Van Andel Graduate School of Statesmanship

Curriculum: Degree Requirements

M.A. in Politics

The aim of the M.A. program is for students to develop a firm knowledge of the first principles of American constitutionalism and to understand the fate of those principles in American political development and contemporary American politics. Since the first principles of American constitutionalism and subsequent developments in the American political tradition have been informed by the great works of Western political thought, students ought also to understand the critical elements of Western political thought, both classical and Modern.

Specific requirements:

  1. 36 credit hours
  2. Minimum of 9 hours in each of the two tracks (Political Philosophy and American Politics)
  3. Maximum of 9 hours in advanced undergraduate courses cross-listed for graduate credit (only courses designated at the 500 level). This maximum may be raised in individual cases of compelling need at the discretion of the Graduate Dean, and the Dean will determine on a case-by-case basis which track (political philosophy or American politics), if any, will be credited for each 500-level course.
  4. Completion and oral defense of an M.A. thesis, which counts as 6 credit hours toward the 36-hour requirement.
  5. For students in the doctoral program having passed the Doctoral Qualifying Examination, the M.A. degree may be earned without the M.A. thesis, completing 6 hours of coursework in its place, for a total of 36 hours.

View the full list of degree requirements for the M.A. in Politics

Ph.D. in Politics

Doctoral students are expected to develop a firm knowledge of the first principles of American constitutionalism and to understand the fate of those principles in American political development and contemporary American politics. Since the first principles of American constitutionalism and subsequent developments in the American political tradition have been informed by the great works of Western political thought, students ought also to understand the critical elements of Western political thought, both classical and Modern.

Specific requirements:

  1. 72 credit hours
  2. Minimum of 18 hours in each of the two tracks
  3. Maximum of 12 hours in advanced undergraduate courses cross-listed for graduate credit (only courses designated at the 500 level). This maximum may be raised in individual cases of compelling need at the discretion of the Graduate Dean, and the Dean will determine on a case-by-case basis which track (political philosophy or American politics), if any, will be credited for each 500-level course.
  4. POL 601-605, POL 621-625, POL 810
  5. Completion of 6 hours of Doctoral Humanities Seminar (included in the 72-hour requirement, above)
  6. Reading competence in two foreign languages, one classical and one modern.
  7. Successful completion of a doctoral qualifying exam (consisting of written and oral components), administered by the graduate faculty to determine students’ suitability for continuing in the program, taken during the third semester of full-time coursework or its credit equivalent.
  8. Successful completion of a doctoral comprehensive examination (consisting of written and oral components), to be administered upon the completion of all coursework, based upon a set of core texts (see Core Texts).
  9. Successful completion and defense of a doctoral dissertation.

View the full list of degree requirements for the Ph.D. in Politics