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About the University of Calgary
Graduate Studies Calendar 2021-2022 Program Descriptions Political Science POLI
Political Science - POLI
Contact Information

Location: Social Sciences Building, Room 756
Program number: 403.220.5921
Fax: 403.282.4773
Email address: poligrad@ucalgary.ca
Web page URL: poli.ucalgary.ca

1. Degrees and Specializations Offered

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Master of Arts (MA), thesis-based
Master of Arts (MA), course-based

Both course-based and thesis-based MA programs include significant independent research, are SSHRC-eligible, and are appropriate for students who intend to pursue doctoral studies.

The MA and PhD programs are offered as full-time programs only.

2. Admission Requirements

In addition to the Faculties of Graduate Studies and Arts requirements, the Department requires:

Master of Arts

a) A minimum grade point average of 3.40 on a four-point scale over the last 60 units taken in the applicant’s undergraduate program.

b) Normally a four-year BA in Political Science or a strong background in Political Science of at least 30 units in Political Science courses. Special consideration may be given to those who have not achieved this background.

c) All students whose primary language is not English are required to take a language proficiency test: TOEFL (Internet-based) with a minimum score of 105; IELTS with a minimum score of 7.5; a CAEL score of 70 with no section less than 70; or a PTE with a minimum score of 75. This requirement can also be met by completing the Academic Communication Certificate with a minimum grade of "A-" in each course.

d) Two reference letters.

e) A statement of research interests.

f) Sample of written work, preferably a paper submitted for a Political Science course.

g) For applicants to the thesis-based Master of Arts, email confirmation from a potential supervisor who is interested in supervising the student’s work is required.

Doctor of Philosophy

a) A minimum grade point average of 3.70 on a four-point scale over a Master's degree.

b) Normally a Master of Arts in Political Science or a strong background in Political Science. Special consideration may be given to those who have not achieved this background.

c) All students whose primary language is not English are required to take a language proficiency test: TOEFL (Internet-based) with a minimum score of 105; IELTS with a minimum score of 7.5; a CAEL score of 70 with no section less than 70; or a PTE with a minimum score of 75. This requirement can also be met by completing the Academic Communication Certificate with a minimum grade of "A-" in each course.

d) Two reference letters.

e) A statement of research interests.

f) Sample of written work, preferably a paper submitted for a Political Science course.

g) Email confirmation from a potential supervisor who is interested in supervising the student's work.

3. Application Deadline

Deadline for the submission of completed applications is available on the Future Students website:

Master of Arts (course-based): ucalgary.ca/future-students/explore-programs/political-science-ma-course

Master of Arts (thesis-based): ucalgary.ca/future-students/graduate/explore-programs/political-science-master-arts-thesis-based

Doctor of Philosophy: ucalgary.ca/future-students/graduate/explore-programs/political-science-doctor-philosophy-thesis-based

4. Advanced Credit

The applicant must make advanced credit requests as part of the admission process. Credit will not normally be given for course work taken as part of another completed degree/diploma. See Advanced Credit.

If graduate-level courses are taken as post-BA courses, the Graduate Program Director may allow the student to claim up to 6 units at our graduate level.

Applicants with knowledge of research methods equivalent to Political Science 399 may be given advanced standing in Political Science 691. Advanced standing exempts students from taking this course, but they are still required to complete the total number of units required for their degree. Applicants must make advanced standing requests as part of the admission process.

5. Program/Course Requirements

In addition to the Faculties of Graduate Studies and Arts requirements, the Department normally requires the following:

Master of Arts (thesis-based)

a) A minimum of 15 units of coursework, which must include the following:

  • at least 9 units of graduate courses in Political Science;
  • at least 6 units and no more than 9 units must be in the student's Primary Field (one of Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, Indigenous Politics, International Relations, or Political Thought);
  • a maximum of 6 units as reading courses;
  • Political Science 691 (see Advanced Credit);
  • and up to 3 units of graduate courses in any area;

b) A written thesis (maximum 30,000 words).

c) Thesis Oral Examination.

Master of Arts (course-based)

A minimum of 24 units of coursework, which must include the following:

  • at least 18 units of graduate courses in Political Science;
  • at least 6 units and no more than 9 units must be in the student's Primary Field (one of Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, Indigenous Politics, International Relations, or Political Thought);
  • a maximum of 6 units as reading courses;
  • Political Science 697 (Major research paper of maximum 9,000 words, exclusive of notes and bibliography);
  • Political Science 691 (see Advanced Credit).

Doctor of Philosophy

a) A minimum of 18 units of coursework, which must include::

  • at least 12 units of graduate courses in Political Science;
  • at least 6 units must be in the student's chosen Primary Field and at least 6 units must be in the student's chosen Secondary Field (Primary and Secondary Fields will consist of any two of Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, Indigenous Politics, International Relations, or Political Thought);
  • a maximum of 6 units as reading courses;
  • Political Science 691 (see Advanced Credit);
  • and up to 3 units of graduate courses in any area.

b) Field of Study Written Examinations.

c) Field of Study Oral Examination.

d) Thesis Proposal and Meeting.

e) Language Requirement (if applicable).

f) Written Thesis.

g) Thesis Oral Examination.

6. Additional Requirements

None.

7. Credit for Undergraduate Courses

The department does not give graduate credit for courses taken below the 600-level, except in special cases.

8. Time Limit

Expected completion time is two years for the thesis-based MA program, one year for the course-based MA program, and four years for the PhD program.

Maximum completion time is four years for a thesis-based master’s program, six years for course-based program; and six years for a doctoral program.

9. Supervisory Assignments

Master of Arts (thesis-based)

An incoming student for the thesis-based program must have a proof of agreement to supervise from one or more faculty members in the student’s proposed area of thesis research. Admission will not be granted without proof that adequate supervision is available during the applicant’s studies. The selection of an eligible Permanent Supervisor is made by mutual agreement between the student, the faculty member, and the Graduate Program Director. A permanent Supervisor should normally be appointed by the end of April of the first year of registration. At the time of appointment, the Permanent Supervisor should be currently active in research in an area related to the student’s interest.

Master of Arts (course-based)

A Supervisor should normally be appointed by January 15th of the first year of registration.

Doctor of Philosophy

An incoming student must have a proof of agreement to supervise from one or more faculty members in the student’s proposed area of thesis research. Admission will not be granted without proof that adequate supervision is available during the applicant’s studies. The selection of an eligible Permanent Supervisor is made by mutual agreement between the student, the faculty member, and the Graduate Program Director. A permanent Supervisor should normally be appointed by the end of April of the first year of registration. At the time of appointment, the Permanent Supervisor should be currently active in research in an area related to the student’s interest.

The Supervisory Committee should be appointed as quickly as possible but no later than three months after the appointment of the Permanent Supervisor.

10. Required Examinations

Doctoral Field of Study Examinations

Political Science doctoral students must successfully complete two Field of Study (FoS) written examinations: (i) one written FoS examination in their chosen Primary Field; and, (ii) a second written FoS examination in their chosen Secondary Field. In addition, students must successfully complete a single oral FoS examination which treats both their Primary and Secondary Fields. For more information, see poli.ucalgary.ca/graduate/current-program-rules-policies.

Thesis Examinations (MA thesis-based and PhD)

Scheduling of the Examination
All members of the Supervisory Committee (if applicable) must have reviewed the student’s draft thesis document before an examination can be scheduled.

Composition of the Committee
The Internal Examiner may be internal to the home program.

11. Research Proposal Requirements

Doctoral students must complete a written Thesis Proposal, which is approved by their Supervisory Committee in a Thesis Proposal Meeting. For more information, see poli.ucalgary.ca/graduate/current-program-rules-policies.

12. Financial Assistance

Financial assistance may be available to qualified students. For information on awards, see the Awards and Financial Assistance section of this Calendar.

Students applying for scholarships must submit their applications to the Department by January 15.