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Graduate Student Testimonials

What do our graduates have to say about McMaster's Political Sciences programs?

Zeina Sleiman-Long

PhD Political Science '18

"I chose to pursue my doctoral studies at McMaster for a number of reasons.  I knew that I would be studying in a department that was small, but that meant that I could pursue my studies surrounded by a small supportive community of excellent scholars.  My committee members and supervisor are all well known in their field and provided great support during my studies. There is also a good representation of female scholars in our department which spoke to me as a woman of colour. 

Not only is the department supportive in our scholarship, it also provided me with adequate financial support that helped me fund my field work in the United States. The way that the program is structured also allows for student to reasonably expect to finish the degree within 4-6 years.

Being surrounded by the McMaster community allowed me to successfully finish on time, but also gain the knowledge and experience that I needed to pursue a career in research and teaching.  Once my maternity leave ends, I plan on returning to my teaching position at NorQuest College in Edmonton, while working on community-based research projects in the city with migrant communities.

Stefano Ballesteros

MA International Relations '18

I like to say that I didn’t choose McMaster. McMaster chose me. I didn’t know the university when I applied, I just did because it had a later deadline for graduate programs and I had missed my chance at other universities. I was overwhelmed by the work of applying to graduate school and I didn’t think much of it for a time. Naturally, I felt foolish when my undergraduate advisor congratulated me in excitement after I got accepted, “You got into McMaster? That is an amazing university! Peter Nyers teaches there!” She said, “I’m so jealous!” Then I started looking into it.

I found a top-tier Canadian university with world-class professors conducting important research. I found an amazing campus, with a vibrant community of students. I found an exciting program that encouraged creative learning, open discussion, and innovative research. Such as that I focused my research here in outer space policy and law, something that was quickly met with excitement and support from my professors and peers. As the program progressed I found myself a member of a community not only of students, but of professors and staff that regarded me as a colleague and friend. This is incredibly rare in a university this size and one where professors are continuously researching and publishing their work. But it is something I believe is essential for a conducive learning environment.

In the end, my biggest complaint is that the program was only a year long, and that I could not get my fill of all the classes I wanted to take or get to learn from all the professors in the department. Now that I am graduating I want to continue to use and develop the skills I refined as a student and researcher by working for a think tank or an international NGO with a focus on policy, law, and technology before pursuing a PhD.

Cassandra Preece

MA Political Science '18

I originally chose the McMaster Political Science MA program because of the school’s reputation and its proximity to home in Niagara. After completing my first year, the program had proven to be so much more than that. I have learned more this year than any other time in my academic career. Not only did the courses expose me to new areas of interest and provide me with applicable skills, but the professors and other members of the department showed a genuine interest in my success.

Being given the trust and mentorship to pursue my own areas of interest pushed me to conduct my own research as part of the MA thesis stream. I am focusing my thesis research on the foreign policy priorities and campaign promises of Canadian political parties and I have contributed to research projects on democracy, elections and political representation in East and Southeast Asia. I have been fortunate to work as a teaching assistant and research assistant in the department. These incredible opportunities have expanded my knowledge of comparative politics and have shed light on the realities and possibilities of a future in academia.