Political Science

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MA Political Science

Ontario Legislative Building at Queen's Park, Toronto, Canada

MA Political Science

Our MA in Political Science introduces students to advanced graduate study across a number of fields in the discipline. Students select one major and one minor field to study.


Major fields can be chosen from the following areas: Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, Political Theory and Public Policy. Minor fields are chosen from Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Theory and Public Policy.

About the Program

The MA in Political Science is an examination of power and politics at the national level including Canadian and comparative politics, political theory, public policy and administration.

Admission to the MA in Political Science degree program requires an average of B+ or better in Honours Political Science or, with the approval of the Department’s Graduate Chair, in another discipline. The Department offers a regular MA in Political Science program in four areas: Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, Political Theory and Public Policy. Students must indicate the area in which they wish to major in their application.


In the MA in Political Science, studies in all areas may take the form of course work and Major Research Paper (MRP), or course work and a thesis.


Coursework with MRP
Students in this option are required to complete:

  1. Four political science courses; at least two in a ‘major field’ (Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, Political Theory and Public Policy) and one in a ‘minor’ field (Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, Global Politics/International Relations, Political Theory and Public Policy).
  2. One additional graduate course
  3. M.A. Colloquium course POLSCI 775
  4. Major Research Paper (10,000 words) POLSCI 708

The MRP option is normally a one-year program.


Coursework with thesis
Five half courses (or equivalent) and a thesis, which must demonstrate independent research skills. Full-time students who wish to write a thesis must submit a thesis proposal for departmental approval by a date to be determined by the Department in Term 1, fall. If the thesis proposal is not approved, students may continue in the course/MRP option.


The thesis option is normally a two-year program.

Admission to the MA program requires a clear B+ average or better in an honours political science Bachelor’s degree or a four year major political science degree.

The Department offers a regular MA program in the following areas: Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, Political Theory and Public Policy. We also offer an MA in Global Politics.


  • Only COMPLETED applications will be reviewed by the Department
  • Applicants to the MA program are strongly encouraged to apply for the SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarships Competition (Scholarship Deadline is December 1st), provided they meet the eligibility requirements. For more information, visit the School of Graduate Studies: Awards & Funding

Required Application Documents:


Graduate Studies Online Application

Applicants are required to complete the Graduate Studies Online Application which opens October 1st each year. In addition to the online application, applicants must also submit the required documents listed below. Some required documents must be submitted through the online application.


Statement of Interest

  • An electronic statement of interest (approximately 250-500 words, single or double-spaced, maximum of 1 page).
  • The statement must be uploaded as a PDF attachment only through the online application system on the Upload Document page.
  • Your statement of interest should clearly describe your reasons for pursuing an MA degree, research interests, previous studies, experience and your career objectives.
  • CV/Personal Resume
  • An electronic copy of your CV/Resume must be uploaded as a PDF attachment through the online application system on the Upload Document page.

Official Academic Transcripts

  • Upload a scan of ALL official university transcripts completed to date to the application system. Remember to include a copy of the transcript key/legend or scale from the transcript.
  • Transcripts from institutions where you completed courses on Letter of Permission and/or as part of a Student Exchange Program must also be included.
  • If your institution produces official electronic transcripts that can be sent directly to other institutions select this option. The issuing institution must send the official transcript directly to Manuela Dozzi by email at dozzim@mcmaster.ca.
  • If the official language of instruction at your institution is not English, please include both the original language document and a certified English translation.
  • DO NOT submit an unofficial transcript or a student record print unless the document shows your full name, student number, the university name, and contains all courses completed and in progress with final grades.
  • If you receive an offer of admission further instructions will be given on how to submit formal official transcripts.

Academic References

  • Two (2) confidential reference reports from instructors most familiar with your academic work
  • All referees are required to complete the e-Reference.
  • McMaster University uses an Electronic Referencing System (e-Reference). You will be required to indicate contact information and an institutional email address for each referee. Your referees will receive an email message asking them to complete an e-Reference.
  • IMPORTANT: The system will send the e-Reference request to your references ONLY AFTER YOU SUBMIT your online application. This means that you will need to have completed AND uploaded your Statement of Interest and CV/Resume to your online application BEFORE you can click the “submit” button. References may require 2-4 weeks to complete the e-Reference reports. Referees MUST complete their reference report BY THE APPLICATION DEADLINE of January 14. Please keep this in mind when you are working on your application.
  • If you need to change your reference or referee email address after submitting your application, you may do so through the Mosaic Applicant Portal.
  • If for some reason your referee is unable to use the Electronic Referencing System, you can download the Reference Form and send it to your referees for completion. Downloaded reference forms must be sent by the referee DIRECTLY to Manuela Dozzi by e-mail (dozzim@mcmaster.ca) or the mailing address below.

English Language Proficiency (if applicable)

  • If English is not your native language, an official copy of your English Language Proficiency score or other evidence of competency in English is required. Such applicants are required to supply this evidence as part of your application. Applicants whose university studies were complete at an institution where English is deemed the official language of instruction may be exempted from this requirement (an official letter from the institution is required).
  • The English Proficiency exam must have been completed within 2 years of the application due date.
  • This requirement must be met prior to an offer of admission. There will be no exceptions to the language requirement.
  • The most common evidence is a score on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

– TOEFL: minimum score is 92 (iBT-internet based), 237 (computer based) or 580 (paper based). The McMaster University TOEFL/TSE Institution Code is 0936 and the Department Code for Political Science is 89.

– IELTS (Academic): minimum overall score is 6.5, with at least 5.5 in each section.

  • NOTE: Foreign students wishing to enter Canada on a student visa should also contact the nearest Canadian Embassy or Consulate for visa information.

Application Fee

The system will charge a $110 (Canadian) application fee. This fee is non-refundable and payable by credit card only. Once you have paid the application fee, please remember to return to the online application to click the “Submit” button. The application fee will not be waived.


How to Apply:

Each applicant is required to complete the Graduate Studies Online Application which opens October 1st each year and submit the required application documents listed above to complete the application.

Please note that all application supporting documentation must be received by our Department no later than January 14th of the year in which you are applying.


If required, send all official documents (hard copy) to:

Department of Political Science

c/o Manuela Dozzi

Kenneth Taylor Hall 527 (KTH-527)

McMaster University

1280 Main Street West

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

L8S 4M4


Application Deadline: 

  • January 30, 2024 (for September 2024 admission)

The awards listed below are only opened to current Political Science graduate students. Eligible students should apply to Mosaic.


The Ellen Louks Fairclough Scholarship in Political Science

The Ellen Louks Fairclough Memorial Scholarship in Political Science was established in 2004 to commemorate the life of The Right Honourable Ellen Louks Fairclough, P.C., C.C., F.CA., L.L.D., F.R.C.G.S., D.H., U.E., Canada’s first female federal cabinet minister and lifelong advocate for women’s rights. To be awarded to a student enrolled in a graduate program in Political Science who holds an Ontario Graduate Scholarship. Preference will be given to a student with an interest in Canadian public policy.


The Political Science Travel Grant

To support research and professional development by assisting graduate students with costs related to doing field-work or attending academic conferences. This grant is open to both MA (thesis option) and PhD students. There are two rounds of applications each year with the deadlines being October 15th and January 30th.


To see additional information regarding awards and funding, please visit the Awards & Funding page.

Apply to an MA in Political Science

Political Science Courses

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Upcoming Events

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Research in Progress: Graduate Student Panel


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December 05, 2023
11:30 am to 1:00 pm
RIPs: Graduate Student Panel
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Mapping the Global Dimensions of Policy Conference 13: Globalization and Public Policy


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March 08, 2024

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