Graduate Program

The Master of Arts in Political Science is designed for students who wish to proceed to further post-graduate study at the doctoral level as well as those who seek to terminate their study with the master’s degree.

Why an M.A. in Political Science from SF State?

M.A. Student teaching on a white board

For many college graduates, an M.A. in Political Science is a good investment of time and money. Graduates from our M.A. program teach at community colleges, go on to prestigious Ph.D. programs, and work in a variety of jobs: running election campaigns, teaching high school students, and as elected officials, policymakers and policy analysts.

For those who go on to a Ph.D. program, a more specialized M.A. or M.P.A., or law school, the M.A. provides both a solid substantive foundation and an advantage in admissions to top graduate and law programs.

An M.A. in Political Science is highly relevant for those who wish to go into high school or junior college teaching, or into some aspect of local, state or federal governmental work. Unlike Ph.D.s, which commonly take five to seven years to complete, an M.A. generally only takes two years to complete, and it provides an advantage on the job market over those with only bachelor’s degrees. In the meantime, students have had more time to think about the professional direction they want to pursue.

A professor and student laughing and smiling

Given the cost of graduate education, two years of CSU tuition is a relative bargain for a degree that can do so much. Graduate seminars are offered starting at 4 p.m. and, occasionally, later in the evening, allowing professional students to work and attend class.

At SF State, our Political Science faculty are experienced, well-published scholars and teachers specializing in American Politics, Comparative Politics, Political Theory, Public Law, and Empirical Methods. M.A. students work closely with faculty to learn how political scientists produce knowledge about politics, and contributing themselves to that scholarship. Our students have opportunities to teach classes and present their own work at conferences.

Anyone with questions about our program is encouraged to contact our graduate adviser.

Areas of specialization within the M.A. program include:

  • American Politics
  • Political Theory
  • Comparative Politics

In addition, students may study public law, empirical methods, and international relations (the latter with faculty in SF State's Department of International Relations).

The program is professional in its standards, substantive offerings, and levels of expectation.

Funding Assistance

The department is not able to offer tuition waivers. We do offer some limited scholarships, and some limited financial assistance is available in the form of paid teaching assistantships. These are usually not available during the first semester of study.

Graduate Coordinator

Professor Katherine Gordy


For questions about our graduate program, please contact Professor Gordy.