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    Dept. of History, Philosophy, International Studies and Legal Studies

Dept. of History, Philosophy, International Studies & Legal Studies
Dr. James Masterson, Interim Department Chair
Diane Lawson,
Academic Departmental Specialist
354 Rader Hall
Morehead, KY 40351
Phone: 606-783-2655
Fax: 606-783-5096

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MSU Home :: Academics :: MA Program & Curriculum


Morehead State Graduate Catalogs - Online or PDF

Program Description 

The Master of Government (MA GOVT) is a professional course of study for individuals pursuing careers in government, politics, law, public service, education, and nonprofit organizations. Our MA program actively engages students in a dynamic learning environment that combines coursework and research. It develops a comprehensive understanding of the theories, concepts, methods,  and principles of political science while continuing our students’ liberal education. Specialized core political science field seminars are offered in Political Theory & Philosophy, American Politics, International Relations, Comparative Politics, Public Law and Public Administration.  The MA GOVT is an excellent  degree for preparation for doctoral study and our students have been very well received by Ph.D. programs.   Additionally, the MA GOVT is a good preparation in advanced graduate study in the social sciences generally or preparation for careers in public law or admission for law school.

Accreditations & Memberships 

The MA program is a member the American Political Science Association (APSA) Departmental Services Program.

 APSA Departmental Services

Cost of the MA Degree 

Expected Cost for In-State Students Based on 2011-12 Tuition:  $16,214.00 for the entire two-year degree.  For more details, please see the Tuition and Fee Schedule at: 



Students are required to complete at least 36 semester hours of graduate coursework, including the completion and defense of an approved thesis (GOVT 699).  
Completion of the following core courses: 

Sem. Hrs. 

GOVT 610 — American Politics


GOVT 620 — International Relations


GOVT 630 — Comparative Politics


GOVT 640 — Political Theory


GOVT 650 — Public Law


PA 605 — Epistemology and Research Methodology


PA 620 — Bureaucracy and Public Management


Total Core Requirements 




Completion of the following elective options (nine-hours):

Choose three of the following: 


GOVT 600 — State and Local Government


GOVT 605 — Environmental Law and Policy


GOVT 612 — American Political Development


GOVT 676 — Directed Study


GOVT 680 — Government for Teachers


PA 645 — Seminar in Founding Fathers and American Thought


PA 660 — Intergovernmental Relations


PA 681 — American Diplomatic History


PS 600 — Political Science Seminar


RAPP 670 — Directed Research




Completion and defense of an approved thesis (six-hours)

GOVT 699 — Thesis







Comprehensive Examination
All MA students must successfully complete comprehensive exams in core fields. This exam will be administered twice a year on the MSU campus, after the Fall or Spring semester in which core coursework is completed. The specific date upon which all students will write will be determined annually. Students are expected to write the exam at the end of the semester in which they complete their core coursework. The exam is a prerequisite for the thesis or applied research project. Students must sign-up before or during the review meeting prior to the exam date. The examination will be written. No computers or electronic devices of any kind (including cell phones) are allowed. Students caught cheating will be expelled from the MA program and perhaps the university.  The comprehensive exams are graded as pass with distinction, pass, low pass, fail.  Should they fail, students may only re-take the comprehensive exams one time to be eligible for the MA GOVT degree.

Review Meeting
A meeting will be held each semester for students who expect to write comprehensive examinations at the end of that semester. This is an informational meeting to explain the format of the exams, the material to be covered, and faculty expectations.

Each student will select a topic with the advice and consent of his adviser. The student and adviser will agree on the scope of the thesis (PA 699), the methodology, the extent of the research, the form of presentation of findings, and a schedule. Students are free to consult their other committee members for input. The entire committee will read the thesis, may ask for corrections or revisions, and will be responsible for approving the final thesis.  A public defense of the thesis is required of all degree candidates.

Thesis (GOVT 699)
Thesis prospectus must be approved by the student’s advisor and committee by the end of the third semester (assuming full-time) in the program. Prior to beginning work on a thesis, the student should obtain a copy of the official guidelines from the Graduate Office or by clicking here. The final approved copy of the thesis, signed by the students committee, must be submitted to the Graduate Office at least two weeks prior to the end of the term in which the student anticipates completing all degree requirements” (MSU Graduate Catalog). The committee must have read the thesis, all changes must have been completed, and the committee must have signed the relevant forms before the thesis can be submitted to the Graduate Office (701 Ginger Hall). Consult your advisor to discuss the timing of each of these steps.
Upon completion of the thesis, the student will make a public presentation and defense.

Degree Requirements 

  1. Satisfy University degree requirements. 
  2. Complete a minimum of 36 credit hours including a core of 21 hours, approved electives of 9 hrs, and an approved thesis of 6 hrs. 
  3. Successfully complete a comprehensive written or oral examination as determined by the faculty of the program and the student’s advisory committee. 
  4. Public presentation of thesis. 
  5. Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 
  6. Must be unconditionally admitted.   
Mark Haynes
 "As time has gone on, I am ever more convinced that the grounding I received in philosophy has been the single most important element of my schooling. It has helped me to be a more critical examiner of all of the multi-leveled and often cynically conceived stuff that comes my way in Washington; it has helped me to maintain my moral compass; it has helped to give me a perspective and a sense of humor that might not otherwise be there."

--Mark Haynes, President, Concordia Power

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