MA Program

The MA in Political Science is an intellectually transformative one-year program featuring courses taught by leading scholars with access to the resources of a world-class research University. The program accepts around thirty students from across Canada and around the world, who concentrate either in Political Theory or Political Science.

Program Requirements: Refer to the SGS Calendar for the various program requirements by field.

Political Science: The MA in political science emphasizes the development of research and analytical skills and offers an opportunity to explore a political issue in significant depth. The program has three pillars: training in research design; a major research paper (similar to a thesis); and the opportunity to create a specialized program of study from over thirty graduate level seminars. All students enroll in a year-long, cohort building seminar that provides the opportunity to formulate a research project and receive feedback on work-in-progress. Students can focus on international relations, Canadian politics, development studies, public policy, or comparative politics. We also offer new courses in Indigenous politics and computational social science.

Political Theory: The MA in Political Theory allows students to concentrate their studies in one of the department’s traditional areas of strength. Our large and diverse group of faculty offer a wide range of courses in the history of political thought, normative theory, and critical approaches (Black, Postcolonial, and Indigenous political thought, feminist theory, Buddhist political theory). Students in this stream will normally take eight graduate courses, of which at least four will be in political theory. They are required to take at least two courses outside the theory area.

Why choose the Political Science MA?

Outstanding Value: Domestic tuition is $6210 (2023-24) plus fees (slightly over $8000 in total). Many of our students receive grants from the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) that cover the entire cost of domestic tuition. You can find out more about your eligibility here. After completing the MA, graduates have gone on to doctoral study at top ranked universities such as Harvard, Johns Hopkins, University of Chicago, and the University of Toronto. Alumni of our MA program teach at universities such as Stanford and McGill.

Career preparation:

Specialization. Eight collaborative programs provide the opportunity to tailor your degree by drawing on resources from the broader university: Contemporary East and Southeast Asian Studies; Development Policy & Power; Diaspora and Transnational Studies; Environmental Studies; Ethnic and Pluralism Studies; Jewish Studies; Sexual Diversity Studies; Women and Gender Studies

Major Research Paper: The Major Research Paper is intended to provide an opportunity for MA students to apply their disciplinary skills/training in developing a substantial original research project. Normally MRPs are between 10,000 and 15,000 words in length. A three-to-five-page project outline is submitted early in the Winter term, specifying the main research questions, the relationship to existing literature and the proposed approach and relevant empirical materials. The Master’s Research Seminar instructor has formal supervisory responsibility for guiding and grading MRPs, but students are encouraged to work with faculty specializing in their area of research interest. MRPs frequently build on and extend research papers done within a course framework. Most MRPs are completed over the summer term.


Program Admission Requirements: Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Department of Political Science’s additional admission requirements stated below.

  • Cumulative grade average equivalent to a University of Toronto B+ or better in an appropriate bachelor’s degree program. Preference will be given to applicants with outstanding academic records and a strong background in political science.
  • Admission is competitive. Enrolment in the program is limited, and meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. All applicants are considered on their individual merit by a departmental admissions committee. Applicants lacking an adequate background in political science may be required to complete additional undergraduate courses before being considered for admission. Such work should be undertaken in consultation with the MA supervisor.
  • Applicants must submit a complete application according to instructions on the department’s website.

Funding Options: As the MA program is unfunded in terms of guaranteed departmental funding, we often recommend applicants to apply for any external grants or scholarships they may be eligible for. The School of Graduate Studies has a comprehensive list on their website here. The two biggest one recommended are the following: