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The Master of Arts in Political Science

Course Requirements for the Master's Degree: 30 units

Continuous enrollment is required. A maximum of 6 semester units of transfer and/or CSU, Chico Open University course work may be applied toward the degree.

Graduate Time Limit:

All requirements for the degree are to be completed within five years of the end of the semester of enrollment in the oldest course applied toward the degree. See Master's Degree Requirements in the University Catalog for complete details on general degree requirements.

Prerequisites for Admission to Conditionally Classified Status:

1. Satisfactory grade point average as specified in Graduate and Postbaccalaureate Admission Requirements in the University Catalog.

2. Approval by the department and the Office of Graduate Studies.

3. An acceptable baccalaureate in Political or Social Science from an accredited institution, or an equivalent approved by the Office of Graduate Studies.

4. All new students enter as conditionally classified students. Conditionally classified students are required to make no grade lower than a B-, maintain an overall grade point average of 3.0, and finish all course work (no "Incomplete" or "Satisfactory Progress").

Prerequisites for Admission to Classified Status:

In addition to any requirements listed above:

1. Completion of a minimum of 9 units of graduate study as a conditionally classified student, including a graduate seminar.

2. Completion as an undergraduate or post-graduate of the prerequisite courses in Political Inquiry (POLS 331 or equivalent) and 3 units in Political Theory, as approved by the Graduate Coordinator.

3. Formation of a graduate advisory committee. This should be done as early as possible and in consultation with the Graduate Coordinator. For students who select the Thesis Plan, at least two of the three faculty members on the committee, including the chair, must be chosen from the Political Science Department. The Thesis Committee and the Graduate Coordinator are responsible for all guidance of the student through completion of the degree. For students who select the Comprehensive Exam Plan, the Graduate Coordinator organizes the graduate advisory committee and is responsible for guidance of the student through completion of the degree.

4. Development of an approved master's degree program plan. The Graduate Coordinator works with the student in the development of the student's master's degree program plan. The plan must be approved by the graduate advisory committee, the Graduate Coordinator, and the Office of Graduate Studies.

Advancement to Candidacy:

In addition to any requirements listed above:

1. Completion of at least 18 units of the student's master's degree program plan.

2. Graduate advisory committee approval of the student's thesis proposal or the two study fields in which examinations will be taken.

3. A minimum grade point average of 3.0.

Requirements for the MA Degree in Political Science:

Completion of all requirements as established by the department MA Committee, the Department of Political Science, the graduate advisory committee, and the Office of Graduate Studies, to include:

1. Completion of an approved program consisting of 30 units of 400/500/600-level courses as follows:

(a) At least 24 units in the discipline of political science.

(b) At least 18 units required for the degree in 600-level courses in political science or in a social science approved by the student's graduate advisory committee and the Graduate Coordinator.

(c) Not more than 6 semester units of transfer and/or extension credit (correspondence courses and U.C. extension course work are not acceptable).

(d) Not more than 3 units of internship course work and only if the student has a GPA of 3.2 or better and the student's graduate committee or the Graduate Coordinator agrees that the internship is a meaningful educational experience.

(e) Not more than 9 units of Independent Study (POLS 697) and Master's Thesis (POLS 699T); not more than 6 units of Master's Thesis (POLS 699T).

(f) Students specialize in two fields of study. Students are required to take American Politics as a mandatory field of study and then choose either International Relations and Comparative Politics or Public Policy and Public Affairs as their second field of study.

These are the field requirements:

I. American Politics Mandatory Field Foundations: 6 units

2 courses required:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Intensive reading and research on a topic related to this sub-field of political science. Written and oral presentation of research usually required. 3 hours seminar. (007687)
Rigorous investigation of methodological techniques, with intensive readings, papers, and oral presentations as appropriate. Applications of research methods to policy problems and to problems in Political Science will be stressed. 3 hours seminar. (007692)

Theory and Institutions: 6 units

2 courses selected from:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Intensive reading and research on topics related to this sub-field of political science. Written and oral presentation of research usually required. 3 hours seminar. (007685)
Rigorous investigation of theoretical techniques, with intensive readings, papers, and oral presentations as appropriate. Applications of theoretical issues to policy problems and to problems in Political Science will be stressed. 3 hours seminar. (007693)
Intensive reading and research on topics related to a scholarly examination of the American judiciary. Topics may include judicial appointments, theories of judicial decision making, judicial impact and social change, the relationship between courts and public opinion, and judicial politics in state courts. 3 hours seminar. (015550)
This course explores the office of the chief executive through several academic lenses. In addition to an analysis of the constitutional debates regarding this office, presidential power, the modern presidency, presidential war powers, presidential personality and character, presidential decision making, and presidential selection are all possible topics for exploration through reading and research. 3 hours seminar. (007711)
Intensive readings and research on topics related to Congress include the constitutional context and debates over the role of Congress, congressional elections, the nature of Congress as an institution, the behavior of its members, and the role Congress plays in shaping public policy. 3 hours seminar. (007712)

American Politics Elective Courses: 6 units

2 courses selected from:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Intensive reading and research on topics related to this sub-field of political science. Written and oral presentation of research usually required. 3 hours seminar. (007685)
This course will be a first-semester course that engages students in the theories, literature, and issues that are central in the study of public administration. The major objective is to familiarize the new graduate student with the broad field of public administration in preparation for the more direct focus offered by subsequent courses in the Master's in Public Administration degree program. 3 hours seminar. (007686)
Intensive readings and research on topics related to political parties, including the various theoretical approaches to the study of political parties in the United States, the history of parties, the contemporary nature and activities of U.S. parties, and the concept of partisanship. Parties in the U.S. are compared to those in other democracies as well. 3 hours seminar. (007688)
Intensive readings and research on topics related to the scholarly examination of public opinion in the United States. Topics include the relationship of public opinion to democratic theory, research methodology in public opinion, the major sociological and psychological theories of public opinion, perception and opinion formation, and the historical and contemporary content of public opinion in the United States. 3 hours seminar. (007689)
This course is a graduate-level seminar on interests and movements in the United States. The objective is to gain an advanced knowledge of the various theories and research findings in the literature dealing with political groups in American politics, especially protest groups, movements and mainstream interest groups. The course also examines the practical effect of these groups and movements, as measured by demonstrable political change. 3 hours seminar. (007690)
Intensive readings and research on topics related to the scholarly examination of U.S. campaigns and elections. Topics include the role of elections in a representative democracy, the history of campaigns and elections in the U.S., the role of parties and interest groups, the behavior of voters, and the activities and strategies of candidates for office, the financing of campaigns, and the role of the media. 3 hours seminar. (007691)
Rigorous investigation of theoretical techniques, with intensive readings, papers, and oral presentations as appropriate. Applications of theoretical issues to policy problems and to problems in Political Science will be stressed. 3 hours seminar. (007693)
Development and implementation of environmental policies by the various levels of government within the U.S. federal system, with a particular focus on the legal context of environmental policy making. 3 hours seminar. (007694)
Intensive reading and research on a topic related to American national government. Written and oral presentation of research usually required. 3 hours seminar. (007710)
This course explores the office of the chief executive through several academic lenses. In addition to an analysis of the constitutional debates regarding this office, presidential power, the modern presidency, presidential war powers, presidential personality and character, presidential decision making, and presidential selection are all possible topics for exploration through reading and research. 3 hours seminar. (007711)
Intensive readings and research on topics related to Congress include the constitutional context and debates over the role of Congress, congressional elections, the nature of Congress as an institution, the behavior of its members, and the role Congress plays in shaping public policy. 3 hours seminar. (007712)
Prerequisites: Faculty permission.
Internship and directed field work in selected public and quasi-public agencies. 3 hours supervision. Credit/no credit grading. (007715)
Prerequisites: Faculty permission.
This course is a graduate-level independent study offered for 1.0-6.0 units. You must register directly with a supervising faculty member. Open to all MA and MPA candidates. Adequate preparation as determined by the Department of Political Science. 9 hours supervision. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units. (007730)

Note: Only 3 units of POLS 689 or POLS 697 may count toward the 6 units of American Politics elective courses.

II. International Relations and Comparative Politics Required Courses: 3 units

1 course selected from:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Intensive reading and research on a topic related to this sub-field of political science. Written and oral presentation of research usually required. 3 hours seminar. (015552)
Intensive reading and research on a topic related to this sub-field of political science. Written and oral presentation of research usually required. 3 hours seminar. (015551)

Elective Courses: 6 units

2 courses selected from:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
This course is also offered as INST 446D .
3 hours lecture. (004873)
A multi-dimensional and cross-disciplinary study of the historical and contemporary phenomenon of terrorism and counterterrorist policy. Focus is on terrorism as different from war, the sources and practitioners of terrorism, and the multiple rationales for its use. Study will include both domestic and international terrorism, private and state as well as national and international counterterrorist policy. Particular attention on the threat of terrorism to liberal democracy and development of liberal democratic counterterrorist policy. Selection choice for the Option in Political Affairs. 3 hours lecture. (007575)
This course is a seminar on selected topics in international relations. 3 hours seminar. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units. (007576)
Study in political science related to specialized subjects of topical and current interest. Intensive reading. Topics may be offered in American Government, Comparative Government, Political Behavior, Political Theory, International Relations, Public Law, or Public Administration. 1 hour seminar. (007665)
Intensive reading and research on a topic related to this sub-field of political science. Written and oral presentation of research usually required. 3 hours seminar. (015552)
Intensive reading and research on a topic related to this sub-field of political science. Written and oral presentation of research usually required. 3 hours seminar. (015551)
Prerequisites: Faculty permission.
This course is a graduate-level independent study offered for 1.0-6.0 units. You must register directly with a supervising faculty member. Open to all MA and MPA candidates. Adequate preparation as determined by the Department of Political Science. 9 hours supervision. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units. (007730)

Note: Only 3 units of POLS 697 may count toward the 6 units of International Relations and Comparative Politics elective courses.

III. Public Policy and Public Affairs

6-9 units selected from:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Intensive reading and research on topics related to this sub-field of political science. Written and oral presentation of research usually required. 3 hours seminar. (007685)
This course will be a first-semester course that engages students in the theories, literature, and issues that are central in the study of public administration. The major objective is to familiarize the new graduate student with the broad field of public administration in preparation for the more direct focus offered by subsequent courses in the Master's in Public Administration degree program. 3 hours seminar. (007686)
Development and implementation of environmental policies by the various levels of government within the U.S. federal system, with a particular focus on the legal context of environmental policy making. 3 hours seminar. (007694)
This course will review, analyze, and test strategies of public management. Emphasis will be on areas of decision-making, planning, development, budgeting, and collective bargaining. Purpose is to familiarize students with the various approaches to public sector problem-solving and decision-making, primarily by using the case study format. 3 hours seminar. (007698)
A survey of the processes of recruiting and managing personnel in the public service. The philosophy of public personnel administration, organization for personnel administration, history, and evolution of the career system, comparative modern structures, and general processes of personnel. Both traditional and behavioral literature. 3 hours seminar. (007699)
Survey of budgeting problems, issues, and applications of theories, research, and approaches toward use of cost-benefit analysis in the public sector. Activities are focused on surveying the literature and researching public programs using Program Planning and Budgeting Systems and cost-benefit analysis. 3 hours seminar. (007700)
Conceptual examination of the theory and behavior of large and small bureaucracies. 3 hours seminar. (007702)
A graduate seminar which focuses on initiation, formulation, implementation, and evaluation of Health and Human Services policies. An exploration of policy development, policy analysis approaches, new policy directions. This course will focus on how to develop a policy issue paper, including how to identify values, develop alternatives, and make policy recommendations. Health and Human Services policy will be explored at the national, state, and local levels, including the public, private, non-profit, and profit-making sectors. Policy of other nations will be examined for their implications for American Health and Human Services policy. 3 hours seminar. (007703)
Intensive reading and research on a topic related to this sub-field of political science. Topics vary and may include an overview of various substantive policy areas or may focus on a specific policy area, such as energy, housing, education, criminal justice, etc. 3 hours seminar. (007708)
This course applies specific techniques for evaluating both program operations and the outcome of program activities. It applies the research methodologies and techniques employed for policy and program assessment including use of social indicators, quantitative and qualitative methods, and quasi-experimental designs used in applied policy and program research. Finally, students learn about writing grant proposals and managing contracts. 3 hours seminar. (007709)
Prerequisites: Faculty permission.
Internship and directed field work in selected public and quasi-public agencies. 3 hours supervision. Credit/no credit grading. (007715)

Note: Only 3 units of POLS 689 may count toward the 6-9 units of Public Policy and Public Affairs course requirements.

0-3 units selected from:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Intensive readings and research on topics related to the scholarly examination of public opinion in the United States. Topics include the relationship of public opinion to democratic theory, research methodology in public opinion, the major sociological and psychological theories of public opinion, perception and opinion formation, and the historical and contemporary content of public opinion in the United States. 3 hours seminar. (007689)
This course is a graduate-level seminar on interests and movements in the United States. The objective is to gain an advanced knowledge of the various theories and research findings in the literature dealing with political groups in American politics, especially protest groups, movements and mainstream interest groups. The course also examines the practical effect of these groups and movements, as measured by demonstrable political change. 3 hours seminar. (007690)
Intensive reading and research on a topic related to American national government. Written and oral presentation of research usually required. 3 hours seminar. (007710)
Intensive readings and research on topics related to Congress include the constitutional context and debates over the role of Congress, congressional elections, the nature of Congress as an institution, the behavior of its members, and the role Congress plays in shaping public policy. 3 hours seminar. (007712)

Students are encouraged to take additional courses in study fields in which they elect to be examined.

(g) For students who select the Thesis Plan, the final 3 units are fulfilled by taking 3 units of Master's Thesis (POLS 699T). For students who select the Comprehensive Exam Plan, the final 3 units are fulfilled by taking an elective course chosen from the approved courses in one of their two fields of study.

2. Completion and final approval of one of the following, as specified by the student's graduate advisory committee:

a. Thesis Plan

The candidate shall submit an acceptable thesis based upon research developed by the student and agreed to by the student's graduate advisory committee.

1) Thesis Proposal: A proposal (prospectus or detailed outline) of the thesis must be submitted to and approved by the graduate advisory committee before the student begins the thesis. The proposal includes at least a statement of the problem or hypothesis, a relevant review of the literature, the basic research methods to be employed, justification of the study's value, and estimated time of completion. The proposal is a formal document that must have appropriate attention given matters of format, documentation, and quality of writing.

2) Registration in POLS 699T, Master's Thesis: The student should register for POLS 699T no earlier than the second semester in the program and in accordance with his/her thesis plan. However, it is advisable that the student complete most of the program course work before registering for POLS 699T.

3) Approval of Thesis: The thesis shall be approved by all members of the graduate advisory committee.

4) Oral Defense: A required oral defense of the thesis shall be conducted by the candidate's graduate advisory committee. Interested faculty members may attend. The oral defense is generally limited to matters within the scope of the thesis. The candidate may repeat the defense one time if failed by the committee on the first attempt. The time and date of the defense must be noted in print and circulated to the Office of Graduate Studies at least one week prior to the date.

b. Comprehensive Examination Plan

1) Written Comprehensive Examinations: The candidate shall complete and pass written examinations in each of two study fields: American Politics and a second field chosen by the candidate (either International Relations and Comparative Politics or Public Policy and Public Affairs).

2) Preparing for Comprehensive Exams: Students are given lists of suggested readings for various fields of study in political science. Candidates are expected to have a broad understanding of their fields of study and to cite the relevant and important scholarly literature in responding to comprehensive exam questions.

3) Grading: Each examination shall be graded as pass or fail.

4) Repeating Written Examinations: Both examinations must be passed. The candidate may repeat each of the examinations once.

3. Approval by the departmental graduate committee and the Graduate Coordinators Committee on behalf of the faculty of the University.

Graduate Requirement in Writing Proficiency:

Writing proficiency is a graduation requirement.

Political Science graduate students will demonstrate their writing competence through the first seminar in which they enroll. The instructor of that seminar will certify for the Graduate Coordinator that the student has met the requirement. Consult with the Graduate Coordinator for specifics.

Graduate Grading Requirements:

All courses in the major (with the exceptions of Independent Study - 697, Comprehensive Examination - 696, Master's Project - 699P, and Master's Thesis - 699T) must be taken for a letter grade, except those courses specified by the department as ABC/No Credit (400/500-level courses), AB/No Credit (600-level courses), or Credit/No Credit grading only. A maximum of 10 units combined of ABC/No Credit, AB/No Credit, and Credit/No Credit grades may be used on the approved program (including 697, 696, 699P, 699T and courses outside the major). While grading standards are determined by individual programs and instructors, it is also the policy of the University that unsatisfactory grades may be given when work fails to reflect achievement of the high standards, including high writing standards, expected of students pursuing graduate study.

Students must maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average in each of the following three categories: all course work taken at any accredited institution subsequent to admission to the master's program; all course work taken at CSU, Chico subsequent to admission to the program; and all courses on the approved master's degree program.

In addition, no course in which a grade lower than B- is earned will be counted toward the fulfillment of any graduate degree requirements.

Graduate Advising Requirement:

Advising is mandatory each semester for all Political Science MA students. Consult with the Graduate Coordinator for specifics.

Catalog Cycle:14