Most of our students pursue a Master of Arts (M.A.) in political science in one of our three concentration areas: public policy, global politics, and American politics. This is a 30 credit program where full time students take three courses per semester and typically graduate in two years. The low-residency online option is available for this degree, and students can choose either the thesis or creative component. Our curriculum is flexible enough that a student could actually fulfill the requirements for two of the concentrations in two years. View the full details of the M.A. program.

Typical careers for graduates with this degree include:

Public Policy

Many federal, state, and local government jobs require at least a Master’s degree. In other cases, a Master’s degree can increase your chances of moving forward to a better position. Our public policy option explores the ins and outs of policy implementation, theories of organizations, policy and program evaluation, public management, ethics and public policy, and specific policy areas such as energy policy or information policy.

Global Politics

In a world that is increasingly interconnected, you can study politics from a global perspective. You can explore areas like war, terrorism, or international trade. You can study political systems in particular parts of the world, such as China or Latin America. A global politics concentration is a great way to prepare for a government job that has an international focus, such as the State Department, or for jobs in the private sector where it is important to understand the larger global context. It is also a great way to prepare for pursuing a Ph.D.

American Politics

Iowa State is well-positioned for the study of American Politics. Because of the Iowa Caucuses, there is a tremendous amount of opportunity for working on or studying campaigns and elections. You can also study social movements and the impact of technology and social media on contemporary American politics. You can also explore the political institutions that shape American politics, such as Congress and the Supreme Court. Your focus can also be on city and county level government. You can pursue work with state or local government, pursue a Ph.D., or use that methodological training you have received in the private sector.