will be read, and we base our decisions on the strength of the totality of the application. Successful applicants are those who demonstrate that they are likely to successfully complete the chosen degree program.
We try our best to inform applicants of our decision approximately 2-4 weeks after the application deadline has passed. Decisions may be delayed if application materials, such as transcripts, are not received in a timely manner.
We have many students who have taken a break from their academic careers before pursuing an M.A. or Ph.D.
We only allow students to begin in the fall, except for the online M.A. for Social Science Educators that has admissions in the spring.
We generally admit between 10-15 students to the M.A. program and 20-30 students to the Ph.D. program.
If you believe you will need any amount of financial assistance to attend Georgia State, we strongly encourage you to apply for financial aid immediately.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) now is available at studentaid.gov/. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to determine your eligibility for grants, loans and for most federal and state programs.
For more information visit the Student Financial Services site.
A student’s “need” for financial aid is calculated by subtracting the EFC (estimated family contribution) from the college’s total cost of attendance — including room, board, books, travel and miscellaneous expenses. The financial aid office will determine how much financial aid you are eligible to receive.
The Political Science Department offers a limited number of graduate teaching and research assistantships. Assistantships provide stipends, healthcare coverage and tuition waivers for up to 20 hours of service each week as a graduate researcher or teaching assistant.
International students are eligible for department assistantships. Federal financial aid is not available for international students. However, limited scholarship opportunities are available to accepted international students. Additional information can be found on the Student Financial Services site.
Department of Political Science
Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 5:15 p.m.
M.A. Program Director
Office / Delivery Address
Georgia State University
Department of Political Science
38 Peachtree Center Ave SE, Room 1023
Atlanta, GA 30303
USPS Mailing Address
Georgia State University
Department of Political Science
P.O. Box 3965
Atlanta, GA 30302