Graduate Studies

Political Science (MA)

Application Deadlines

  • Fall: May-1 (April-1 for international applicants)
  • Spring: November-1 (October-1 for international applicants)

Two letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose.

Program Coordinator
Nicole Sherman

Sophie Williams

Is the MA in Political Science for you?

Do any of the following describe you?

  • Interested in government, politics, or the public sector.
  • Have a passion for current or international affairs as well as historical information.
  • Want to influence or develop public policy.
  • Excel at applying research and data to decision making.

Students in Cookies and Conversations as they engage in a day of presentations and debates that stresses active listening, respectful exchange, and collaborative civic learning through civil discourse during the Great Debate

Do these jobs sound interesting to you?

Our alumni are:

  • College/university instructors
  • Pursuing law degrees or PhDs
  • Nonprofit directors

Other possibilities are:

  • Political analyst
  • Campaign consultant
  • Lobbyist
  • Legislative assistant/campaign staff
  • Elected official

Embedded in the first-year Political Science course on American Government, the bi-annual CSU, Chico Town Hall Meeting provides students with a public arena for discussing current policy issues with other students, faculty, administrators, and community members on November

Is this the kind of salary you are seeking?

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics(opens in new window), shows the following outlook for Political Scientists:

Median Pay
$122,510 per year
$58.90 per hour

Job Outlook
6% (As fast as average)

Political scientists typically work full time in an office. They sometimes work additional hours to finish reports and meet deadlines.

Ashira Soloman and other students at the Pentagon, Washington DC

What if my bachelor’s isn’t in Political Science?

The typical feeder major for this master’s program are political science, sociology, criminal justice, and public administration. You can still pursue this degree if your undergraduate degree was in a different field. Occasionally, some prerequisites may be required to bring you up to speed. See your advisor for details. 

Students standing outside of the Capital Building in Sacramento, CA

How long will it take?

  • The MA in political science is a 30-unit program which can be completed in two years.
  • Working professionals who are part-time students typically take an extra semester or two. 

What is it like to be a Political Science master’s student?

Adrian Marquina studies law books in the Meriam Library

Immersed in foundational courses

  • Immersed in foundational courses in American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory, and political science methods, as well as a variety of elective courses.
  • Choice of culminating activity, either delving into specific area of interest to write a thesis or taking a comprehensive exam testing for a broad understanding of concepts and theories.

Faculty and students of the Political Science program

Work with outstanding faculty

  • Work closely with outstanding faculty dedicated to graduate education and committed to student success while in the program and beyond.

Students waiting to vote

Encouraged to integrate applied experiences

  • Encouraged to integrate applied experiences, such as teaching and internships into the program of study.

Here's What Our Students are Doing

Ginger Alonso

Ginger Alonso

Alumna Ginger Alonso’s thesis examined the impact of medical schools on physician access in the United States. While at Chico State she was selected for the CSU Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program (CDIP), which “prepares promising doctoral students for CSU faculty positions by providing financial support, mentorship by CSU faculty, and professional development and grant resources.” She is now pursuing a PhD at UC Davis with plans to focus on American politics.

Georgia Nilsson

Georgia Nilsson

Political Science master’s graduate Georgia Nilsson has moved on to a PhD program at Vanderbilt University where she is studying how the electoral experience of women, and the consequences of descriptive representation, differ across level and type of elective office. She is particularly interested in understanding the ways in which female executives have a systematically different experience, both as candidates and officeholders.

Slande Erole

Slande Erole

While in the Political Science master’s program at Chico State, alumna Slande Erole’s experience as a teaching assistant working with first year students helped her make the decision to pursue a PhD. She is currently a PhD candidate in the political science program at UC Davis and, in addition to studying the legislative effectiveness of minority women, she serves as graduate student assistant to the dean of graduate studies and the chancellor.