Earn a Master’s Degree to Serve The Common Good and Lead For A Better Tomorrow

The Master of Arts Program in Political Science is designed to prepare students for careers in the public and private sectors, and for further work at the doctoral level. With a student/faculty ratio of nearly 2 to 1, students receive the individual attention they expect and deserve, and the guidance needed to pursue their professional goals. The program prepares students for a variety of roles related to government relations, legislative affairs, advocacy, research, consulting, education, nonprofit organizations, and federal, state, or local government. Students in the program gain analytical and research skills, alongside a specialized focus from one of our three concentrations:

As the only stand-alone master’s degree in Political Science within the UNC system, we focus on developing the skills and knowledge students need to pursue their chosen careers. Each student in consultation with the program director develops a program of study that meets their unique interests and career aspirations. A political science bachelor's degree is not a requirement for the program. We encourage you  to schedule a zoom or on-campus meeting to learn more about our program and meet with some of our faculty and students.

Take The First Step

Schedule a zoom or on-campus meeting to learn more about our program.


"The structure of the master's program allowed me to design my studies in a way that made them directly relevant to fisheries management."

Christina Wiegand, MA ‘13, Social scientist with the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council 

Program Requirements

The following requirements must be fulfilled for the MA in Political Science Program:

33 credits of required and elective coursework; proficiency in quantitative literacy; completion of an internship or thesis; and successful completion of a comprehensive examination.

The core courses are: 

  • PS 5001: Scope and Methods (3 credits)
  • PS 5002: Research Methods and Statistics (3 credits)
  • PS 5900: Internship in Public Affairs (3-6 credits)
    • PS 5998 Thesis Preparation (3) and PS 5999 Thesis (3)  may be counted in place of PS 5900 with permission of the graduate program director.

The remaining 21-24 credits of concentration and graduate elective courses are selected in consultation with the program director. For concentration requirements, review The Graduate School Bulletin.

Accelerated Admission

The MA in Political Science Program offers an accelerated admission option for undergraduate students currently enrolled at Appalachian State University.  Review our brochure for details.


Recent Alumni Placement

  • Director of Congressional Liaison, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington D.C.
  • Press & Staff Assistant, United States Congress, Washington D.C.
  • Legislative Assistant for the United States House Republican Conference, Washington D.C.
  • Development Coordinator at National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Arlington, VA
  • Vice President of Operations at Creative Direct, Richmond, VA
  • VP Global Markets Operations Manager at Bank of America, Charlotte, NC
  • Senior Program and Policy Specialist at Mortgage Bankers Association, Washington D.C.
  • AmeriCorps Volunteer and Engagement Refugee Specialist at VISTA, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Public Relations Assistant at Yunus Emre Institute, Washington D.C.
  • ISSS Implementation Project Manager at Terra Dotta, LLC., Raleigh, NC
  • Legislative assistant at the NC General Assembly, Raleigh, NC
  • Assistant Professor at Carleton College
  • Doctoral candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Doctoral candidate at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville
  • Social Scientist at South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, Charleston, SC
  • Managing Editor at PS: Political Science & Politics, Washington D.C.
  • Finance and Administration Manager at U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, Washington D.C.
  • Kids in Parks Program Assistant at Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, Asheville, NC
  • Government Relations Associate at Patient Services, Inc., Richmond, VA
  • Transportation Analyst at Wake County Government, Raleigh, NC

Careers in Political Science

The fundamental skills and knowledge you will develop through our program will equip you for positions in a variety of professional fields, including: legislative affairs, advocacy, research, education, public affairs and policy, nonprofit and government administration. Political science is not limited to government relations and enables you to obtain universal skills transferable to a range of sectors and organizations.  Some of our alumni work for state and federal governments, while others have chosen to teach at community colleges and/or secondary schools. Many have continued their studies by moving on to doctoral programs or law school.  Regardless of the professional field, today’s economy values  analytical and creative thinkers, effective communicators, and self-starters. 

Our program emphasizes the following skill sets:

  • Critical thinking and analysis

  • Information literacy and research skills

  • Data organization and management

  • Quantitative data analysis

  • Professional writing 

  • Effective communication with diverse audiences

  • Advanced knowledge in a substantive areas of political science

  • Professional development through internship experience

Diversity Commitment

The MA in Political Science program is committed to promoting and supporting student and faculty diversity in our instruction, research, and outreach activities.