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Welcome to the Political Science Graduate Program website, which is designed to provide information about the program for UMSL students as well as prospective students interested in our graduate program. The Political Science Department considers graduate training to be one of its primary objectives.


The graduate program in Political Science at UMSL consists of two separate programs: The Master (M.A.) of Political Science, and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Political Science. The M.A. program in political science offers advanced education for those seeking careers in government, business, secondary education, community organizations, or not-for-profit agencies. The principal foci of the 33-hour program are public administration and public policy analysis/evaluation in the local, state, national, and international areas. The flexibility of the general master's degree allows for individualized programs in urban politics, pre-legal education, American national government, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory.

The doctoral program emphasizes theoretical, analytic, and substantive approaches to public policy analysis and administration. Students are provided an opportunity to link core skills in policy analysis and political science with specific policy areas. The program is designed to prepare pre-career and mid-career students for advanced positions in policy research and administration, as well as for academic research and teaching.

Graduate Three Year Course Schedule

Political Science graduate students are encouraged to take advantage of UMSL intellectual and interdisciplinary richness. The campus has a number of interdisciplinary research institutes and centers. For political science students, the most important ones include The Community Innovation and Action Center (CIAC) and UMSL Global.

Several Political Science faculty members have joint appointments in the Master of Public Policy Administration (MPPA) program. The MPPA is designed to prepare students for managerial and policy analysis positions in the public and nonprofit sectors or in organizations having substantial interaction with the public and nonprofit sectors.

Admission and financial aid decisions are made on the basis of past academic record, intellectual ability, and career commitment and performance. Applications are accepted from students who have either baccalaureate or masters degrees. Past graduate work will be credited toward degree requirements as appropriate. Applicants must submit (a) complete academic transcripts, (b) three letters of recommendation for the PhD program (2 letters for MA applicants), (c) the GRE General Test score, and (d) a statement of purpose for the course of study. The statement of purpose should explain why the applicant wants to pursue a graduate degree in Political Science.

The Political Science Graduate Committee, consisting of the Department Chair, the Director of Graduate Studies, and several faculty members, is charged with the administration of the graduate program in Political Science. The graduate program in Political Science is governed by the policies and procedures of the Graduate School at UMSL.

The Director of Graduate Studies, Todd Swanstrom, serves as the primary adviser to all students entering the M.A. and Ph.D. Programs. The Director of Graduate Studies keeps records on individual progress in the program and advises students in meeting the formal requirements for degree progress in the Graduate School. The Director is available to respond to questions regarding program requirements and activities, please email or call 314-516-5259.