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About the University of Calgary
Graduate Studies Calendar 2019-2020 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

The MA and PhD programs in Political Science 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. 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; MELAB with a minimum score of 86; or PTE with a minimum score of 75. This requirement can also be met by completing Tier III of the International Foundations Program with a minimum grade of "A" on Academic Writing & Grammar III, "A" on Reading Comprehension & Proficiency III, and "A" on Listening Comprehension & Oral Fluency III.

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 your work.

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 pass a language proficiency test: TOEFL (Internet-based) with a minimum score of 105; IELTS with a minimum score of 7.5; MELAB with a minimum score of 86; or PTE with a minimum score of 75. This requirement can also be met by completing Tier III of the International Foundations Program with a minimum grade of "A" on Academic Writing & Grammar III, "A" on Reading Comprehension & Proficiency III, and "A" on Listening Comprehension & Oral Fluency III.

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 your work.

3. Application Deadline

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

Master of Arts: 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.

5. Program/Course Requirements

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

Master of Arts

a) Master of Arts students must complete a minimum of 15 units:

  • At least 9 units must be taken in the Political Science Department at the University of Calgary.
  • At least 6 units and no more than 9 units will be in the student's Primary Field. The student's Primary Field will be one of Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, or Political Thought.
  • A maximum of 6 units can be a reading course.
  • MA students must demonstrate (normally through previous course work) a basic knowledge of research methods equivalent to Political Science 399. Students who cannot do so must take Political Science 691. If students are required to take Political Science 691, it will be included in these 15 units. Students who have an equivalent of Political Science 691 will still be required to take 15 units.

b) A written thesis.

c) Thesis Oral Examination.

Doctor of Philosophy

a) Doctoral students must complete a minimum of 18 units:

  • At least 12 units must be taken in the Political Science Department at the University of Calgary.
  • At least 6 units must be taken in each of the student's chosen Primary Field and at least 6 units must be taken in the student's chosen Secondary Field. A student's Primary and Secondary Fields will consist of any two of Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, or Political Thought.
  • A maximum of 6 units may be reading courses.
  • PhD Students must demonstrate (normally through previous course work) a basic knowledge of research methods equivalent to Political Science 399. Students who cannot do so must take Political Science 691. If students are required to take Political Science 691, it will be included in these 18 units. Students who have an equivalent of Political Science 691 will still be required to take 18 units. 

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

Maximum completion time is four years for a master’s program and six years for a doctoral program.

The Department of Political Science encourages completion of the master’s within two years and the doctorate within four.

9. Supervisory Assignments

Master of Arts

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.

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 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 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.