Graduate Program

The M.A. program in Political Science prepares students for public service and business careers and/or further study in Political Science, Public Policy or law. Students can choose to enroll in a traditional masters program or apply to the Community Fellows program. Students are encouraged to take the traditional track who are interested in continuing their graduate training beyond the Masters level, teaching in community college or high school, or working in a business setting in which a knowledge of the political process is necessary. Students interested in careers in state or local public service or non-profit work may be best suited for the Community Fellows program, in which the student works for 15 hours/week for a local agency on a project related to community (re)development. Particular emphasis in both tracks is placed on close faculty-student interaction both in classes and hands-on projects with local or regional partners.

Degree Requirements: 

To complete the master's program, students must complete 30 credit hours (a research methods class plus 27 additional credits). A comprehensive examination, research project, or thesis is also required.

Financial Support: 

Teaching assistantships, research assistantships, partial or full tuition remissions or Community Fellowship


Application Requirements:

Applications Deadline/mid-year admissions: The Political Science department has rolling admissions. However, if you would like to be considered for financial aid for the fall semester, you should submit your application by March 15.

Department Highlights: The department consists of faculty members with a wide variety of specialties in American or comparative politics, political thought, public policy, public administration, and public law.

Offering a high degree of collaborative learning experiences with individual faculty and peers, the program provides students with an enriched understanding of politics and policy. The graduate program is designed to optimize the individual student's interests, the rigors of sophisticated research and analysis, and the pursuit of meaningful and rewarding post-graduate work. 

As is the case at many other institutions, the Department of Political Science does not require applicants to the Masters program in Politics and Policy at Lehigh University to take the GRE. However, applicants are welcome to submit GRE scores to supplement their files if they choose to do so. The program requires a transcript, three letters of recommendation with at least two from academics, a resume, and an applicant’s statement of objectives. 

For the Community Fellows Program, applicants must submit a brief supplementary statement as to why they are interested in working in a non-profit agency, including any relevant community or volunteer experience or skills they may bring to the program. 

Facilities/Resources: The department is located in Maginnes Hall on main campus. Maginnes Hall includes a computer room where students can access the university's main computer, library services and a variety of on-line resources. The university's libraries contain one of the most technologically advanced information systems in the United States. Through the campus network, all services are received electronically in offices, classrooms and laboratories. The collection includes 1 million volumes, 6,300 serials, 1.7 million microforms, and 645,000 government documents plus audiovisual, CD-ROM databases a media production center and listening and viewing facilities.

Number of M.A. Students: 15-20

Examples of research projects by graduate students:

  • Study of predatory lending practices in the Lehigh Valley
  • Development of WDIY Public Radio segments on suburban sprawl
  • Study of community activism in West Bethlehem No-Mall Movement
  • Market-Towns Initiative in the Delaware-Lehigh River Heritage Corridor
  • Work with the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley on Green Futures Fund and regional farmers market
  • Study of regional Latino political activism
  • Study of Direct Foreign Investment in democratization in former Communist Bloc countries
  • Study of political activity by Lehigh Valley non-profit organizations

Length of typical graduate program, and types of jobs obtained by graduates: Completion of the program typically requires 12 months for Community Fellows and 12 to 15 months for regular master's students. The experience of recent graduates indicates that the M.A. can serve as preparation for entering a Ph.D. or law program, for a career in government or the nonprofit sector, or for advancement in other careers.

Contact us: For more information about the political science graduate program, please contact Interim Director Professor Laura Olson at or 610.758.3346.