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Political Science
210 Sierra Hall
CSU Northridge
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA 91330-8254

Hours: M-F (8 a.m. to 5 p.m)
Phone: (818) 677-3488
Fax: (818) 677-4502


Graduate Program


The graduate program in political science is a liberal arts program based upon superior undergraduate preparation. It requires a higher level of achievement, and places greater emphasis upon independent study and research than does the baccalaureate program. Department evaluation and approval is required for admission to either classified or unclassified graduate standing.


Graduate Reading List

Study Guide for the MA Comprehensive Examination

Research Links


Admission Requirements

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.

For information on university's graduate admission policies and requirements and application to the university as a graduate student please go to:


Deadlines to apply for the Graduate Program are no later than April 15th for Fall Semester and October 15th for Spring Semester.  Please be aware that the university deadline may be earlier as the state budget may require cutting off applications.  Please check CSUN Admissions and Records or the CSU Mentor website for more information. 


Admission Requirements for Classified Status

The Department of Political Science requires:

  1. Completion of University requirements for admission to graduate standing.
  2. Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Political Science or completion of "minimum equivalency."
  3. Two Letters of Recommendation.
  4. GPA of at least 3.25 in all undergraduate and graduate Political Science courses.
  5. GPA of least 3.25 in the last 45 units of all course work.
  6. Written statement by applicant indicating career objectives.

Admission Requirements/Conditionally Classified Status

The Department of Political Science requires all of the above requirements listed for classified statues, except the GPA must be at least 3.0 in all undergraduate and graduate Political Science courses, and 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 which 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

  1. Completion of at least 9 units in Political Science at CSUN with at least 6 units in 500 level courses.
    • No credit or consideration will be given during the reclassification period for POLS 490, 498, 499, 598, or 599.
    • GPA of at least 3.25 in these 9 units.
  2. Units taken beyond the 9 units will not count toward the master's degree program until the student formally petitions to be reclassified and is given classified status.
  3. Completion of 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, 498, 499, 598, 599.

Applying for Admission

For Information Regarding Administrative Deadlines, call (818) 677-2138.

For University Admissions and Applications Information, contact Admission and Records at (818) 677-3799

For Departmental Applications and Other Information, contact a Graduate Advisor at (818) 677-7235, or call the Political Science Department at 818) 677-3488, or write to:

Department of Political Science
California State University, Northridge
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA


Degree Requirements

1. Minimum of 30 units of approved graduate work comprised of:
        a. POLS 570 (Seminar in Political Theory).
            POLS 571 ( Seminar in Methodology)
        b. 2 graduate seminars in each of 3 areas of political science (Comparative Politics, American Politics, and International Relations).
        c. 6 additional units, of which may be at the 400 level (POLS 411, 412, 414, or 471D are not acceptable).

2. Comprehensive examination in two areas of political science selected by the student in consultation with the Graduate Advisor and enrollment in POLS 597

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 490, 498, 499 carry credit for the M.A. All 500-level graduate seminars in Political Science are acceptable for credit.


Foreign Language/Statistics Recommendation

In cases where appropriate to the student's fields of specialization and academic career goals, competence in a modern foreign language or in statistics may be recommended by the student's primary subject advisor and Examination Committee, in consultation with the student.