Political Science

  • Banner is made up of three images representing our three branches of government. They include the Capitol building, the White House, and the Supreme Court building

    Department of Political Science

  • President Harrison and CSUN DC Interns, 2013
  • A Conversation with Gov. Michael Dukakis and Gov. Linda Lingle

Graduate Program

The Master’s Program in Political Science at California State University, Northridge offers a wide range of graduate seminars in American Politics, Comparative Politics, and International Relations. It also offers graduate seminars in Methodology and Political Theory. In addition, students may take up to six units of undergraduate 400-level courses in a broad array of areas including Public Policy and Administration and Public Law (see below “Degree Requirements” and “Courses Acceptable for the Master’s Degree”).

The program requires completion of 33 units, consisting of 30 units of coursework and 3 units of the culminating experience. All graduate seminars are offered in the evenings so the program is suitable for working professionals. Students may enroll on either a part-time or full-time basis.

The program is designed to prepare students for a number of career paths, as well as for further graduate study. Graduates of the program have pursued careers in government and non-governmental organizations, taught in community college or high schools, served as campaign managers, worked in the media, or continued to Ph.D. study at other institutions.

Important Links

For Program Applicants (see “Applying for Admission” below) 

For Students in the Program

University Policies and Information

Department Information

Applying for Admission

There are two separate application processes, one involving the University and the other the Political Science Department. Students must submit both the University and Departmental Applications. The Political Science Department admits students in two categories: Classified or Conditionally Classified.

University Application

To apply to the University, please go to the CSU Mentor. Click the term you are applying for.

Please be aware that the University deadline may not coincide with that of the Department (see “Departmental Application” below). Please check CSUN Admissions and Records or the CSU Mentor website for more information.

For University Admissions and Applications Information, contact Admission and Records at (818) 677-3799 or send an email from the Contact Page.

Departmental Application

Deadlines to apply for the Graduate Program are no later than April 15th for Fall Semester and October 15th for Spring Semester.

Application for Graduate Admission

      At the above application site, you will be asked to submit the following:

  1. Transcripts of all college level undergraduate and graduate work done at all institutions attended;
  2. A one-page resume showing dates of education and work experiences;
  3. A one-page statement of purpose written by the candidate indicating objectives for graduate study.
  4. A sample of the applicant’s writing ability (example: an academic paper from an advanced undergraduate course)

You will be also asked to provide the email addresses of two referees who will write a letter of recommendation for you. Each referee will be contacted separately by email to submit the letter online. GRE not required.

Inquiries to:

Dr. Keiko Hirata
Department of Political Science
210 Sierra Hall
California State University, Northridge
18111 Nordhoff Street Northridge, CA 91330-8254
Email: keiko.hirata@csun.edu (subject line: graduate application)

Graduate Student Classification

The Political Science Department admits students in two categories: Classified or Conditionally Classified. Classified students have already met all the reclassification requirements by both the University and the Department. Conditionally classified students, once admitted to the program, must reclassify their status and become classified in order to graduate from the program. Please see below “Conditionally Classified Status” and “Reclassification from Conditional to Classified status.” Also, please see the University’s website on graduate status.

Classified Status

The minimum requirements for a candidate to be admitted under classified status are:

1) a BA or BS degree from an accredited university or college in Political Science or related fields, or completion of “minimum equivalency”* as defined in CSUN Catalog;

2) a GPA of at least 3.25 in all undergraduate and graduate Political Science courses; and

3) a GPA of at least 3.25 in the last 45 units of all course work.

Conditionally Classified Status

1) a BA or BS degree from an accredited university or college in Political Science or related fields, or completion of “minimum equivalency”* as defined in CSUN Catalog;

2) a GPA of at least 3.0 in all undergraduate and graduate Political Science courses; and

3) a GPA of at least 3.0 in the last 45 units of all course work.

*Minimum Equivalency

* Completion of all lower division requirements in Political Science required of the major at CSUN

* Completion of a course in research methods. * Completion of an upper division course in political theory (411, 412, 414).

* Completion of an upper division course in 3 additional areas of Political Science (i.e., American Government, Comparative Government, International Relations, Public Law, Public Administration).

* Completion of an upper division proseminar in one of the 3 areas selected above.

Exceptional Cases that may not meet all the given requirements for minimum equivalency will be considered by the Graduate Committee on petition by the applicant. Specific reasons for the waiver of minimum equivalent requirement must be offered.

Reclassification from Conditional to Classified Status

Conditionally classified students must change their status to classified before they apply for the Master’s Degree and Diploma by fulfilling the following requirements.

1. If the student had a GPA lower than 3.25 in all undergraduate and graduate Political Science courses or in the last 45 units of all course work at the time of admission to the program, the student will need to achieve a GPA of at least 3.25 in at least 9 units in Political Science at CSUN with at least 6 units in 500 level courses.

o No credit or consideration will be given during the reclassification period for POLS 490, 499, or 599.

2. Completion of all other minimum University requirements for admission to graduate standing.

Students denied at least conditional status by the Department, if granted admission by the University, may attempt to make up deficiencies and to reapply for admission. However, no course work taken under this status will count toward the 30 units required for the master's degree. The following courses may not be used to remove deficiencies in GPA or course requirements: POLS 490, 499, and 599.

Degree Requirements (33 units)

A. Minimum of 30 units of approved graduate course work

1. Required Graduate Seminars (6 units)

POLS 570 Seminar in Political Theory (3)

POLS 571 Seminar in Methodology (3)

2. Graduate Seminars (9 units)

One graduate seminar in each of the three areas of Political Science:

a. International Relations POLS 522A-G Seminar in International Relations (3)

b. Comparative Politics POLS 530A-J Seminar in Comparative Politics (3)

c. American Politics POLS 540A-J Seminar in American Politics (3)

3. Graduate Seminars and Electives in Political Science (15 units)

15 additional units. (6 units may be at the 400-level. POLS 411, 412, 414 and 471D are not acceptable.)

B. Culminating Experience (3 units)

Comprehensive Examination in two areas of Political Science selected by the student in consultation with an advisor.

POLS 597 Directed Comprehensive Studies (3)

A study guide for the exam is available.

Courses Acceptable for the Master's Degree

300-level courses in political science do not carry credit for the Master's in Political Science. All 400-level courses except POLS 411412414 and 471D carry credit for the M.A. All 500-level graduate seminars in Political Science are acceptable for credit.