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Political Science

Political Science

Location

  • Department of Political Science
  • Stephen Leacock Building, Room 414
  • 855 Sherbrooke Street West
  • Montreal QC H3A 2T7
  • Canada

About Political Science

The Department offers programs leading to the M.A. (with or without thesis) and Ph.D. degrees. These programs combine depth of specialization in a particular field with breadth of knowledge in related fields. The staff offers courses and supervises research on most of the important areas of political science. Students may specialize in any of the following: Canadian Government and Politics, Comparative Politics, Political Theory, or International Relations.

M.A. graduates gain the scholarly preparation required to proceed to the Ph.D. program at McGill or elsewhere. Alternatively, the M.A. degree prepares graduates for teaching at the college level, for advanced study in other disciplines, or for rewarding jobs in government and in the private sector. Students in the M.A. program may choose either the Research Essay option or the Thesis option. Both options are generally recognized as among the most demanding and rewarding in Canada.

Besides its traditional M.A. program, the Department also offers M.A. options in Social Statistics, Development Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, and European Studies. Interested students must apply and be accepted to both the political science M.A. program and to the option program.

Graduate students can benefit from expertise and advanced scholarship in such diverse research areas as Electoral Studies, Comparative Federalism, Constitutional Theory and Practice, International Peace and Security Studies, International Development, Nations and Nationalism, Health and Social Policy, and Identity Politics. For a full list of our affiliated research centres and institutes, please consult our website: www.mcgill.ca/politicalscience/centres.

Changes may take place after this content is published. Students are advised to contact the Department Office for supplementary information, which may be important to their choice of program.

Master's Programs

Students may select a program with the Thesis or the Non-Thesis (Research Project) option in completing M.A. degree requirements. They may switch from one option to the other while completing their coursework.

Master of Arts (M.A.); Political Science (Thesis) (45 credits)
The M.A. program is generally recognized as among the most demanding and rewarding in Canada. A main purpose of the M.A. degree is to demonstrate an ability to design and execute with competence a major piece of research, comparable to a full‐length article in a scholarly journal. The length will vary with the nature of the topic. A thesis that contains considerable data analysis might be well developed in 50 pages, while an institutional or historical study would generally be longer.
Master of Arts (M.A.); Political Science (Thesis) — Development Studies (45 credits)
The Development Studies Option (DSO) is a cross‐disciplinary M.A. program offered within existing M.A. programs in the Departments of Geography, History, Political Science, Anthropology, Economics, and Sociology. This thesis option is open to master's students specializing in development studies. Students enter through one of the participating departments and must meet the M.A. requirements of that unit. Students take an interdisciplinary seminar (INTD 657 Development Studies Seminar) that will be co‐taught by professors from two different disciplines and a variety of graduate-level courses on international development issues. The M.A. thesis must be on a topic relating to development studies, approved by the DSO Coordinating Committee. Students interested in development will benefit from the expertise provided by the Institute for the Study of International Development. For more information on the Institute, see www.mcgill.ca/isid/teaching-programs/graduate/option.
Master of Arts (M.A.); Political Science (Thesis) — European Studies (45 credits)
The European Studies Option (ESO) is an option offered within existing M.A. programs in the Departments of Political Science, History, and Sociology, as well as in the Faculty of Law. This option is open to students whose work is focused on Europe, in particular on issues relating to European integration, broadly understood. Students will take an interdisciplinary capstone seminar and two other courses on European themes and issues as part of their M.A. program. Students enter through one of the participating departments and must meet the requirements of that unit. The M.A. thesis must be on a topic relating to European Studies, approved by the ESO coordinating committee. Knowledge of French, while not a prerequisite, is an important asset for admission and will be encouraged as part of the program, as will knowledge of a third European language.
Master of Arts (M.A.); Political Science (Non-Thesis) (45 credits)
The M.A. program is generally recognized as among the most demanding and rewarding in Canada. Students in the non-thesis program will submit a research essay. The research essay will normally be based on a paper written for a graduate seminar or an independent reading course. The research essay requirement also applies to each of the non-thesis options listed below.
Master of Arts (M.A.); Political Science (Non-Thesis) — Development Studies (45 credits)
The Development Studies Option (DSO) is a cross‐disciplinary M.A. program offered within existing M.A. programs in the Departments of Geography, History, Political Science, Anthropology, Economics, and Sociology. Students enter through one of the participating departments and must meet the M.A. requirements of that unit. Students take an interdisciplinary seminar that will be co‐taught by professors from two different disciplines (INTD 657 Development Studies Seminar) and a variety of graduate-level courses on international development issues. Students interested in development will benefit from the expertise provided by the Institute for the Study of International Development. For more information on the Institute, see www.mcgill.ca/isid/teaching-programs/graduate/option.
Master of Arts (M.A.); Political Science (Non-Thesis) — European Studies (45 credits)
The European Studies Option (ESO) is an option offered within existing M.A. programs in the Departments of Political Science, History, and Sociology, as well as in the Faculty of Law. This option is open to students whose work is focused on Europe, in particular on issues relating to European integration, broadly understood. Students enter through one of the participating departments and must meet the requirements of that unit. Students will take an interdisciplinary capstone seminar and two other courses on European themes and issues as part of their M.A. program. Knowledge of French, while not a prerequisite, is an important asset for admission and will be encouraged as part of the program, as will knowledge of a third European language.
Master of Arts (M.A.); Political Science (Non-Thesis) — Gender and Women's Studies (45 credits)
The Gender and Women’s Studies Option offers McGill graduate students who meet the degree requirements in a participating unit and who wish to earn 6 credits of approved coursework, a cross‐disciplinary specialization in feminist, and gender and/or women’s studies, deploying a wide array of disciplinary methodologies and modes of inquiry. The student's research paper must be on a topic centrally focused on gender and/or women's studies. See www.mcgill.ca/igsf/programs/gws.
Master of Arts (M.A.); Political Science (Non-Thesis) — Social Statistics (45 credits)
The Social Statistics Option complements disciplinary training with research experience applying statistical methods to Statistics Canada data or equivalent. Students complete course requirements, supplemented by further statistical courses, as advised by the Option Adviser, and subject to approval by the Department, and a statistics‐based M.A. research paper in conjunction with an interdisciplinary capstone seminar. See www.mcgill.ca/socialstatistics. Entrance to this option is by application to the Social Statistics Option Committee subsequent to acceptance into the Departmental program. A research paper is required to demonstrate proficiency in research. It is normally about 50 pages in length and involves revision of a paper written for one of the graduate courses completed in the program. The research paper is evaluated by two faculty members in the Department.

Ph.D. Programs

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.); Political Science
The doctoral program is designed to give students the necessary foundation for making original contributions to knowledge. Graduate courses provide students with analytical and theoretical tools used in particular subfields. This general training includes specialized training in research methods. Recent graduates of our doctoral program are pursuing diverse employment opportunities. See: www.mcgill.ca/politicalscience/grad/recentplacements.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.); Political Science — Gender and Women's Studies
The graduate option in Gender and Women's Studies is an interdisciplinary program for students who meet the degree requirements in Political Science and who wish to earn 6 credits of approved coursework focusing on gender and women's studies, and issues in feminist research and methods. This option is a cross-disciplinary specialization run by the McGill Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies (see www.mcgill.ca/igsf). The student's doctoral thesis must be on a topic centrally related to gender and/or women's studies. For more information on the option, see: www.mcgill.ca/igsf/programs/gws.
Taken from Programs, Courses and University Regulations 2014-2015 (last updated Jul. 30, 2014).

Political Science Admission Requirements and Application Procedures

Admission Requirements

The graduate Admissions Committee only considers applications from those who already have an undergraduate academic degree in political science or a closely related field (e.g., international studies, sociology, philosophy for prospective political theorists, etc.). Those without this required background occasionally enrol as Special Students in the undergraduate program and take upper-level undergraduate courses in order to build the academic record necessary to apply to the graduate program.

Master's

Students holding a B.A. degree may be eligible for admission to the M.A. program. Preparation equivalent to a McGill Honours program in Political Science is desirable.

Ph.D.

Students holding a master’s degree in political science may be eligible for admission to the Ph.D. program. In some instances, outstanding students with a B.A. in Political Science may be admitted directly into the Ph.D. program without having completed an M.A. degree. They will be considered Ph.D. 1 and some previous political science coursework could be applied to the requirements of the program, provided that it did not count toward any other degree.

Reference Letters

All applicants, including those who have done their undergraduate work at McGill, must submit two letters of reference. It is recommended that you contact your referees at least a month in advance of the deadline. Applications that do not have references by January 15 will not be considered.

GRE and TOEFL Exams

GRE results are required for applications to the doctoral program. Use codes McGill 0935 – Political Science 1999. The test should be written well in advance of the application deadline. See www.ets.org/gre for more information on registering for the test. GRE results are not required for students applying to the master's program.

Applicants to graduate studies whose mother tongue is not English, and who have not completed an undergraduate or graduate degree from a recognized foreign institution where English is the language of instruction or from a recognized Canadian/American institution (anglophone or francophone), must submit TOEFL scores. A minimum score of 600 on the paper-based test (or 100 on the Internet-based test, with each component score not less than 20) is required for admission. Please use the codes McGill 0935 – Political Science 89 when writing the TOEFL exam. See www.ets.org/toefl for more information on registering for the test. The IELTS (International English Language Testing Systems) with a minimum overall band of 6.5 is also acceptable. Files will not be considered unless TOEFL/IELTS scores are received before the application deadline (January 15 for admission in the Fall).

For more information, consult the following websites: www.ets.org/gre and www.ets.org/toefl.

Application Procedures

McGill’s online application form for graduate program candidates is available at www.mcgill.ca/gradapplicants/apply.

See Application Procedures for detailed application procedures.

Additional Requirements

The items and clarifications below are additional requirements set by this department:
  • Personal Statement – one page
  • Writing Sample – Ph.D. only
  • GRE – required for applications to the Ph.D.

Application Deadlines

The application deadlines listed here are set by the Political Science Department and may be revised at any time. Applicants must verify all deadlines and documentation requirements well in advance on the appropriate McGill departmental website; please consult the list at www.mcgill.ca/gps/contact/graduate-program.

Canadian International Special/Exchange/Visiting
Fall: Jan. 15 Fall: Jan. 15 Fall: Jan. 15
Winter: N/A Winter: N/A Winter: N/A
Summer: N/A Summer: N/A Summer: N/A

Admission to graduate studies is competitive; accordingly, late and/or incomplete applications are considered only as time and space permit.

Completed applications (including all supporting documentation listed above) for all graduate programs in Political Science must be received by January 15. For detailed information, please see the Graduate Applicant Checklist at: www.mcgill.ca/politicalscience/grad/gradformsdocs.

Taken from Programs, Courses and University Regulations 2014-2015 (last updated Jul. 22, 2014).

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