The Master of Arts (MA) in Political Science and International Affairs is administered jointly by the Departments of Political Science and International Affairs and is designed for students who wish to study politics in its many forms, but who also want to develop the analytic skills necessary to achieve mastery in their areas of study. MA students are not required to specialize in an area, but the degree offers the opportunity to specialize in international relations, comparative politics, American politics, or political theory (including methodology).

The faculty, one of the most productive in the nation, has won numerous awards for research and teaching. The Departments of Political Science and International Affairs boast 40 tenured or tenure-track faculty members who specialize in the fields of American politics, law and courts, political theory, international relations and comparative politics.

Interested in learning more? Fill out our Inquiry Form.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Our graduate programs admit for fall semester only.

Applications must be complete and ready for review in the Departmental Graduate Office by February 15th of the year for which you are applying.

December 1st: Application deadline for those wishing to receive priority consideration for graduate assistantships.

February 15: Application deadline for ALL Fall 2021 admissions.

Please read and follow these instructions carefully to avoid delay in our handling of your application.  Both the Graduate School and the Department handle each application, and it hinders rather than expedites the process to send incorrect or unnecessary documents to either address.

For further information about graduate programs or for answers to questions about your application, please email the Graduate Advisor at meganjs@uga.edu.

How to Apply


For detailed information, please see the Graduate School Admissions Requirements.

1. Online Graduate School Application and fee ($75 domestic / $100 international)

2. One unofficial transcript from each institution of higher education attended, except the University of Georgia. University of Georgia transcripts are on file. You may upload transcripts through the application portal or mail them directly to the UGA Graduate School.

3. Official GRE general test score report. The UGA institutional code for ETS reporting is 5813.  No departmental code is required.

4. International applicants please see additional requirements.

Send these materials to:
Office of Graduate Admissions
The University of Georgia Graduate School
Terrell Hall
210 South Jackson Street
Athens, Georgia 30602
Fax: (706) 425-3095


1. Personal Objective Form

2. Statement of Purpose*

3. Curriculum vitae*

*If you prefer, you may upload and submit your Statement of Purpose and Curriculum vita when you submit your online application through the UGA Graduate School.

4. Three academic letters of recommendation.
The most convenient way for recommenders to submit letters of recommendation is through the online application process. List the names and email addresses of your recommenders on the online application. They will be sent a link to access a secure page where they can submit your recommendation online. If your recommender prefers to send the letter as a hard copy or an email, it should be sent directly to the Departmental Graduate Office.

5. Graduate Assistantship Application, if desired.

Departmental application materials can also be emailed as attachments to polgrad@uga.edu.

For more information about the statement of purpose and letters of recommendation, see FAQs below.

Double Dawgs

The Double Dawgs program was created to give ambitious and motivated students a competitive advantage in today’s knowledge economy. By earning both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in five years or less, students can save time and money while positioning themselves for success after graduation. SPIA offers seven different Double Dawgs programs. For more general information about the Double Dawgs program, click here. For SPIA-specific programmatic information, click here.

Undergraduates will begin taking graduate courses in the fall semester of their third year following the timetable that all MA students utilize. At the end of their fourth year, they are expected to finish their undergraduate courses, after which they will matriculate into the graduate program to complete their graduate degree. Students interested in this program should contact Paul Welch and the Graduate Coordinator in the Department of Political Science (Dr. Teena Wilhelm) or the Department of International Affairs (Dr. Shane Singh).

Please see the MA degree timetable and MA Non-Thesis degree timetable for more detailed information.

“Pursuing a master’s degree through SPIA’s AB/MA program is by far the best decision I have made in my academic career. I have no doubt that I would not be in the position that I am today without having completed the program during my junior and senior years at UGA. It provided me with a skill set that has been valuable in my current PhD program, and would no doubt have been useful no matter what I decided to do after graduating from UGA. Not only that, the AB/MA program allowed me to build relationships with professors that are stronger than would have been possible as just an undergraduate. Although undergraduates may work as a research assistant on a topic of a professor’s choosing, I was able to coauthor work with a professor on a topic that was of our mutual interest. My endorsement of SPIA’s AB/MA program could not be stronger. I recommend it to any undergraduate considering future graduate work not only in political science or international affairs, but any field.” – STEPHEN PETTIGREW, AB/MA 2011

As a student who has always felt a little above the curve, the AB/MA program has challenged me to take control of my own studies and investigate the questions in the academic world that are important to me. While I have learned more in this program than I did in any of the other classes I have taken in college, the greatest part of the program is the bonds you create by working closely with faculty and other graduate students. I would recommend this program to anyone who’s looking for a challenge and wants to dive deeper into the subjects that are interesting to her or him.” – ERIN KRINSKY, AB/MA 2009

Scholarship/Assistantship Opportunities

The Graduate Program in Political Science and International Affairs is able to offer a number of graduate assistantships to qualified applicants. Graduate assistantships include a full tuition waiver (students are still expected to pay fees), stipend, and a work commitment as either a teaching or research assistant.

You must apply for all assistantships through the Departmental Graduate Office.  Do not contact the Graduate School about financial support. Most graduate assistantships come from departmental funding sources (SPIA Assistantships). Students who receive support from the Graduate School must be nominated by their department and go through a competitive process.

To apply, fill out the Graduate Assistantship Application and submit with the rest of your program application.  All applicants who submit an assistantship application will be considered for funding.

Applicants whose files are complete by December 1st are guaranteed consideration for the first round of awards. Students not receiving support during the first round are eligible in subsequent rounds if funding is still available. Awards follow the following timetable:

Exceptionally well-qualified applicants are nominated for a limited number of Graduate School Assistantships

Early March
Winners of Graduate School Assistantships are notified.

The first round of SPIA graduate assistantships are awarded to students.

If there are SPIA graduate assistantships available after the first round, a second round of offers is made.

Awarding of SPIA assistantships continues until all funds are exhausted.

We are also able to nominate a limited number of applicants for a Regent’s Out of State Tuition Waiver (ROOSTW), which waives the out of state portion of a student’s tuition. Out-of-state and international applicants are automatically considered for these waivers when they apply to the program.

Curriculum Overview & Degree Program Timetables

The Master of Arts in Political Science and International Affairs is a two-year degree program. Students may choose to complete one of two program tracks:

1)      MA Thesis Program of Study: The MA Thesis program of study requires students to complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework: 6 graduate seminars (18 credits) , a three-course methodology sequence (9 credits), and 3 credits of master’s thesis work.  A master’s thesis must be successfully defended to complete the degree. Please see the degree timetable for Master of Arts (MA) in Political Science and International Affairs, Thesis for more detailed information.

2)      MA Non-Thesis Program of Study: The MA Non-Thesis program of study must contain a minimum of 33 hours of graduate coursework. In addition, students choosing the non-thesis option are required to complete one of the following two options: 1) Take and pass the general field component of the PhD comprehensive exam in the student’s area of concentration or 2) Orally present and defend an article-length seminar paper before a two person faculty committee. Please see the degree timetable for Master of Arts (MA) in Political Science and International Affairs, Non-Thesis for more detailed information.


Recent graduates of the MA program work for organizations such as the Social Security Administration, the NORC at the University of Chicago, and Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle’s office.

Many of our MA students continue on in our Ph.D. program or move on to further graduate study elsewhere, including at institutions such as Duke University. According to a survey of our recent MA graduates:

  • 25% were employed full-time after graduating
  • 56% were enrolled in a graduate/professional program
  • 12% were employed part-time
  • 6% were seeking employment

If you have a question that is not answered below, please contact the Graduate Advisor at meganjs@uga.edu or (706) 542-2948.

  • What is the Fast Track PhD?

The Fast Track PhD is an option for highly qualified students who have or who will have obtained a bachelor’s degree and allows for direct entry into the PhD, bypassing the MA degree altogether. It is offered to a limited number of strongly qualified individuals. They are expected to complete the PhD program in four years and are eligible for a four-year assistantship that will fund their studies for the duration of their graduate career. One’s entire file is examined and provides the basis from which the ultimate decision regarding admission to the Fast Track will be made. Direct admission to the PhD program is restricted to only the most competitive applicants. If students meet the criteria for the Fast Track and are not admitted, they will be automatically considered for the MA program. Upon completion of the MA, students can request admission to the PhD program. If you are interested in the Fast Track option, you should note this in your personal statement as well as on your Personal Objective Form.

  • How Do I Know Whether to Apply for the MA or the PhD?

Students who will have been awarded a master’s degree in political science, international affairs, or a related field by the fall in which they plan to enroll should apply directly to the PhD program. Those who will have completed a bachelor’s degree should apply for the MA program, unless they qualify to apply for the Fast Track PhD (see next question for details), in which case they can apply for either. Those who will have completed professional degrees (J.D., M.B.A., M.Ed., etc) should apply to the PhD program. If there is any concern about your qualifications given the nature of the professional degree, the Graduate Committee may require you to complete the MA before applying to the PhD program.

  • Are there minimum requirements for GPA, GRE, etc?

Our program conducts holistic application review and considers the applicant’s entire application when considering offers of admission. As such, there are no minimum requirements set by the program. However, the Graduate School at the University of Georgia has the following minimum requirements:

The minimum undergraduate GPA standard for admission to the Graduate School at the University of Georgia for applicants who do not have a prior graduate degree is 3.0.

The GRE is required and cannot be waived, but the Graduate School does not set a minimum score.

The minimum TOEFL score for admission to the Graduate School at the University of Georgia is 80, with no subscore lower than 20.  It is highly recommended that international applicants have a combined score of at least 90.

The minimum IELTS score for admission to the Graduate School at the University of Georgia is 6.5 overall band score with no lower than 6.0 on any band.

  • What should I include in my statement of purpose?

We are most concerned with your academic background, intellectual interests and professional plans. Please do not include material that is not relevant to your academic background or interest.

  • What kind of recommendation letters should I include in my application?

We require letters from professors who have taught you. Their letters should describe your academic work in detail so that the Graduate Committee can be assured that you can complete a rigorous graduate program. If you have done significant independent research, such as a thesis, the committee normally expects a letter from the professor who supervised that work. Letters from elected officials or “personal” references tend to be less valuable in determining your academic capability.  Letters from work supervisors are of little value unless your job entailed research.  In addition, letters from counselors, student affairs officers, and other non-faculty personnel on your campus generally provide little useful information for the committee. For those applicants who have been out of the academic setting for some time, getting letters from prior instructors can be difficult, but should be pursued nonetheless.  In this instance, the committee will grant some flexibility, but once again, references must be able to address your academic and related abilities to some degree.

  • How are admissions decisions made?

The six-member Graduate Committee considers your entire application file:  previous academic record, GRE scores, personal statement, CV, and recommendations. There are no “automatic” acceptance or refusal factors. The committee’s main concern is the likelihood that you will do well, not only in the graduate program you are applying for, but as a scholar and teacher once that degree is in hand. We also consider whether your interests are a good “fit” for the faculty, courses, and research centers available in the School of Public and International Affairs.

  • When will I hear whether I’ve been accepted for admission?

Once your file is complete, it will be considered at the next Graduate Committee meeting. The committee will discuss and vote on your application and then send its recommendation to the Graduate School, which makes the official decision on your application. The Graduate School normally contacts you 1-2 weeks after the Departmental recommendation is submitted.

  • Can I attend the program on a part-time basis?

Although our graduate programs are not designed for part-time students, it is possible for students to take less than a full course load (three courses per semester), thus extending their time in the program.

  • Are graduate courses offered online or off campus?

All graduate courses are held on the UGA campus in Athens, GA.  No online or distance learning options are available.

  • Are classes offered in the evenings or on weekends for working professionals?

The graduate course schedule is not created for working students.  Depending on the semester, there may be a course or two offered on a weekday evening, but this is not guaranteed.  There are no courses offered on weekends.

  • What is the cost of tuition?

As of Fall 2018, the current cost of graduate study per credit hour is $363 (in-state) and $1,029 (out-of-state). Fees are currently assessed at $1,139 per semester. 9 credits (3 courses) is considered a full-time course load for graduate students. A full-time student would thus pay $4,406 (in-state) or $10,400 (out-of-state) per semester. More information about current tuition rates can be found on the Bursar’s website.