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The University of Texas at Arlington
Graduate Catalog 2002-2004

Department of Political Science
Admissions and Fellowship Criteria | Degree Requirements | Master of Public Administration | Dual Degree Program | Courses

Areas of Study and Degrees

Political Science


Public Administration


(See School of Urban and Public Affairs)



(See Program in Humanities)

Master's Degree Plans

Thesis and Non-Thesis


Dale Story

206 University Hall, 817-272-2991

Graduate Advisor

Victoria Farrar-Myers

412 University Hall, 817-272-5265

Graduate Faculty


Cole, Hekman, Marshall, Story

Associate Professors

Cichock, Clark, Garcia y Griego, Gutierrez, Ignagni, Knerr, Moon, Moore, Simowitz

Assistant Professors

Deen, Farrar-Myers


The program leading to a Master of Arts degree in Political Science emphasizes preparation for service in many areas of our national life, both public and private. Students interested in careers in teaching and research or in leadership roles in the public or private sectors may pursue programs adapted to their individual objectives. The Department of Political Science endeavors to equip students with the research techniques and substantive background for coursework undertaken beyond the master's level. Particular attention is given to newer methodologies and approaches employed by scholars in the field.

Admissions and Fellowship Criteria

The program is committed to a holistic admissions approach. As a result, admissions criteria include: grade point averages, letters of recommendation, personal statements, advanced degrees, leveling courses, graduate courses taken as a degreed student or in another program, and professional work experience. The major purpose of the admissions criteria is to promote access to our program, but maintain standards that will enable the department to determine if the applicant demonstrates the requisite skill level to master the requirements of the program.

Applicants are required to submit an official transcript(s), three (3) letters of recommendation, and a personal statement, and have taken a minimum of 18 hours of political science classes. The department will review the application package in its entirety. The package is evaluated to determine if a student has achieved a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) in the last 60 hours of their undergraduate work as calculated by the Graduate School, and meets other admission requirements. If a student has already earned an advanced degree, the department will evaluate the student's academic performance in obtaining that degree equally with the undergraduate performance. International students must meet the standard (550) on the TOEFL examination.

Given the above standards, the department has established the following guidelines regarding admission status:

  1. If the GPA is 3.00 or greater and the remainder of the application package is satisfactory, then the student would be admitted to our graduate program unconditionally.
  2. 2) If the GPA is between 2.70 and 2.99 and the remainder of the application package is satisfactory, then the student would be admitted to our graduate program on probationary status (discussed below).
  3. 3) If the GPA is between 2.00 and 2.69, the student was an undergraduate political science major with a GPA in political science classes of 3.00 or greater, and the remainder of the application package is satisfactory, then the student would be admitted to our graduate program on probationary status (discussed below).
  4. 4) If the GPA is between 2.00 and 2.69, the student does not satisfy the criteria set forth in the clause (3) above, and the remainder of the application package is satisfactory, then the student's admission decision will be deferred and he/she will be required to take leveling classes (discussed below).

Deferral and Denial

Students with unsatisfactory admissions materials (regardless of GPA) will be deferred until they provide satisfactory materials. If they do not do so, they will be denied admission.

Minimum 18 Undergraduate Hours in Political Science

Students without 18 undergraduate hours in political science or the equivalent (as determined by the Graduate Advisor) will be required to take undergraduate courses to meet this deficiency. Once they complete these courses satisfactorily, students will be admitted on probation. Courses must be approved by the Graduate Advisor and only courses with a "B" or better will count toward this requirement. These courses will not count toward a graduate degree. Students who do not complete the 18-hour (or equivalent) requirement with the required grades will be denied admission.

Provisional Admission

An applicant unable to supply all required documentation prior to the admission deadline, but who otherwise appears to meet admission requirements, may be granted provisional admission.

Probationary Status

Being admitted on probationary status means that the student will be able to take graduate level classes in their first semester after being admitted, but must earn a grade of "A" or "B" in each class during their first 12 hours of graduate coursework in the department. This regulation will be strictly enforced.

Grade Points 2.0-2.69

Students with a GPA of 2.0 to 2.69 and who were undergraduate political science majors with a GPA in political science classes of 3.0 or better will be admitted on probation.

All others who have an overall GPA between 2.0 and 2.69 will have their admission deferred and be required to take up to 18 hours of undergraduate leveling courses approved by the Graduate Advisor. Students must complete each of these courses with a grade of "B" or better or they will be denied admission. This option involves considerable time and cost for a student, and none of the courses will be counted toward a graduate degree. Students are responsible for contacting the Graduate Advisor regarding this option and seeking prior approval for courses taken at U.T. Arlington or another university. If a student drops a leveling course, he/she must re-enroll and complete the course. No substitute courses will be approved. Students are responsible for gaining admission to the program to take leveling courses. If a student successfully completes the leveling course requirement, admission to the graduate program will be probationary. If the student does not complete the leveling course requirement, admission will be denied.


Fellowships, when available, will be awarded on a competitive basis. Nominees for the Graduate School Master's Fellowship in the Political Science master's program will be selected based on the following criteria:

Degree Requirements

The thesis degree plan requires 24 hours of coursework including three hours of methods in Political Science for those who have not had POLS 3310 or its equivalent. Of the remaining 21 hours, at least one course each must be taken from four of the following six areas:

Students should consult the Political Science Graduate Student Handbook for regulations on transfer courses, undergraduate courses, conferences, internships, and special courses. It is recommended that students complete at least one general field seminar (5300, 5301, 5302, 5303) prior to taking the topics courses. See the Graduate Advisor for more detail.

The non-thesis degree plan requires a minimum of 36 hours, including three hours of methodology, and courses from four of the six areas.

All candidates for the degree of Master of Arts with a major in political science must pass a final comprehensive examination, written, oral, or both written and oral. The scope, content, and form of the examination will be determined by the student's supervising committee. In the event of failure of the final comprehensive examination, the student may petition the Committee on Graduate Studies to retake the examination on a date no sooner than 60 days after the first examination. Students will not be permitted more than one reexamination after failure of the initial examination.

International Studies Option

The International Studies option of the Master of Arts program in Political Science emphasizes comparative politics and international politics within the framework of Political Science. This option requires courses from three of six areas of Political Science and 12 hours in comparative politics and/or international politics. Students must have three hours of a methods course.

U.S. Political Institutions and Processes Option

The U.S. Political Institutions and Processes option of the Master of Arts program in Political Science emphasizes political behavior and processes and public law and jurisprudence within the framework of political science. This option requires courses from three of six areas of Political Science and 12 hours in political behavior and processes and/or public law and jurisprudence. Students must have three hours of a methods course.

Master of Public Administration

The Department of Political Science participates in the interdisciplinary Master of Public Administration along with the School of Urban and Public Affairs (see the School of Urban and Public Affairs, Program in Public Administration).

Dual Degree Program

Students in political science may participate in a dual degree program whereby they can earn a Master of Arts in political science and a Master of Arts in criminal justice. By participating in a dual degree program, students can apply a number of semester hours jointly to meet the requirements of both degrees, thus reducing the total number of hours which would be required to earn both degrees separately. The number of hours which may be jointly applied ranges from nine to 18 hours, subject to the approval of Graduate Advisors from both programs. To participate in the dual degree program, students must make separate application to each program and must submit a separate program of work for each degree. Those interested in a dual degree program should consult the appropriate Graduate Advisor(s) for further information on course requirements. See also the statement on "Dual Degree Programs" in the general information section of this catalog.

The grade of R (research in progress) is a permanent grade; it cannot be changed by completing course requirements in a later semester. To receive credit for an R-graded course, the student must continue to enroll in the course until a passing grade is received.

An incomplete grade (the grade of X) cannot be given in a course that is graded R, nor can the grade of R be given in a course that is graded X. To receive credit for a course in which the student earned an X, the student must complete the course requirements. A grade of X cannot be changed by enrolling again in the course in which an X was earned. At the discretion of the instructor, a final grade can be assigned through a change of grade form.

Three-hour thesis courses and three- and six-hour dissertation courses are graded R/F/W only (except social work thesis courses). The grade of P (required for degree completion for students enrolled in thesis or dissertation programs) can be earned only in six- or nine-hour thesis courses and nine-hour dissertation courses. In the course listings below, R-graded courses are designated either "Graded P/F/R" or "Graded R." Occasionally, the valid grades for a course change. Students should consult the appropriate Graduate Advisor or instructor for valid grade information for particular courses. (See also the sections titled "R" Grade, Credit for Research, Internship, Thesis or Dissertation Courses and Incomplete Grade in this catalog.)

Political Science (POLS)

Course fee information is published in the online Student Schedule of Classes at Please refer to this Web site for a detailed listing of specific course fees.

5100. MASTER'S COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION. Required of all non-thesis Master of Arts students in the semester of their graduation. Graded P/F/R.

5300. U.S. NATIONAL POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS (3-0). This course focuses on the politics, processes and policies of American politics and is designed to expose students to a variety of topics and approaches. This course will be a survey of several subfields within American politics,
including the presidency, Congress, courts, elections and voting behavior, public opinion, parties and interest groups.

5301. CONTEMPORARY JUDICIAL POLITICS AND BEHAVIOR (3-0). Process and decision- making of the American judiciary with emphasis on contemporary constitutional issues.

5302. TRENDS IN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND POLICY MANAGEMENT (3-0). Recent literature in organizational theory, government restructuring, and policy management problems.

5303. COMPARATIVE POLITICAL SYSTEMS (3-0). Theories and concepts relating to the scope of comparative politics and methods of comparing various aspects of the political system.

5310. TOPICS IN THEORY AND METHODOLOGY (3-0). Empirical and normative theories for political analysis. 1. Empirical Theory and Research Methods 2. Normative Theory. (May be repeated for credit when topics vary.)

5311. TOPICS IN U.S. NATIONAL POLITICS: INSTITUTIONS, PROCESS AND BEHAVIOR (3-0). This course will focus on the specific aspects of the U.S. national governing institutions, processes, and behavior. A single aspect of U.S. politics will be examined in a given semester. Topics include the following: (May be repeated for credit when topics vary.) 1. Campaigns and Elections 2. Public Opinion 3. Parties and Interest Groups 4. Ethnic Groups and the Nation State 5. Women in the Political Process 6. Congressional Behavior 7. The Presidency 8. Separation of Powers 9. Special topics in the Presidency 10. Special topics in U.S. National Politics.

5312. TOPICS IN COMPARATIVE POLITICS AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS (3-0). Treatment of emerging and established nations, U.S. foreign policy and international relations. (May be repeated for credit when topics vary.) 1. Political Systems of Russia and Eastern Europe 2. The Politics of Asia and the Far East 3. The Politics of Constitutional Democracies 4. Latin American Politics 5. U.S.-Mexico Relations 6. U.S. Immigration Policy 7. Theories of International Conflict 8. Special Topics in Comparative Politics 9. Special Topics in International Relations.

5313. TOPICS IN PUBLIC LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE (3-0). The role of U.S. national and state courts in policy making, constitutional law, and the examination of the evolution and nature of law in the United States. (May be repeated for credit when topics vary.) 1. U.S. Supreme Court 2. Civil Rights and Liberties 3. Federalism 4. American Legal System 5. State Court Systems 6. Special Topics in Public Law.

5314. TOPICS IN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND POLICY MAKING (3-0). U.S. national policy making and program management, state and urban policy making and administration. (May be repeated for credit when topics vary.) 1. Public Budgeting and Fiscal Policies 2. Energy and Environmental Politics and Policy 3. Health Care Politics and Policy Making 4. Public Policy Analysis 5. State and Local Politics and Policies (also offered as URPA 5204; credit will be granted only once) 6. Urban Administration 7. The Politics of Governmental Reform 8. U.S. Public Policy and the Mexican-American Community 9. Special Topics in Policy Making.

5391. CONFERENCE COURSE IN POLITICAL SCIENCE. Research and reading in a specialized field under the direction of a member of the graduate faculty. Graded P/F/W.

5398, 5698. THESIS. Original research designed to augment existing studies of problems or topics related to one of the major fields of study. 5398 graded R/F only; 5698 graded P/F/R.


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