Graduate Catalog
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
Political Science
College of Liberal Arts & Human Sciences
Major Williams contains offices for various departments in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. It was converted from a residence hall in the late 1990s. Entire building housed 352; contains 64,673 sq. ft. The building is named for Marine Maj. Lloyd W. Williams, class of 1907, alumnus hero of World War I, to which has been attributed one of the more famous statements of that war: "Retreat? Hell, no!..."
531, Mail Code:0130 220 Stanger Street Blacksburg VA 24061
Major Williams Hall
Degree(s) Offered:
• MA
MA Degree in Political Science
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Offered In:
Email Contact(s):
Web Resource(s):
Phone Number(s):
Application Deadlines:
Fall: Aug 01
Spring: Jan 01
Summer I: May 01
Summer II: Jun 01
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Major Williams Hall

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Department Chair : Timothy Luke
Graduate Program Director : Andrew Scerri
Emeriti Faculty: Richard Rich; Richard Shingles; Charles Taylor; Charles Walcott
Professors: Francois Debrix; Karen Hult; Farida Jalalzai; Bettina Koch; Ilja Luciak; Timothy Luke; Michael Moehler; Ioannis Stivachtis; Edward Weisband; Laura Zanotti
Associate Professors: Clair Apodaca; Mauro Caraccioli; Priya Dixit; Laura Jensen; Deborah Milly; Wayne Moore; Scott Nelson; Besnik Pula; Patrick Roberts (National Capital Region); Andrew Scerri
Assistant Professors: Paul Avey; Binio Binev; Aaron Brantly; Cara Daggett; Lillian Frost; Bikrum Gill; Nicholas Goedert; Caitlin Jewitt; Karin Kitchens; Desiree Poets; Audrey Reeves; Clara Suong; Fabian Wendt
University Distinguished Professor: Timothy Luke
Edward S. Diggs Endowed Chair in the Social Sciences: Edward Weisband
Center for Public Administration and Policy: Laura Jensen; Patrick Roberts (National Capital Region)
Adjunct Faculty: Arnold Dupuy (Virtual); Adam Newmark (Virtual); Luke Plotica (Virtual)
Collegiate Assistant Professors: Brandy Faulkner; Courtney Thomas

Political Science

The Master of Arts in Political Science was established in 1969. Currently, the program enrolls 20 to 25 full-time students on campus each year and approximately 20 to 25 off-campus students in the Online Master of Arts in Political Science Program (OLMA/PSCI). This relatively small scale provides excellent opportunities for close student-faculty interaction in both the residential and online degree programs.

The Master of Arts Program covers all sub-fields of the discipline, and it prepares students for careers in academe, government, non-profit and for-profit organizations. It is especially well suited for students who want to acquire sophisticated theoretical and analytical skills before either pursuing a doctoral degree in political science or entering careers in public or private research organizations. The usual course of study is four semesters of full-time graduate work. The first three semesters are used primarily for required foundation courses and elective coursework while the fourth is used to write a master's thesis. In recent years, M.A. students in political science have enrolled in this program from a wide variety of American colleges and universities. Students have also entered the M.A. program from a number of other countries including Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, England, France, Germany, Greece, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey. Recent graduates have entered doctoral studies in Ph.D. programs at Arizona, Arizona State, California-Berkeley, California-Irvine, California-San Diego, Colorado State, Connecticut, Delaware, Denver, Duke, Florida International University, Florida State, Georgia, Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), Indiana, Iowa, Johns Hopkins University, Kentucky, London School of Economics, Massachusetts-Amherst, Maryland, Minnesota, Michigan State, Nebraska, North Carolina, Northeastern, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Ohio State, Oregon, Oxford, Strathclyde, University of South Carolina, SUNY-Albany, SUNY-Stony Brook, Syracuse, Texas A&M, Texas-Austin, Washington University-St. Louis, Utah, Wisconsin, Virginia Tech, and Virginia. Other graduates have taken professional positions in government agencies, political parties, interest groups, research institutes and non-profits.

On-Line M.A. Program in Political Science

The On-Line Master of Arts (OLMA) program in Political Science began as an innovative experiment in graduate education. The online program in Political Science is identical in course content, requirements, and workload to the residential M.A. degree program. The faculty, among the nation's most professionally active political scientists, are well-known for their research publications, editorial board service, research grants, and classroom teaching. The OLMA program features a broad array of methodologically sophisticated, theoretically grounded, and empirically oriented graduate courses, to students in the Commonwealth, across the United States, and around the world.

The M.A. degree requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate-level coursework including successful completion of a thesis. Students engage in independent research projects closely supervised by a committee of at least three faculty members selected by the student subject to faculty availability. Students are required to submit and orally defend (in person, via teleconference or video conference) a thesis proposal in the academic term preceding the semester in which they plan to write the thesis. The completed thesis is evaluated by the student's faculty committee and must be successfully defended before the committee (in person, via teleconference or video conference).

Offered In (Virtual, Blacksburg)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.0
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
    • Paper
      • 600.0
      • Writing : 4.5
    • iBT
      • 100.0
      • Writing : 24.0
  • GRE--Recommended
The degree requirements for the MA are 21 hours of coursework and 9 hours of Thesis and Research. Three classes are required: 
  • PSCI 5115-Research Methods I (3 cr.)
  • PSCI 5116-Research Methods II (3 cr.)
  • PSCI 5214-Contemporary Political Theory (3 cr.)
  • 4 electives (12 cr.).

Research Lab

504 Major Williams

Craig L. Brians Research Lab

The Craig L. Brians Research Lab is open to graduate students 24 hours a day. It contains several computers linked to the Internet and campus networks. A variety of research and word processing software is available for these machines. Knowledge of these resources combined with emphasis on quantitative and qualitative methods are assets to students who anticipate working in a public or private agency or at an educational institution. Students also have access to a wide variety of data sets through the University's membership in the Intercollegiate Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR).

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