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Undergraduate Program

Whether you are a current or future student at McMaster considering Political Science as an undergraduate degree or taking only one course for interest, you will find that our Department offers an undergraduate curriculum that is both diverse in scope and high in quality.

Future Undergraduates

Whether you are thinking about taking Political Science as an undergraduate degree or only one course for interest you will find that our Department offers an undergraduate curriculum that is both diverse in scope and high in quality. Our program allows you to learn about important issues such as democracy, development or war, while preparing you for a wide range of careers in government, law, business, education or the non-profit sector.

Students may take either a BA in Political Science which is three years, an Honours BA in Political Science or Honours BA in Political Science with a Specialization in Public Law and Judicial Studies which are four year degrees. The Honours BA and the Honours BA with a Specialization in Public Law and Judicial Studies finish with smaller seminar classes in the fourth year. Students may also combine a BA in Political Science with another subject in the Social Sciences or Humanities or the Arts and Sciences program.

Learn more about our Undergraduate Program


The Department's Level I (1AA3 and 1AB3) courses are the foundation courses for all Political Science programs at McMaster. We believe it is vital to introduce students to an understanding of the nature of politics, power and the institutions of political governance within countries and internationally. The instructor that teaches Political Science 1AA3 and 1AB3 is among the Department's best. Following the first year, students can select courses from five fields: Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, Political Theory, Public Policy or International Relations.

Our undergraduate students run a very successful McMaster Political Science Students Association (MPSSA) and participate in a range of activities such as the yearly Model United Nations event. Please explore these pages for further information and contact us if you have any questions. 

McMaster Political Science Students Association (MPSSA)

Frequently Asked Questions

I am an Ontario highschool student applying to McMaster. What do I need in order to get into first year Political Science?

If you are applying to McMaster as an Ontario high school student and you are interested in Political Science, you will require the following academic requirements: - 6 Grade 12 U/M courses including, English 4U. The anticipated cut-off required by Ontario High School applicants for admission to Social Sciences I, September 2017 (Subject to Change), is 75-78%.

What types of courses are offered within the Department of Political Science? 

The Political Science program at McMaster covers all aspects of political science with particular emphasis on: 

  • Canadian Politics, the study of Canadian government, elections, political parties, and so much more 
  • Comparative Politics, the study of internal politics in other countries around the globe  
  • International Relations, the study of global politics and how countries and their citizens are mutually interdependent
  • Political Theory, the study of political philosophy, from Aristotle to John Stuart Mill to Hannah Arendt and everything in between.  
  • Public Policy, the study of the politics of policy adoption and implementation and public administration Public Law and Judicial Studies, the study of legal principles and practices

What courses are available in my first year of studies? 

As a full time student, you will be responsible for enrolling in 30 units of course work within your first year of studies (please refer to the Undergraduate Calendar for the specific year 1 requirements). Our first year introductory courses Political Science 1AA3: Government, Politics, and Power and Political Science 1AB3: Politics and Power in a Globalizing World are 6 units of Level 1 Political Science that you must enroll in to be admissible to the Political Science program.

What are possible career paths available to a graduate of the Political Science Program? 

Graduates with an undergraduate degree in Political Science pursue a wide range of career opportunities.

In the public sector our graduates pursue careers as Public Policy Analyst, Social Policy Program Officer, Foreign Service Officer, Immigration and Revenue Officer, Diplomat, Economic Development Officer, Police or Public Safety Officer, Political Aide/Legislative Assistant, or Politician.

In the private sector, our graduates have opportunities for careers as Financial/Economic Analyst, Journalist, Marketing or opinion research, Project/Program Manager, Public relations, Government Relations or lobbyist, Human Resources Officer, or Law. 

In the non-profit sector, majors in political science have opportunities to develop careers as Program Manager, Researcher, Public opinion analyst, Program analyst, Election analyst, Election observation specialist, Public relations, Lobbyist, and Grant-writer.

Learn more about our Program offerings

Graduate Programs

Our Department is the ideal place to do Master's and Doctoral work. We offer the range of specialized seminars needed for strong graduate-level training, but are a small and collegial department so that students and faculty experience the type of intellectual interaction, supervision, and research collaboration that makes graduate work exciting!

Our program offers:

  • a diversity of theoretical perspectives;
  • a research-intensive environment, seen in our excellent record of ongoing active externally-funded research; and
  • a commitment to rigorous training in research methods to provide graduate students with an opportunity to develop outstanding analytical and research skills that are invaluable in scholarly and applied contexts. 

Visit our Graduate FAQs

Master of Arts

Master of Arts 

At the Master's level we offer two different MA degrees: 
  • Political Science (Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, Political Theory, Public Policy and Administration)
  • International Relations. 

Doctor of Philosophy

At the Doctoral level we offer specialized programs in Comparative Public Policy and International Relations. We are an ideal place for projects at the intersection of these two fields, such as the internationalization of public policy or developments in global governance.

Application to the program is highly competitive, with approximately one in ten applications being successful. The doctoral program is designed to equip graduates to conduct research and teach at the university level. Students will also be trained in another field such as Canadian politics, comparative politics, public policy or international relations. Our students have opportunities to participate in the activities of groups and centres that faculty members are linked to: 

In addition,

McMaster or the Department belongs to these additional organizations, which provide additional training and research opportunities for graduate students:

Learn more about our Graduate Programs