Howard University Graduate School
Office of Educational Affairs
Graduate Programs

The Department of Political Science offers degree programs leading to the Master of Arts in Political Science; Master of Arts in Public Administration with specialties in Public Administration, Public Policy Analysis and International Development; and Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science.

Seven academic fields of concentration are offered: Black Politics , American Government and Political Behavior , Public Administration and Public Policy , Comparative Government , International Relations , Political Theory , and Political Economy . Applicants who do not indicate a particular academic field will be considered for admission to the master's degree program in Political Science. 

Courses in the Political Economy area will be cross listed under the Comparative Politics, Public Administration, and International Relations fields. New students will not be assigned to the Political Economy field until the Political Science Department makes a final determination about the status of the Political Economy field.

Political Science
General Admission Requirements

A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is preferred and a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in major course work is required. Each graduate department may have additional "special admission requirements" which are noted on this page.

  • Completed on-line application and signature page or
  • Download the paper application (HTML) | (Acrobat)
  • The non-refundable $45 application fee (Waivers accepted for FAMU Feeder Program and McNair Scholars)
  • Official transcripts must be submitted directly from the Registrar’s Office from ALL colleges and universities attended
  • GRE Scores (Only official score reports are accepted within 5 years of the test date)
  • Statement of Academic and Research Interest
  • Autobiographical Sketch (Personal biography)
  • Resume
  • Three letters of recommendation Word

For International Applicants

In addition to the requirements listed above you must meet the following:

  • Official transcripts, certificates and/or mark/grade sheets must be sent directly from the college or university to the Office of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions, and must show proof of degree(s) earned, courses taken and marks/grades received. Also, ALL transcripts must be evaluated by World Education Services ( or AACRAO ( and be forwarded to Graduate Recruitment and Admissions.
  • TOEFL Scores (Minimum computer-based score of 213 is required and only official score reports are accepted within 2 years of the test date)
Special Admission Requirement

The Department of Political Science only accepts applicants for the Master of Arts in Political Science and the Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science for the Fall semester. Applications are accpeted year-round for the Master of Public Administration program.

Applicants must have an undergraduate baccalaureate degree with at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA, or the equivalent, from an accredited institution of higher learning. The undergraduate degree should be in Political Science or a related discipline.

Special Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

All students enrolled in the masters degree program must satisfy course requirements in two fields of concentration, including a major and minor area of concentration. The total number of credits required for an M.A. degree, inclusive of courses in quantitative methodology (which also satisfy research tool requirements) is 33. Students must satisfy the following provisions:

  1. A Major Field Concentration: Four courses in a particular field, i.e., American Government, Political Theory, etc.

  2. A Minor Concentration: Three courses (not including independent study) from a sub-field other than the student's major field of concentration. The faculty in each field will determine the courses that constitute a minor concentration.

  3. Master's Thesis Option: Students who choose to write a Master's thesis must complete a total of 21 credit hours in two fields (major and minor) as described above and six credits in political science methodology which also satisfies research tool requirements. Six credits will be awarded for an M.A. Thesis which must be written under the direction of a Graduate Faculty member, be evaluated by a three-member committee and successfully defended.

  4. Non-Thesis Option Paper: Students who choose to write a non-thesis option paper must complete 21 credit hours in two fields (major and minor as defined above), 6 credit hours in political science research methodology (which would also satisfy a research tool requirement); and two additional courses or seminars. The non-thesis option paper must be written in one of these courses or seminars under the direction of a graduate faculty member, evaluated by a three-member faculty committee and successfully defended.

  5. Qualifying MA. Examination: Each master's degree candidate must pass a comprehensive examination as is required of all students. A grade point average of 3.0 is required to take the examination. The department's Graduate Program Bulletin should be consulted for additional details about the examination.

Doctor of Philosophy

Students with a master's degree, or its equivalent, from an accredited institution may be admitted into the Doctor of Philosophy program upon submission of the necessary documents and approval by the Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid. Applicants must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5 in all work above the baccalaureate level. Students who have engaged in previous study at Howard University must submit letters from at least three faculty members in the Department of Political Science.

Degree Requirements

Candidates for the Ph.D. degree must complete a minimum of 48 credit hours beyond the master's degree. Each student is also required to satisfy course requirements in three fields of concentration; two fields defined as major concentrations, and one as a minor concentration. Students should consult the Graduate Study in Political Science Bulletin, for details pertaining to the options available for satisfying field requirements for the Ph.D. degree.

Doctoral students must pass a written comprehensive examination in two major fields of concentration. To take the comprehensive examination, a student must have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Each student must also satisfy two research tool requirements. The first research tool consists of two courses: 211-217-01 and 211-254-01. The second research tool may be 211-257-01, 211-279-01, and a foreign language, or some other research tool approved by the department. Grades lower than B are not acceptable as passing grades for these other courses. Each Ph.D. student must also write a dissertation on a topic approved by a faculty committee as a dissertation proposal. Completed dissertations must be orally defended by the candidate. Other rules and regulations which govern the pursuit of the Ph.D. degree are contained in Rules and Regulations for the Pursuit of Academic Degrees prepared by the Graduate School.

Research Tool Requirements

The research tool is designed to expose students to the various technical and non-technical approaches available to political scientists for conducting research. Each student in the M.A. program is required to satisfy a research tool requirement by completing the following two courses with a grade of B or higher for each course:

Methods of Political Science (211-217-01)

Behavioral Research Methods (211-254-01)

Master of Arts in Public Administration (MAPA)

Individuals with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0, or higher, from an accredited institution of higher learning in the United States, or any graduate with equivalent qualifications from a foreign institution of higher learning is eligible to apply. While students from a variety of academic backgrounds may apply for admission, those with backgrounds in political science, public administration or economics have the best chance of gaining admission given the nature of the MAPA curriculum.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Arts in Public Administration degree program consists of a two-year, four-semester course of study requiring 48 credit hours distributed as follows: Core Curriculum: 30 credit hours. Field Concentration: 12 hours. Economics Prerequisites: Principles of Economic I and II

Research Methods Course: Research Methods in Public Administration, 211-235 (This course includes a carefully supervised research design project)

A 6-Credit Internship: Required of students who lack a significant professional work background. While "in-service" students with a relevant background would be exempt from the internship, they are required to complete 6 credits of electives in place of the internship.

Non-Thesis Option Paper with an Oral Defense

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