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 (15 units)

  • Govt 200 Method and Scope in Political Science (STAT 001, or equivalent, prerequisite)
  • Govt 210 or 219 Political Theory
  • Govt 230 or 240 International Relations or Comparative Government
  • Govt 250 or 260 American Government or Political Process
  • Govt 280 or 284 State Politics or Urban Politics

Other Course Requirements (12 units)

Four 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. Students must be advanced to candidacy before they can enroll in Government 295 and Government 299.

Of these twelve 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 must choose to emphasize two of the following four fields:

Political Theory

  • Govt 210 Political Theory
  • Govt 219 Specialized Studies in Political Theory

American Government/Public Law/Public Policy

  • Govt 220 Public Law
  • Govt 250 Basic Issues of American Government
  • Govt 260 Political Processes

International Relations/Comparative Government

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

California State and Local Government

  • Govt 280 State Politics
  • Govt 284 Urban Politics

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: Masters Project
  • Plan C: Comprehensive exams. Students are to select 2 of the 4 fields and demonstrate a general competence in those areas

Students are not permitted to enroll in the culminating requirement until they have Advanced to Candidacy, obtained a sponsor for their thesis or exams, 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.


The CSUS Government M.A. does not require a foreign language. Students who plan to seek admission to a Ph.D. program are advised, however, that many still impose a foreign language requirement on all students and most Ph.D. programs now impose a quantitative techniques requirement as well. Thus, the recommendation students take a course in statistics.


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