HANDBOOK FOR MASTER OF ARTS DEGREE IN POLITICAL SCIENCE

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1 ACADEMIC YEAR: HANDBOOK FOR MASTER OF ARTS DEGREE IN POLITICAL SCIENCE

2 EASTERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE M.A. DEGREE I. Graduation Requirements. In order to earn the M.A. in Political Science, a student must complete either a total of 31 credit hours for the thesis option, or 33 credit hours for the comprehensive examination option, and have a cumulative GPA of at least All students will complete 12 hours of course work for a major concentration and six hours for a minor concentration. Students are required to take core courses in their major field. Students majoring in American Government and Politics must take two of the following core courses: PLS 4853, 5073, 5173, or Students majoring in Comparative Politics/International Relations must take both PLS 5023 and Students majoring in Public Administration must take PLS PLS 5001 and PLS 5053 are required of all graduate students who enter the program beginning in the fall semester, For students interested in research methods beyond PLS 5053, independent study (PLS 5990) options may be available. A minimum of 21 credit hours in the thesis option must be completed in courses exclusive of independent study (5990), thesis (5950), internship (5980) and special courses and workshops ( ). The comprehensive examination option must include a minimum of 23 semester hours exclusive of independent study (5990), internship (5980), and special courses and workshops ( ). No more than nine semester hours taken at the 4750 to 4999 level will count toward the M.A. degree, except in unusual circumstances. No course in which a student receives a grade below "C" counts toward the M.A. degree. CONCENTRATIONS AVAILABLE: (Core Courses in bold) American Government and Politics: PLS 4774, 4853, 5073, 5153, 5163, 5173, 5273, 5843 Comparative Politics/International Relations: PLS 4823, 4933, 5023, 5033, 5043, 5133, 5433, 5533, 5843 Public Administration/Public Policy: PLS 4793, 4873, 4893, 5153, 5163, 5543, 5843 Hours earned in independent study (5990), thesis (5950), internship (5980) and special courses and workshops ( ) will not count toward completion of major and minor requirements. Consult with the graduate coordinator in advance to determine which concentration requirements will be met by PLS 5843 (Topical Seminar in Public Policy). PLS 4903, 4913, 4923 and 4943 count only as electives and not toward a concentration. There will be no substitutions for any of the major and minor area courses. In addition, a course used to meet the requirements of one concentration cannot be counted for another (i.e., no double-counting). 2

3 II Advisement. The student should consult with the graduate coordinator before registration. Each graduate student has the responsibility to understand the degree requirements, as listed in the Graduate Catalog, which is available online. The graduate coordinator serves as your primary academic advisor, though other graduate faculty members may be consulted for academic and professional advice. III. Options for the Degree. Option 1: Thesis. The thesis carries a maximum of six hours of credit. Prior to enrolling for thesis hours, the student must have completed the Written Statement of Intent: Master s Thesis in Political Science, which is found near the end of this Handbook. The student will choose a thesis advisor from among the Political Science graduate faculty, and must consult with the Graduate Coordinator and Department Chair in this process. The student must submit a thesis prospectus to his/her thesis advisor and committee members, who must approve the prospectus before the student may proceed with the thesis research and writing. The prospectus will include a well-defined presentation of the research problem, a review of pertinent literature and discussion of the methodology to be used. When the thesis advisor has approved the thesis in final draft, the student will submit the thesis to the other two members of his/her oral examination committee for their review. One member of the thesis committee may be from another department. The committee has the right to require revisions of the thesis before the oral exam takes place; the oral exam will not be scheduled until the committee gives its approval to conduct an oral examination. Committee members may require additional revisions at the time of the oral examination. The original and first copy of the thesis must be deposited with the University Library; an additional copy must be deposited with the Political Science Department. The University also has very specific guidelines on thesis format, which must be followed in order to complete your degree. Option 2: Comprehensive Examinations. Comprehensive examinations will be both written and oral. The written examination covers the student's major concentration; the oral covers both the major and the minor. The examination committee will consist of two Political Science department faculty from the major area chosen by the student for the written portion and a third Political Science department faculty member from the minor area, who will join the committee for the oral examination. For the major area, students must select among faculty who specialize in that area; the minor area committee member must specialize in the student's declared minor. Students must gain the signatures of the three committee members, indicating the intent to take the exam, at least five weeks in advance of the scheduled written examination. A written statement of intent is found near the end of the Handbook. The student takes the comprehensive examinations near the completion of his/her course work. Students will prepare for the examination by obtaining a copy of a reading list designed by 3

4 Political Science graduate faculty members. This reading list will be revised and updated each year by faculty teaching in each of the three concentrations. Written questions will draw from this reading list and will be prepared through consultation with the three faculty members selected by the student. Students are expected to demonstrate a proficiency of key authors, theories, and methods used in the major and minor concentrations on the comprehensive exam. A copy of the student's written examination with faculty comments will be placed in the student's permanent file, along with faculty comments on the student's performance during the oral portion of the examination. The student has the right to retake either portion of the examination one time in the case of the failure to pass, and proceeding to the oral examination requires the student to earn a passing evaluation from both faculty evaluating the written portion. IV. Oral Examinations. For both options, the student s advisor will post the date and time of the examination in the department office. The student must consult with the graduate coordinator when scheduling the exam date. Students should consult with all members of the oral exam committee prior to the exam. For Option 1, the thesis will be available to members of the department at least one week prior to the oral examination. The oral examination stage of Option 2 will be announced to the department at least one week in advance. Faculty not on an oral examination committee may attend and ask questions of the candidate, but only committee members are eligible to vote on the candidate. V. Cheating Policy on Comprehensive Exams Any student to be found in violation of Eastern Illinois University s policies on academic integrity, including cheating on a comprehensive exam, will fail the exam and is not eligible to retake the exam that semester. The student will be reported to the Office of Student Standards. After one semester, in a written request addressed to the Political Science Department Assessment and Curriculum Committee, the student may request to retake the exam. This request will only be granted through a majority vote by the Committee. The Graduate Coordinator, or the faculty member who initially caught the student cheating, will not be a voting member on the appeal. Student Research/Professional Development We encourage you to present your research at an academic conference. A number of presentation opportunities exist at the University and elsewhere. Academic presentations are accomplishments that can be listed on your resume and are especially important to students applying to a Ph.D. program or for government research positions. Students who wish to participate may apply to the department for a partial reimbursement of conference expenses. A number of funding awards, including Williams Travel Grants also exist from the Graduate School, which have historically covered most of the travel costs. The best website for information on academic conferences is found at the American Political Science Association s website at 4

5 IMPORTANT INFORMATION 1. The Graduate School requires that your graduate cumulative GPA is at least 3.0 or higher in order to graduate. GPAs are computed on all courses numbered 4750 and above taken for graduate credit at EIU. 2. No more than 9 semester hours of grades below a B are allowed in graduate course work. 3. No course in which a student receives below a C can be counted toward the graduate degree. 4. A minimum of 21 semester hours must be in-resident credit for the comprehensive exam option. For the thesis option, a minimum of 19 semester hours must be in-resident credit. 5. You should prepare a provisional plan of study near the end of your first semester in consultation with the graduate coordinator. 6. Apply for graduation! You should apply to graduate in the semester in which you will take your comprehensive exams or defend your thesis. This application should be processed as early as possible in your final semester and can be done through PAWS. 7. Any courses taken outside of the department or at another university for graduate credit in our program must be approved by the graduate coordinator. A maximum of three credit hours outside of the field of political science may count toward your study plan. In order to be counted for completion of the master s degree, non-departmental courses must be graduate level courses in a related social science, and must be applicable to your field of study. 8. Consult the appropriate faculty members at least five weeks before you plan to take the written comprehensive examinations and/or defend your thesis. Be certain to consult faculty members of both your major and minor concentrations. You must also gain the signatures of members of your thesis and the department chairman before enrolling for thesis credit hours, and must acquire the signatures of your comprehensive exam committee at least five weeks in advance. 9. Students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in order to take the master s comprehensive examination or defend the master s thesis. 10. Students may apply no more than six hours of online graduate coursework to their graduate study plan. 11. If you plan to graduate in August and plan to defend your thesis or take your comprehensive exam during the summer, consult with the appropriate instructors by the 5

6 end of Spring semester when faculty are most easily accessible. Make sure that you have also applied for graduation early in the summer. 12. EIU s graduate school s web page is It has a great deal of useful information on travel awards, thesis guidelines, and other opportunities available to graduate students. 6

7 7

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