Chairperson: Lowell W. Barrington, Ph.D.
Department of Political Science website

Degree Offered

Master of Arts, students are admitted under Plan B (non-thesis option) but may request Plan A (thesis option)

Program Description

The Department of Political Science at Marquette University offers a master's program in international affairs, aimed at preparing students for international affairs-related doctoral study and careers in related fields. In addition, the department offers several dual degrees and accelerated degrees. The Political Science Department offers: an accelerated 5-year bachelor's and master's degree program in international affairs; a dual 4-year master of arts-juris doctor (M.A.-J.D.) program in international affairs in conjunction with the Law School; and dual degree programs in conjunction with the communication and the business administration graduate programs. Furthermore, Law School graduates can pursue an accelerated master of arts degree through awards of transfer credit for work completed as part of the juris doctor degree.

Prerequisites for Admission

An applicant to the master's program in international affairs should have graduated with, or be about to graduate with, a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in an undergraduate program sufficient in quality and scope to prepare the individual for specialized work in international affairs.

Application Deadline

No official deadline exists for the international affairs master's program. However, applications submitted after the Graduate School's official financial aid deadlines will be considered only as space permits, even if the applicant is not requesting financial aid. The deadlines for financial aid consideration are Feb. 15 for the following fall term and Nov. 15 for the following spring term.

Application Requirements

Applicants must submit, directly to the Graduate School:

  1. A completed application form and fee online.
  2. Official transcripts from all current and previous colleges/universities except Marquette.
  3. Three letters of recommendation.
  4. GRE scores (General Test only). Not required for accelerated B.A.-M.A. degree program applicants; M.A.-J.D. applicants may substitute LSAT scores for GRE scores; M.A.-M.B.A. applicants may substitute GMAT scores for GRE scores.
  5. A statement of purpose.
  6. (For international applicants only) an overall minimum TOEFL score of 100 or other acceptable proof of English proficiency.

Dual Programs of Study

M.A.-J.D. Degree

The Department of Political Science, in conjunction with the Law School, offers a program of dual study leading to a master of arts degree in international affairs and a juris doctor degree.

Students seeking admission to the dual program must apply to both the Graduate School and the Law School and must meet the admission requirements for each, but their application to the Graduate School may include LSAT scores in lieu of GRE scores. Students start this dual program as a law student. Upon completion of the law program, students will be officially admitted to the international affairs program for completion of the remainder of the dual program.

Dual program students complete 81 credit hours in the Law School, 21 credit hours in political science, and 9 credit hours in dual program courses. In addition, applicants for the international affairs master of arts program who already hold a J.D. degree may request that a maximum of 9 credits from their previous law studies be counted toward the fulfillment of their master of arts degree requirements.

In general, dual program students will pay tuition at the full-time (flat tuition) Law School rate while a full-time law student, regardless of whether or not they are taking additional graduate courses. Upon receiving the juris doctor degree, dual program students will pay Graduate School tuition at the per credit rate for graduate courses. Part-time law students will pay the per credit Law School rate for all courses.

Additional details about the M.A.-J.D. program are available from the Political Science Department office or from the Law School Admissions office.

M.A.-M.B.A. Degree

The Department of Political Science, in conjunction with the Graduate School of Management, offers a program of dual study leading to a master of arts degree in international affairs and a master of business administration degree. The program is designed for students whose interests overlap business and international affairs. Dual degree students are able to complete both degree programs in less time than if both degrees were pursued separately.

Students seeking admission into the dual degree program must submit separate applications for admission to both the Graduate School and the Graduate School of Management, and must meet the admission requirements of each program. However, applicants may submit GMAT scores in lieu of GRE scores. Acceptance into one program does not guarantee acceptance into the other. If a student is accepted into one program and not the other, the student can still choose to accept the admission offer from the first program but would not be considered a dual degree student. Because students are officially admitted into only one Marquette University graduate program at a time, applicants must indicate which program they intend to pursue and complete first, although once accepted for admission to both programs, students may take courses from both schools. Upon completion of the first program, the student will be officially admitted to the second program for completion of the remainder of the dual program.

Dual degree students count 9 credits of course work in each program toward the required course work credits of the other program. Thus, 9 of the 40 credits required for the master of business administration degree beyond foundations, if required, will come from POSC courses, and 9 of the 30 credits required for the master of arts degree in international affairs will come from GSM courses.

M.A.-M.A. Degree

The Department of Political Science, in conjunction with the J. William and Mary Diederich College of Communication, offers a program of dual study leading to a master of arts degree in international affairs and a master of arts degree in communication. Dual degree students are able to complete both degree programs in less time than if both degrees were pursued separately.

Students seeking admission into the dual degree program must submit separate applications for admission to both programs to the Graduate School, and must meet the admission requirements of each program. Acceptance into one program does not guarantee acceptance into the other. If a student is accepted into one program and not the other, the student can still choose to accept the admission offer from the first program but would not be considered a dual degree student. Because students are officially admitted into only one Marquette University graduate program at a time, applicants must indicate which program they intend to pursue and complete first, although once accepted for admission to both programs, students may take courses from both departments. Upon completion of the first program, the student will be officially admitted to the second program for completion of the remainder of the dual program.

Dual degree students count 9 credits of course work in each program toward the required course work credits of the other program. Thus, 9 of the 36 credits required for the master of arts degree in communication will come from POSC courses, and 9 of the 30 credits required for the master of arts degree in international affairs will come from COMM courses.

International Affairs Master's Requirements

A student in international affairs is admitted to a non-thesis program (Plan B) which requires 30 credit hours of course and seminar work. The Plan B student must pass written and oral comprehensive examinations to complete the program.

Students are presumed to be in Plan B unless a formal request to transfer to a thesis program (Plan A) is approved by the department chairperson and the Graduate School. Plan A requires 24 credit hours of course and seminar work and six credit hours of thesis work. The Plan A student must pass written and oral comprehensive examinations and submit an approved thesis to complete the program.

At least 18 credits of the 30 credit hour requirement for Plan B students (15 credits of the 24 credit hour requirement for Plan A students) must be fulfilled in strictly graduate level course work (courses numbered 6000 or above). Up to 12 credit hours of 5000-level courses may be approved for graduate credit for Plan B students (9 credit hours for Plan A students). With the approval of the department chairperson, a student may receive up to 9 credit hours toward the master of arts degree in cognate courses taken outside the department. Cognate fields for the international affairs program include other areas of political science.

Core Seminars

Students in the international affairs program must complete:

POSC 6101Contemporary Political Research3
POSC 6401Comparative Politics3
POSC 6601International Politics3
One course in comparative and international politics3
Total Credit Hours12

Research Papers

Students must complete at least two conference-quality research papers. These papers must deal with significant questions and demonstrate rigorous analytical and, as appropriate, methodological skills. The instructors in whose courses the papers are written must certify that the student has fulfilled this requirement. Specific details and certification forms are available from the department office.

Comprehensive Examinations

A candidate for the master of arts degree in international affairs must pass written and oral comprehensive examinations in the fields of comparative politics and international politics. The examinations normally are taken after the student has completed 24 credit hours of course work.

The written examination is based on comprehensive reading lists for each subfield, the student's course work, and sample questions provided in advance. The oral examination supplements the written examination and is based on the comprehensive reading lists and the student's course work. The examining committee is normally composed of three faculty members chosen by the department assistant chairperson in consultation with the student and his or her adviser. Details on the examinations, the reading lists and the sample questions are available from the department office.

Accelerated Bachelor's-Master's Degree Program

The bachelor's-master's program allows Marquette University students to earn both a bachelor of arts degree with a major in international affairs and a master of arts degree in international affairs in five years.

Students will complete 9-12 hours of graduate credit in political science or international affairs during their senior undergraduate year. These graduate courses double-count toward the undergraduate and graduate degrees. Should a student be denied admission to the master's program of choice (political science or international affairs), the courses will be counted toward the undergraduate degree. Upon completion of the first term as a master's candidate, the student must petition the Graduate School to transfer the courses taken as an undergraduate to the master's degree. All remaining master's degree requirements may be completed during the subsequent summer, fall and spring terms.

Candidates for admission should have undergraduate junior status, have completed at least 3 upper division political science courses and should have a political science GPA of at least 3.500. Candidates for admission should submit transcripts and three letters of recommendation, but need not submit GRE scores. Candidates for admission to this program should notify the assistant chair of their intentions.