The Master of Arts in Government requires completion of 30 units of course work with a minimum 3.0 grade point average and no grade below a C (not a C-). An outline of degree requirements follows.

Required Courses (18 units)

  • Govt 200 Method and Scope in Political Science 
  • One course in Political Theory: Govt 210 or Govt 219 
  • One course in International Relations or Comparative Government: Govt 230 or Govt 240 
  • One course in California Government and its Political Environment: Govt 250, Govt 270, Govt 280 or Govt 281
  • Two additional courses in one of the three subfields

Other Course Requirements (9 units)

Three additional courses which may be completed from graduate seminars in the Department, from 200-level courses in related fields (6 units allowed with Graduate Coordinator's prior approval), from Government 295 (3 units allowed) and/or from Government 299 (6 units allowed). However, a maximum of 6 units of Government 295 and/or 299 may be applied to the M.A. 

Of these nine units, up to six units may be in 100-level courses within the Government Department, chosen from a pre-approved list compiled by the Graduate Coordinator. Up to 6 units of coursework from the graduate fellows programs (Assembly Fellow, Executive Fellow or Senate Associates Program) can be counted towards the degree.

Each student will choose one concentration among the following three fields:

Political Theory

  • Govt 210 Political Theory
  • Govt 213 Special Topics in American Political Thought
  • Govt 218 International Political Thought
  • Govt 219 Specialized Studies in Political Theory

California and Its Political Environment

  • Govt 250 Basic Issues of American Government
  • Govt 270 Political Behavior and Political Process
  • Govt 280 California Politics
  • Govt 281 Comparative State Government
  • Govt 284 Urban Politics

Students emphasizing California Government Its Political Environment must take Govt 270 and Govt 280 as well as one other course.  It is recommended you take four courses.

International Relations/Comparative Government

  • Govt 230 International Relations
  • Govt 235 American Foreign Policy
  • Govt 236 International Political Economy
  • Govt 239 Globalization
  • Govt 240 Comparative Government and Politics
  • Govt 249 Comparative Politics: Area Studies

Students emphasizing International Relations and Comparative Politics must take three of the above courses.  It is recommended you take four courses.

Upper division undergraduate courses (100-level courses) which may be used toward the M.A. program must be individually approved by the Graduate Coordinator and will involve an additional work component over-and-above what is required for undergraduate students. A list of approved 100-level courses will be available semester-by-semester.


By the time of Advancement to Candidacy, students must enroll in Government 500 and choose either of the following options:

  • Plan A: Masters Thesis
  • Plan B: Comprehensive exams. Students will take one exam in their area of emphasis and demonstrate a general competence in that area.

Students are not permitted to enroll in the culminating requirement until they have Advanced to Candidacy, obtained a sponsor for their thesis, and received the approval of the Graduate Coordinator.

Because many graduate students work during the day, most graduate courses are offered in the late afternoon and evening hours.


Each student must file an application for Advancement to Candidacy, indicating a proposed program of graduate study. This procedure should begin as soon as the classified graduate student has:

  • Removed any deficiencies in Admission Requirements and
  • Completed at least 12 units in the graduate program with a minimum 3.0 grade point average and
  • Selected Plan A or B as a Culminating Requirement and obtained a sponsor for his/her plan.
  • In the case of Plan A, submitted to the Department a 3-page prospectus of his/her thesis which has been approved by the sponsor and the Graduate Coordinator.


The Graduate Coordinator advises all prospective and incoming students.  Once a student is established in the program, his/her adviser is his/her major professor (that is, the professor he/she works most closely with and who supervises his/her thesis or comprehensive exams).


The Department of Government is unable to provide financial assistance to its graduate students.  Graduate students are eligible, however, to apply for the Douglas McDaniel Memorial Scholarship, the Livingston Fellowship, and the Donald R. Gerth Scholarship in Political Science which are available to be awarded each year.  Students seeking assistance should contact the CSUS Financial Aid Office.


All graduate degree programs are subject to general University requirements for graduate degrees, explained in the "Graduate Studies" section of the CSUS Catalog.  The Office of Research and Graduate Studies also has published the Guide to Graduate Studies: The Official CSUS Guide to Policies, Procedures and Format.  This is available at the Hornet Bookstore.

For more information on the graduate degree program contact:

Jim Cox
Professor and Graduate Coordinator
Phone: (916) 278-6378; E-mail:

California State University, Sacramento
Government Department
6000 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95818-6089
Telephone: (916) 278-6202
Fax: (916) 278-6488