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MA program details

Choosing your courses

You must complete 4 one-semester courses. Students typically take 2 courses per semester. You can only change this schedule in special cases.

Our seminars cover political science and the department's specialized fields. In general, people expect political scientists to be familiar with more than one field. To complete your degree, you need to study 2 out of the 4 main areas of political science: international relations, Canadian politics, comparative politics and political theory.

For your third course, you can take another political science seminar. It can be in a different field or focus on a specific topic.

You can choose from different courses for your fourth course: a political science graduate seminar, a graduate seminar in another department, a senior undergraduate course in a relevant field or a directed readings course (POLI 590).

Directed readings courses are courses related to a topic the professor has expertise in. They must be a member of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. The best idea is to do directed readings closely related to your thesis topic. If your supervisor is not teaching a graduate course, they may be prepared to offer one.

Some professors teach graduate seminars in political science as part of interdisciplinary programs, such as Contemporary Social and Political Thought (CSPT) or Indigenous Nationhood (IN). If you take one of these courses, you can ask the advisor to count it as a political science seminar.

Graduate students can take many of our senior undergraduate seminars. These seminars are numbered at 400 or above. Graduate students might find some seminars on specific topics interesting. Some seminars can be upgraded to the graduate level.

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

Cross-listed courses

Our graduate courses are cross-listed with other courses in political science or similar subjects. 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.

The issues courses and the methods course have a similar arrangement. However, graduate students in other programs may take these courses under a different name.

The remaining issues courses are all cross-listed with 400-level undergraduate seminars. Graduate students in the 500-level course have extra readings and harder assignments than undergraduates.

Program approval

You will meet with the graduate advisor in September to discuss your course selection. Please ask the graduate secretary to print a copy of your Curriculum, Advising and Program Planning (CAPP) report to bring with you.

Your program can be changed at any time with the advisor’s permission. They will check that your program conforms to all basic requirements.


Once you become a graduate student, you must be registered year-round. If you're not taking any other courses in a 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, you may temporarily withdraw from the program for up to 3 terms (4 months each). Once you have exhausted this privilege, you must maintain your registration and pay fees.

You must pay 3 terms of fees in order to graduate, no matter how quickly you complete. You only need to pay additional fees if you take additional time to complete.

Speak to the graduate advisor or graduate secretary if you have questions.