Pearl Dowe
Department Chair
428 Old Main

Patrick Conge
Graduate Coordinator and Vice Chair
428 Old Main

Department of Political Science Website

Degrees Conferred:
J.D./M.A. (Dual Degree)
M.P.A. in Public Administration (PADM)
J.D./M.P.A. (Dual Degree)

Graduate Certificates Offered (non-degree):
Cross-Sector Alliances. See also the Cross-Sector Alliance website.

M.A. Areas of Study: American politics and political theory, comparative politics and international relations, and public administration.

Primary Areas of Faculty Research: American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory, public administration.

Political Science (PLSC)

Program Description:  The M.A. degree in Political Science is designed to give students further training in selected areas of concentration within the discipline and to prepare them for careers in academe or public service.

M.A. in Political Science

Admission Requirements for the Master of Arts Degree Program: Applicants for graduate study in political science must be admitted to the Graduate School and also meet the following requirements: 1) satisfactory GRE scores, 2) submission of a written essay, and 3) three letters of recommendation from persons competent to judge the applicant’s potential for graduate studies. Students from all academic backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Students who have had few political science courses at the undergraduate level may be required to enroll in undergraduate courses to begin their graduate studies.

Requirements for the Master of Arts Degree: The M.A. degree is a 36-semester hour program. Completion of the program is contingent upon passing a comprehensive examination or writing and defending a thesis.  

Core (21 hours)
PLSC 5163Public Policy3
PLSC 5703Research Design in Political Science and Public Policy3
PLSC 5913Research Methods in Political Science3
PLSC 5943Advanced Research Methods in Political Science3
Take three of the following (9 hours):9
Seminar in American Political Institutions
Seminar in American Political Behavior
Comparative Political Analysis
Seminar in International Politics

Courses are offered in three areas of study: American politics , comparative politics and international relations, and public administration and policy. From these offerings, students must select a primary area of study.  A minimum of 12 hours from the primary area of study must be completed, of which six hours will be accepted from the core.  A secondary field of no less than six hours will complement the choices in the primary field, of which three hours will be accepted from the core. Selection of the areas of concentration should be commensurate with the professional or career goals of the student. A minimum of 27 hours must be fulfilled by 5000-level classes.  Students must take a minimum of 30 of their 36 course hours in the Department of Political Science. The remaining hours may be taken in other departments.

Courses at the 4000 level may be taken with the graduate adviser's consent.  Under special circumstances, students may arrange to take graduate-level directed readings or independent research courses.  Such courses require an application that must be approved by the student's graduate adviser in concert with the professor from whom the course is to be taken.  The student must apply for such a course before the semester in which the course is to be taken.

Students should also be aware of Graduate School requirements with regard to master's degrees.

Thesis Option: Students must take 30 hours of coursework and six hours of thesis credit. Under this option, the student’s comprehensive examination will be a defense of the thesis. All M.A. candidates in this option are required to develop a prospectus for their thesis. They must then write and orally defend an acceptable thesis.

Non-thesis Option: Students must take 36 semester hours of coursework. Under this option, students must take a comprehensive examination in their primary field of study.

J.D./M.A. Program

Degrees Conferred:
J.D./M.A. (Dual Degree)

The Department of Political Science, the Graduate School, and the School of Law cooperate in offering a dual degree program that allows a student to pursue the M.A. in Political Science and the J.D. degrees concurrently.

The program described below requires 36 hours as follows: the student selects a) courses from comparative politics or international relations seminars in political science or equivalent courses in other departments approved by the graduate adviser in political science (total of 18 hours: 3 hours methods and 15 hours from a combination of international relations and comparative politics seminars); b) six additional hours of PLSC classes approved by the program's graduate director or six hours of thesis credit; and c) twelve hours of elective courses taken in the law school in an area of concentration approved by the director of the M.A. program. 

Students must be admitted to the M.A. program and the School of Law. If a student seeks to enter the dual degree program after enrolling in either the law school or the M.A. program, he or she must obtain admission to the other degree program during the first year of study.

The School of Law accepts nine (9) semester hours of M.A. courses to satisfy requirements for the J.D. degree: PLSC 5503 Comparative Political Analysis, PLSC 5803 Seminar in International Politics, PLSC 5833 Seminar in Contemporary Problems. PLSC 4833 International Political Economy; and ECON 4633 International Trade are highly recommended to be part of the student's preparation.

Students admitted to the dual degree program may commence their studies in either the law school or the M.A. program but must complete first year course requirements before taking courses in the other degree program. If they do not maintain the academic or ethical standards of either degree program, students may be terminated from the dual degree program. Students in good standing in one degree program but not in the other may be allowed to continue in the other program in which they have good standing and must meet the degree requirements of that program. If for any reason a student admitted to the dual degree program does not complete the M.A. degree, he or she cannot count nine hours of M.A. courses toward the J.D. degree. Likewise, M.A. students may not be able to count certain law courses if they decide to discontinue their studies in the law school. The J.D. will be awarded upon completion of all degree requirements; the M.A. will be awarded upon completion of the comprehensive examination and all required coursework, as well as the successful defense of a master’s thesis, if applicable.

Mandatory Comprehensive Exam:  All students will be required to take a written comprehensive examination covering their M.A. program or a six-hour thesis. The comprehensive exam will be graded by at least a three-person faculty committee selected by the M.A. Program Director. Students pursuing the thesis option are not required to take a written examination.  Successful defense of their thesis satisfies this requirement. In addition to the successful completion of all course requirements and a passing grade on the written comprehensive examination (if taken), each student must present a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.00.

Thesis Option: Students pursuing the thesis option should consult the graduate coordinator of the political science department. The thesis committee must be composed of faculty members from both the School of Law and the Department of Political Science. Thesis credit is 6 hours.

Internship Option: Students may pursue an internship. Internship credit is variable and depends on the number of hours worked. Students in this option must consult with their J.D. and M.A. advisers. An internship work plan and expected academic work products will be developed.

Graduate Faculty

Bayram, A. Burcu, Ph.D. (Ohio State University), M.I.S. (North Carolina State University), B.A. (Middle East Technical University), Assistant Professor, 2016.
Conge, Patrick J., Ph.D. (University of Texas at Austin), M.A., B.S. (Arizona State University), Associate Professor, 1995.
Diallo, Anne B., Ph.D., M.P.A., B.A. (University of Arkansas), Visiting Assistant Professor, 2012.
Dowdle, Andrew J., Ph.D. (Miami University), M.A. (University of Iowa), B.A. (University of Tennessee), Professor, 2003.
Dowe, Pearl Karen, Ph.D. (Howard University), M.A. (Georgia Southern University), B.S. (Savannah State University), Associate Professor, 2008.
Gaber, John, Ph.D. (Columbia University), M.A. (University of Southern California), B.A. (University of California-Los Angeles), Professor, 2009.
Ghadbian, Najib, Ph.D. (City University of New York), M.A. (Rutgers University), M.A. (City University of New York), B.Sc. (United Arab Emirates University), Associate Professor, 1999.
Hunt, Valerie H., Ph.D., J.D., B.A. (University of Arkansas), Associate Professor, 2005.
Kelley, Donald R., Ph.D. (Indiana University at Bloomington), M.A., B.A. (University of Pittsburgh), Professor, 1980.
Kerr, Brinck, Ph.D. (Texas A&M University), B.A. (University of Texas at Austin), Professor, 1994.
Maxwell, Angie, Ph.D., M.A. (University of Texas at Austin), B.A. (University of Arkansas), Associate Professor, 2008.
Medina Vidal, D. Xavier, Ph.D. (University of California-Riverside), M.A. (University of New Mexico), Assistant Professor, 2015.
Mitchell, Joshua Lee, Ph.D. (Southern Illinois University), M.P.A., B.S. (Murray State University), Assistant Professor, 2010.
Parry, Janine A., Ph.D., M.A. (Washington State University), B.A. (Western Washington University), Professor, 1998.
Reid, Margaret F., Ph.D. (University of Oklahoma), M.B.A. (Central State University), M.P.A. (University of Oklahoma), M.A. (University of Bonn), B.A. (University of Marburg, West Germany), Professor, 1993.
Ryan, Jeffrey J., Ph.D., M.A. (Rice University), B.A. (Colorado State University), Associate Professor, 1990.
Schreckhise, William D., Ph.D., M.A., B.A. (Washington State University), Associate Professor, 1998.
Sebold, Karen Denice, Ph.D., M.A. (University of Arkansas), B.S. (Campbell College), B.S. (Rogers State University), Clinical Assistant Professor, 2011.
Shields, Todd G., Ph.D., M.A. (University of Kentucky), B.A. (Miami University), Professor, 1994.
Song, Geoboo, Ph.D. (University of Oklahoma), B.A. (Korea University), B.A. (Hanyang University), Assistant Professor, 2012.
Stewart, Patrick A., Ph.D., (Northern Illinois University), M.A., B.A. (University of Central Florida), Associate Professor, 2008.
Zeng, Ka, Ph.D. (University of Virginia), M.A. (Virginia Polytech Institute and State University), B.A. (Foreign Affairs College, Beijing), Professor, 2000.


PLSC 500V. Special Topics. 1-3 Hour.

(Formerly PLSC 400V.) Topics in political science not usually covered in other courses. Graduate degree credit will not be given for both PLSC 400V and PLSC 500V. May be repeated for degree credit.

PLSC 5043. The U.S. Constitution I. 3 Hours.

(Formerly PLSC 4253.) United States Supreme Court decisions involving the functions and powers of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the President and federalism. Graduate degree credit will not be given for both PLSC 4253 and PLSC 5043. Prerequisite: PLSC 2003.

PLSC 5053. Creating Democracies. 3 Hours.

(Formerly PLSC 4513.) Analyses of the creation of democracies in Europe, South America, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, East Europe, and the former Soviet Union. Graduate degree credit will not be given for both PLSC 4513 and PLSC 5053. Prerequisite: PLSC 2013.

PLSC 5083. The Middle East in World Affairs. 3 Hours.

An analysis of geo-political and socio-economic characteristics of Middle Eastern societies and their impact on world economic and political order. Special attention to such issues as the Arab-Israeli conflict, the promotion of lasting peace in the region, impact of oil on world politics, the involvement of superpowers, rehabilitation of Palestinian refugees and the role of the United Nations.

PLSC 5103. Human Behavior in Complex Organizations. 3 Hours.

Review of the fundamental literature and a systematic analysis of various theories and research focusing on organization and behavior in public administration, including the discussion of organizational development, human motivation, leadership, rationality, efficiency and conflict management in public organizations. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

PLSC 5113. Seminar in Human Resource Management. 3 Hours.

Intensive study of public personnel policies and practices, including legal foundations, classification and compensation plans, recruitment and selection processes, training, employment policies and morale, employee relations and organization. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

PLSC 5123. Public Budgeting and Finance. 3 Hours.

Focuses on the budgeting process and governmental fiscal policy formulation, adoption, and execution. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

PLSC 5133. Nonprofit Management. 3 Hours.

This course provides an overview of the principal management functions in public and nonprofit organizations. Topics include financial management, HR development, program development. The relationships among volunteer boards of trustees, fund raising, public relations, and program personnel are analyzed, and the complex environments with service sector agencies are explored.

PLSC 5143. Administrative Law. 3 Hours.

A seminar which examines the constitutional and statutory basis and authority of public organizations. Special attention focuses on the nature of the rule-making and adjudicatory powers of public agencies and on executive, legislative, and judicial restraints on such activities. Also considered are the role, scope, and place of public regulatory activities. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

PLSC 5153. Environmental Politics and Policy. 3 Hours.

Surveys recent patterns of environmentalism in the U.S. and explores the nature of policy making with regard to environmental and economic development issues. Several debates are presented, such as conservation vs. preservation, multiple use vs. sustainability, intergovernmental policy implementation, incentives, and free market environmentalism.

PLSC 5163. Public Policy. 3 Hours.

Seminar examining the study of public policy making in complex organizations. Attention given to different theories and frameworks explaining public policy making. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

PLSC 5173. Community Development. 3 Hours.

Community development encompasses the political, social, and economic issues that shape contemporary communities. The seminar examines substantive issues in community development, related theories, and techniques. A major focus of the course will be on low-income and minority neighborhoods and efforts to create more inclusive communities in the U.S. and abroad.

PLSC 5193. Seminar in Public Administration. 3 Hours.

Introduction to and synthesis of public administration theory, functions, history, public accountability and management concerns, economic impact of administrative decisions, current problems, and issues in the public sector. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

PLSC 5203. Seminar in American Political Institutions. 3 Hours.

Research seminar dealing with selected aspects of the major governmental institutions in the United States. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

PLSC 5213. Seminar in American Political Behavior. 3 Hours.

Reading seminar surveying major works on representative processes in American national politics, including political opinion, political leadership, political participation, voting behavior, political parties, and interest groups. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

PLSC 5233. The American Chief Executive. 3 Hours.

Study of the origin, background, and evolution of the Office of the President of the United States, with a review of the president's powers in the areas of politics, administration, and legislation.

PLSC 5243. Seminar in State Politics and Policy. 3 Hours.

Research seminar dealing with selected aspects of state political institutions and politics such as policy diffusion, institutional professionalization, and representation. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

PLSC 5253. Politics of Race and Ethnicity. 3 Hours.

Reviews identity, political action and concepts of political activity by minority groups, focusing on contemporary political behavior, the incorporation of minority groups into the U.S. political system.

PLSC 5283. Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations. 3 Hours.

(Formerly PLSC 4283.) Analysis of changes in intergovernmental relations in the American federal system. Discussions will focus on political, economic/fiscal and administrative aspects of policy changes of the pre-and post-Reagan eras. Graduate degree credit will not be given for both PLSC 4283 and PLSC 5283.

PLSC 5343. Money and Politics. 3 Hours.

Familiarizes students with the world of money and politics in the United States. Examines the function of money in elections, the legal aspects, and the consequences of the regulatory environment. Provides a means to gain analytic computer skills and a strong foundation for further study of political science.

PLSC 5373. Political Communication. 3 Hours.

(Formerly PLSC 4373.) Study of the nature and function of the communication process as it operates in the political environment. Graduate degree credit will not be given for both PLSC 4373 and PLSC 5373.

PLSC 5383. Seminar in Political Communication. 3 Hours.

Research seminar focusing on selected topics such as candidate imagery, diffusion of political information, or political symbolism. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.
This course is cross-listed with COMM 5383.

PLSC 5503. Comparative Political Analysis. 3 Hours.

A selection of topics to provide the theoretical, conceptual and methodological and foundation for the analysis of contemporary political systems. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

PLSC 5513. Seminar in Politics of the Middle East. 3 Hours.

Explores the major lines of inquiry on the politics of the state and society in the context of endogenous and exogenous forces that have influenced conceptions of power, legitimacy, and identity. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

PLSC 5523. Topics in Politics of the Middle East. 3 Hours.

In-depth analysis of specific political phenomena in the contemporary Middle East. Inquiry will vary but may focus on gender, political economy, politics of inclusion and exclusion (democratization and authoritarianism), or the politics of oil. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

PLSC 5563. Government and Politics of Russia. 3 Hours.

(Formerly PLSC 4563.) Study of Russian and Soviet politics after 1917 and of the democratization of Russia and the other successor states. Graduate degree credit will not be given for both PLSC 4563 and PLSC 5563. Prerequisite: PLSC 2003 or PLSC 2013.

PLSC 5583. Political Economy of East Asia. 3 Hours.

(Formerly PLSC 4583.) Development strategies and policies of major economies in East Asia. Topics include theories for East Asia's economic growth, dynamics and process of East Asian political and economic developments, strengths and limits of the East Asian development model, Asian values and their implications for Asian-style democracy, and dynamics of regional cooperation. Graduate degree credit will not be given for both PLSC 4583 and PLSC 5583.

PLSC 5593. Islam and Politics. 3 Hours.

Compares contemporary Islamist political movements. Seeks to explain causes, debates, agendas, and strategies of Islamists in the political realm. Addresses sovereignty, the rule of law, visions of the good state and society, and relations between nationalism, religion and political development. Focus on Middle East with comparative reference to other cases.

PLSC 5703. Research Design in Political Science and Public Policy. 3 Hours.

This course is designed to introduce graduate students to fundamental research issues in the realm of applied social science while developing the ability to apply basic skills for conducting research.

PLSC 5803. Seminar in International Politics. 3 Hours.

Research seminar providing intensive coverage of selected topics in theories of international relations, the comparative study of foreign policy making, and international organizations. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

PLSC 5833. Seminar in Contemporary Problems. 3 Hours.

Seminar with concentrated reading in selected and specialized areas of contemporary international relations. Prerequisite: Graduate standing. May be repeated for up to 6 hours of degree credit.

PLSC 5843. International Legal Order. 3 Hours.

Analysis of distinctive characteristics of contemporary international law. Topics include role of legal order in controlling the use of force in international relations and the impact of social and political environment on growth of international law and relations among international political systems. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

PLSC 5863. Political Psychology and International Relations. 3 Hours.

Examines psychological approaches to international relations and examines how these perspectives advance the study of world politics.

PLSC 5873. Inter-American Politics. 3 Hours.

An analysis of the political themes, regional organization, and hemispheric relations that constitute the inter-American system, with special emphasis on conflict and cooperation in the hemispheric policies of the American republics.

PLSC 5883. Politics of International Law. 3 Hours.

This course examines the interaction between law and politics in the international system, focusing on international law.

PLSC 590V. Directed Readings in Political Science. 1-3 Hour.

Directed readings in Political Science. Prerequisite: Graduate standing. May be repeated for up to 6 hours of degree credit.

PLSC 5913. Research Methods in Political Science. 3 Hours.

Methods relevant to research in the various fields of political science. Required of all graduate students in political science. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

PLSC 592V. Internship in Political Science. 1-6 Hour.

Internship in a local, state, regional, or federal agency. Paper required on a significant aspect of internship experience. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

PLSC 593V. Special Topics. 1-3 Hour.

Topics in political science not usually covered in other courses. Prerequisite: Graduate Standing. May be repeated for up to 3 hours of degree credit.

PLSC 5943. Advanced Research Methods in Political Science. 3 Hours.

Provides a firm theoretical foundation in, and an ability to apply, various multivariate statistical methods that are most commonly used for empirical analysis of politics and policy. Prerequisite: PLSC 5913 or equivalent.

PLSC 595V. Research Problems in Political Science. 1-3 Hour.

Research problems in Political Science. Prerequisite: Graduate standing. May be repeated for up to 6 hours of degree credit.

PLSC 5983. Mixed Methods Research Design. 3 Hours.

An advanced overview of a particular type of multi-point research design. Mixed methods research combines quantitative and qualitative research strategies in a single research project.

PLSC 5993. African American Political Ideology. 3 Hours.

A survey course designed to identify and examine characteristics and functions of several variants of black political ideology/thought.

PLSC 600V. Master's Thesis. 1-6 Hour.

Master's Thesis. May be repeated for degree credit.