Skip to main content
McMaster University Menu Search

Master of Arts in Political Science*

Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, Political Theory and Public Policy

M.A.Master of Arts in Political Science*

Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, Political Theory and Public Policy

An examination of power and politics at the national level including Canadian and comparative politics, political theory, public policy and administration.

*The Department of Political Science is in the process of recommending changes to the MA program in Political Science, effective September, 2019 subject to required approvals. This program will consist of Course Work with a Major Research Paper not Course Work and Comprehensive Examinations.

Admission to the M.A. 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 M.A. in Political Science offers concentrations (majors) in four areas: Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, Political Theory and Public Policy.  


Six half courses (or equivalent) at the graduate level and written comprehensive examinations. Normally 3 half courses are taken during the Fall term and 3 half courses during the Winter term. The comprehensive examinations are written in the latter half of July. Students are responsible for one major (two subfields) and one minor (one subfield) area.

Major subfields may be chosen from: Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, Political Theory, and Public Policy and Administration. Minor subfields may be chosen from: Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Theory, and Public Policy and Administration.

NOTE: *The Department of Political Science is in the process of recommending changes to the MA program in Political Science, effective September, 2019 subject to required approvals. This program will consist of Course Work with a Major Research Paper not Course Work and Comprehensive Examinations.


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 December 1 of Term I. If the thesis proposal is not approved, students may continue in the course/comprehensive 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 International Relations.


  • 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
  • Your statement of interest should clearly describe your reasons for pursuing an MA degree, research interests, previous studies, experience and your career objectives.

C.V. / 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

Official Academic Transcripts

  • Academic transcripts from ALL post-secondary studies completed or in progress at the time of application
  • Transcripts from institutions where you completed courses on Letter of Permission and/or as part of a Student Exchange Program must also be included.
  • All transcripts must be sent DIRECTLY from the issuing institution to the Department of Political Science (address below)
  • Transcripts not received in institutionally sealed envelopes will NOT be accepted.

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 an institutional email address for each referee. Your referees will receive an email message asking them to complete an e-Reference.
  • If you need to change your reference or referee email address after submitting your application, you will need to contact the Department.
  • 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 28, 2019. Please keep this in mind when you are working on your application.
  • 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 ( 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 forwarded to and received by our Department no later than January 28th of the year in which you are applying.


Please send all (hard copy) supporting documents 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 28, 2019

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 15thand January 30th.


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

Students should consult with the Department MA Political Science Advisor or Area Convenors about the courses to be taken in order to satisfactorily complete the program.

Research Clusters 

While the department covers all the main fields in Political Science, we also have research expertise and knowledge in the following research clusters. Visit the following research clusters for more information on the faculty members who teach and conduct research in these specific areas, and the types of projects currently being conducted in the department. 

Interdisciplinary Networks 

Aside from the different research clusters within the Department of Political Science, our faculty members also lead and/or are actively involved in the following interdisciplinary networks in McMaster University: 

POL SCI 6O06 / Canadian Politics

POL SCI 701 / Theory and Practice of Policy Analysis: Frameworks and Models

POL SCI 705 / Global Public Policy

POL SCI 706 / Comparative Politics of Health Policy

POL SCI 708 / Major Research Paper

POL SCI 715 / Liberalism and Imperialism

POL SCI 716 / Comparative Authoritarianism

POL SCI 717 / Political Violence and Revolution

POL SCI 740 / Theories of Comparative Politics

POL SCI 741 / Politics of Social Movements

POL SCI 742 / Politics of Developing Areas

POL SCI 744 / Politics of Western Democracies

POL SCI 746 / Issues in Comparative Politics

POL SCI 748 / Democracy and Diversity

POL SCI 749 / Topics in Gender and Politics

POL SCI 750 / Issues in Political Theory

POL SCI 754 / Critics of Modernity

POL SCI 755 / Lying in Politics

POL SCI 756 / Politics and Its Others

POL SCI 757 / Theories of Political Community

POL SCI 758 / Cosmopolitanism and Its Critics

POL SCI 760 / Political Institutions of the Canadian State

POL SCI 761 / The Social, Cultural and Economic Foundations of Canadian Politics

POL SCI 762 / Comparative Political Economy

POL SCI 763 / International Water Policy

POL SCI 765 / Reading Course

POL SCI 767 / Politics of the Global South: an International Relations Perspective

POL SCI 768 / Political Economy of Global Climate Change

POL SCI 769 / The Political Economy of East Asia

POL SCI 770 / Globalization and the Canadian State

POL SCI 771 / Advanced Concepts in International Relations Theory

POL SCI 772 / Theories of International Politics

POL SCI 773 / Selected Topics in International Politics

POL SCI 774 / Global Political Economy

POL SCI 775 / MA IR Colloquium

POL SCI 776 / Advanced Issues in Critical Security Studies

POL SCI 777 / Global Governance

POL SCI 779 / Major Research Paper

POL SCI 780 / Selected Political Problems I

POL SCI 781 / Selected Political Problems II

POL SCI 782 / Development Theory and Administration

POL SCI 783 / Comparative Public Policy

POL SCI 784 / Quantitative Political and Policy Analysis

POL SCI 785 / Public Sector Management

POL SCI 788 / Comparative Foreign Policy: Canadian and U.S. Foreign Policy

POL SCI 789 / Global Finance

POL SCI 790 / The Politics of Economic Policy in Market Economies

POL SCI 795 / Research Project in Public Policy

POL SCI 796 / Research Design and Methods

POL SCI 797 / Readings in Comparative Public Policy

School of Graduate Studies (SGS) Graduate Students Association (GSA) MA In Political Science Regulations Graduate Student FAQ's Apply Now
For more information:
Department of Political Science
KTH 527
905-525-9140 ext. 24742
1 year
Required Credential:
Honours Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) in Political Science or related discipline
Program Type:
Thesis, Course Based
Program Options:
Full-time, Part-time
Typical Entry:
Current Deadline:
January 28, 2019