Frequently Asked Questions

Prospective Students:

An MA in Political Science is a great resume builder. With the knowledge, skills, experiences, and professional connections you gain in our program, you will be prepared for a range of careers. Our alums have gone on to careers in government, the non-profit sector, journalism, and higher education administration, among others. Some of our alums have gone on to law school and have built successful careers in the legal profession. Finally, some of our alums have gone on to PhD programs and to careers in academia.

With an MA degree, you will have more career opportunities. In fact, more than 20 percent of open positions in the U.S. economy prefer or require graduate level education. You will also have increased earning potential, as advanced degree holders earn 30 percent more than those with only a bachelor’s degree.

  1. Students are normally expected to present an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or a 3.2 GPA in the final two years of undergraduate study (last 60 semester hours)
  2. Successful applicants selected for the program generally present a Verbal score of at least 153, a Quantitative score of at least 144, and an Analytical score of at least 4.0. The GRE is only required for applicants whose undergraduate degrees are not from the University of Louisville. Students applying to the Accelerated BA/MA program are also not required to take the GRE. 
  3. Applicants must get two letters of recommendation.
  4. Applicants must submit a personal statement. The statement should be 300-500 words in length (typed) in essay form detailing educational and professional experiences and goals as these relate to the pursuit of graduate studies in the Political Science Department at the University of Louisville.
  5. To begin the application process please click here.

The Department of Political Science has a limited number of graduate assistantships to offer exceptionally qualified full-time students. The availability of these funds varies from year to year. Students awarded these positions are required to work 20 hours per week assisting faculty members with research, teaching, or administrative projects. Compensation normally includes a monthly stipend, health benefits, and the remission of in-state tuition.

The GRE is only required for applicants whose undergraduate degrees are not from the University of Louisville.

We do not offer our core courses online. However, there are online electives you can take in other departments.

Yes. You can take as little as one class per semester as long as you maintain continuous enrollment in the program and finish your degree in six years.

The accelerated BA/MA program allows students to get a head start on the MA degree while completing their BA or BS in Political Science. Students apply to the graduate program in the second semester of their junior year. In their senior year, they can take nine credit hours of graduate coursework. Those credits apply both to the BA/BS in Political Science and to the MA degree, and they are charged at the undergraduate tuition rate. This option allows students to finish the MA degree in two or three semesters after finishing their BA/BS in Political Science.

Please email Dr. Merry with any questions.

The Louis D. Brandeis School of Law and the Department of Political Science of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School have developed a program for interdisciplinary studies that will result in dual degrees in Law and Political Science.

Student participating in the dual degree program will be able to combine Law courses and Political Science courses to create well-defined concentrations of study. Examples include environmental law and politics, negotiations and dispute resolution, administrative law and politics, federalism, international law and politics, comparative law and politics, civil rights and liberties, constitutional law and politics, and race, law, and politics.

Students in the JD/MA program must complete 81 hours in the JD curriculum (instead of the normal 90 hours) and either 21 hours in the MA curriculum (instead of the normal 30 hours) for the Thesis Option or 27 hours in the MA curriculum (instead of the normal 36 hours) for the Non-thesis Option.

Please email Dr. Merry with any questions.

Current Students:

For all three of these courses, the student will fill out an Independent Study formwith a detailed plan of work description and submit it to their faculty supervisor who signs. The form will be forwarded to the registrar’s office, where they will enroll you in the course.

Accelerated students need permission to enroll in graduate classes while they are still an undergraduate. Please contact Brooke Ryder at brooke.ryder@louisville.edu to get permission to enroll.

Please contact the registrar's office at (502) 852-6522 or regoff@louisville.edu

GA positions are available periodically. Please email Dr. Merry to ask about availability. There may also be other GA positions on campus you may be able to apply for.

Core courses are taught on a rotating basis with each course taught at least once every two years. If a core course is offered and you have not taken it, you should register for it then.

  • Students who choose the non-thesis option must complete 33 hours of coursework and three hours of Directed Research (POLS 695). The directed research paper should be based on work the student has engaged in, in one or more graduate seminars. A directed research is usually an extension of a seminar paper. The length is usually 23-35 pages. Please refer to the graduate handbook (page 10) for more information.
  • Students who choose the thesis option must complete 24 hours of coursework and six hours of Thesis Guidance (POLS 699). The six hours of Thesis Guidance can be taken in one semester, usually the final semester of the student’s degree program, or divided across two semesters. The thesis should be an original contribution to the discipline, show an awareness of scholarly work relevant to the thesis topic, and employ methods appropriate to the development of an extended academic project. A thesis is typically between 60 and 85 pages in length and consists of multiple chapters. Please refer to the graduate handbook (page 7) for more information.

Please refer page 8 of the graduate handbook for more information.

Please refer to the graduate handbook for more information.

Students seeking support should apply to the Department of Political Science Graduate Committee. Individuals are eligible to be awarded only one grant each academic year.

Applications should be sent to . No incomplete applications will be considered.

Students must include with their application of the following:

  • An application form that includes a brief explanation of the activity or project for which they are seeking support and a detailed budget.
  • An unofficial transcript.

Students must also obtain a recommendation from a member of the political science faculty


For more information please visit this page.

While our department generally does not offer courses over the summer you can take a relevant elective from another department over the summer. You can also take an independent study, internship, directed research, or thesis if you can find a faculty member who will agree to supervise this course over the summer.

Yes, you can take up to 6 credit hours outside of political science. Please consult with Dr. Merry before registering for this elective so she can make sure the course is relevant to your program of study.

A full-time course load is 9 credit hours per semester.

The most important thing is to make sure you apply for the degree. Degrees are awarded in August, December, and May. Candidates who expect to receive degrees on a particular award date must fill out a degree application online. The degree application process is available through ULink (ulink.louisville.edu). Students must submit their completed application for degrees to the Graduate School on or before the dates specified in the University calendar You must be enrolled in the semester that you plan to graduate. Please refer to this page on the first and last day you can apply to graduate.

Yes! Students may take up to six hours of internship (practicum) credit under the supervision of a faculty member. Note that the total number of credits received from internship credit and independent study credit may not exceed six hours. In particular, students may take six hours of internship credit, or three hours of internship credit and three hours of independent study credit.

We have several pages on our website advertising internships:

Please contact Dr. Merry with any questions.

Yes, please keep in mind that you are limited to 9 credit hours of 500 level coursework. If you took one/both of these courses as an undergraduate at U of L you can take them again as graduate students. Keep in mind that you will be doing extra work beyond the undergraduate requirements. If you are an accelerated student you can take 510/512 for graduate credit as long as you do the extra work required of graduate students.