MA program

The Department of Political Science MA program has two streams. Both are designed to be completed in 1 year.

For details about requirements for either stream, please refer to the UVic Academic Calendar.

Planning your program

Choosing your courses

Students are required to complete 4 one-semester courses. Usually students take 2 courses each semester and will only be allowed to deviate from this schedule under special circumstances.

Our seminars are connected to the main fields within Political Science as well as some of the fields in which this particular department specializes. Generally, political scientists are expected to be familiar with more than one field. Therefore, you are required to take courses in at least two of the four main political science subfields: International Relations, Canadian, Comparative and Theory.

You must take one other Political Science seminar, either in a third field or on a specialized topic. For your fourth course, you may take another Political Science graduate seminar, a graduate seminar in another department, a senior undergraduate course in a relevant field, or a Directed Readings (POLI 590) course with a regular faculty member in Political Science.

Directed Readings courses are courses related to a topic on which the professor has particular expertise. The Directed Readings must be offered by a member of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. If you wish to do Directed Readings with a faculty member, you will have to be flexible about the timing, format, and exact nature of the readings. The best idea is to do Directed Readings closely related to your thesis topic. If you supervisor is not teaching a graduate course he/she may be prepared to offer such a course, but be sure to consult with the person concerned well in advance.

Some political science professors teach graduate seminars under the rubric of an interdisciplinary program, like Contemporary Social and Political Thought (CSPT) or Indigenous Nationhood (IN). If you take such a course, you can ask for permission to count it as a "Political Science" seminar. The Graduate Advisor will determine whether such permission is appropriate.

In addition to graduate seminars within and outside the department, and Directed Readings, many of our senior undergraduate seminars in Political Science (i.e., those numbered at 400 or above) can be taken by graduate students. Some of these seminars are on narrow topics that might be very interesting to graduate students and some of them can be 'upgraded' to graduate level. Some are cross-listed (e.g. Poli 433/533). You can find a list of these seminars on our website.

You should plan to spend the summer term completing your thesis. Register in POLI 599 to maintain your student status.

Cross-listed courses

You will notice that all of the graduate courses are cross-listed with other courses in Political Science or related disciplines. The field courses are exclusively for graduate students. Some of the students in a field course will be MA students, registered in the 500-level version of the course. Others will be PhD students, registered in the 600-level version. PhD students will have additional readings and more onerous assignments, but will participate in the same seminar discussions.

There is a similar arrangement for two of the issues courses as well as the methods course, but in these cases there wil be graduate students from outside Political Science who may be taking the course under another rubric.

The remaining issues courses are all cross-listed with 400-level undergraduate seminars. In these cases, the graduate students registered in the 500-level version of the course will have additional readings and more onerous assignments than the undergraduates.

Program approval

You will meet with the Graduate Advisor at the beginning to discuss your course selection. A 'walk-in' session will be set up for this purpose in September. Please ask the graduate secretary print a copy of your "CAPP report" and bring this with you.

Your program can be changed at any time with permission of the Graduate Advisor. The Advisor checks that your program conforms to the Department's and Faculty's basic requirements.


Once you become a graduate student, you have to be registered year round. If you're not taking any other courses in a particular term, you should register for POLI 599 (thesis). Since the thesis counts for 9 units, you can maintain "full-time" status as long as you are registered for this course.

If you run into difficulties, the Faculty allows you to "temporarily withdraw" from the program for up to three terms (4 months each). Once you have exhausted this privilege, you have to maintain your registration and pay fees.

You have to pay three terms of fees in order to graduate, no matter how quickly you complete. You only have to pay additional fees if you take additional time to complete.

Speak to the Graduate Advisor or Graduate Secretary if you have questions.

Opportunities for MA students in Political Science

Consider an interdisciplinary graduate program

The Department of Political Science participates in two interdisciplinary programs.

The Cultural, Social and Political Thought Program is offered in conjuction with the Departments of English, History, and Sociology. The program involves additional course work in the form of interdisciplinary CSPT seminars and typically takes 24 months to complete. There is a separate admissions process for CSPT and interested students should contact the Director of the CSPT Program,

The Certificate in Indigenous Nationhood examines the intersections of law, politics and governance and is designed to be completed in 1-2 years. Interested students should direct their inquiries to the Director of the IN Certificate Program,

Apply for British Columbia's Legislative Internship

The Department also collaborates in the administration of BC's Legislative Internship Program. Interns can receive a two-course (3 unit) credit for a research report related to their work. This program is open only to selected graduates of British Columbia universities.

More information is available on the Legislative Assembly website. The coordinator of the BC Legislative Internship Program is .

Gain work experience in the Co-op program

UVic is home to the largest co-op graduate programme in Canada and the Department of Political Science participates. If you are interested in combining co-op placements with your MA, please see the co-op for graduate students website for details.

Apply for a fellowship or internship through the Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives (CAPI)

Graduate students in political science working on issues related to countries in the Asia-Pacific region or Commonwealth (other than Canada) may be eligible to apply for a number of internships and fellowships offered by CAPI. Please see their website for details.