Graduate Degree Requirements

The political science department offers a master of arts (MA) degree in political science with an emphasis on building academic and practical skills in key areas of the discipline. Research and teaching in the department center on the major fields of American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory and public policy. However, the department also offers more specialized training in human rights, legal studies, gender politics, race and ethnic politics, European studies, indigenous politics, and urban politics. Students pursuing the MA have the option of completing the traditional track or an alternative track centered on the study of politics, public policy, and leadership.

Our alumni have gone on to Ph.D. programs across the country and work in a variety of positions including state and local elected offices, government service, directors of community-based organizations and non-governmental organizations, legislative analysts, UN affiliates, lobbyists, teachers, media analysts and political consultants.

There are two plans students may pursue to fulfill their MA degree requirements in the Political Science Department.

Examine the two plans below to decide which is better for you. With either plan, you must complete a minimum of 16 credit hours with the Political Science Department at University of Colorado Denver, and maintain a B (3.0) overall GPA or better. 

The Project Plan (Plan 2) is available not only on the Downtown Campus but also through the Center for New Directions

Required Courses Plan 1: Thesis Plan 2: Project
Seminar Hours:
PSCI 5000, The State of the Discipline, and PSCI 5468, Research Methods
Plus, one graduate seminar in each of the following areas:


  • American politics
  • Comparative politics or international relations
  • Political theory
15 15
PSCI 5950, Thesis (Plan 1) or PSCI 5960, Project (Plan 2) 6 3
Elective Credits: see below for description of allotments 12 15
Total Credit Hours 33 33

Elective Credits for Both Plans

Students can take an unlimited number of political science graduate seminars to fulfill their elective credits or take some combination of seminars and the following:

  • Maximum independent study credit hours allowed: six.
  • Maximum credit hours from courses in other departments allowed: six.
  • Maximum credit hours from internship/cooperative education in political science allowed: three.

Credit hours from independent study, courses in other departments and internships may not exceed nine.

Non-Degree and Transfer Credit Hours to be Applied Toward MA (both plans)

Maximum non-degree credit hours allowed: nine.

Maximum transfer credits allowed: nine.

Non-degree and transfer credit hours may not exceed nine.