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 of local public service agency or engage in nonprofit work may wish to pursue the Community Fellows program, where a student will work for a 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 are 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.

Contact Us

For more information about the graduate program in Political Science, please contact Interim Director of Graduate Studies, Professor Holona Ochs ( or 610-758-6508.